Illustrated by Chris Jevons
I’ve been so looking forward to the second book in this series! Think Amelia Fang meets The Addams Family with a little bit of The Munsters mixed in for good measure. Spooky season is just around the corner and Theodora Hendrix and her gang of monsters are readying up to get you in the mood as they prepare to celebrate Halloween ‘Battington-style.’
Now if you haven’t read book 1, Theodora Hendrix and the Monstrous League of Monsters (MLM) then you really really must! It is absolutely essential that you familiarise yourself with the MLM charter and get to know a little bit about Theodora and how she came to be living with a group of such gruesome folk in the first-place.
But in the meantime, to make things a little bit easier, scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on the link to my review of book one to bring yourself to to speed. We’ll hang around here for you and enjoy some of Chris Jevons’ fabulous illustrations, reacquainting ourselves with the cast of charismatic and quirky characters…
Righty-ho,now that we’re all caught up and on the same page so to speak, let’s slide open the sarcophagi and find out more about the grave danger (!) Theodora and her fiendish family find themselves in this time.
My absolute favourite element of this series is the mystery narrator. Their razor-sharp wit, dry humour and sarcasm is so on-point and once again had me chuckling away throughout. The enigmatic entity continues to mock grown ups and deliver devilish one-liners, peppering the plot with their pearls of wisdom whilst keeping readers on their toes, puzzling over how they come to witness all the goings-on. I’m zipping my lips now before I unwittingly give away any clues as to their identity as I will not be held responsible for releasing such a monstrously well-kept secret into the world.
Ok, so who’s ready for an Egyptian-themed adventure? After facing down an evil hag, a thieving skele-crow and an army of the undead in book 1, Theodora is certain she can handle anything – that is, until she meets the unpleasant Inspector Shelley and her even more unpleasant pet rat. (Mary) Shelley and Ratsputin have come to spy on the Monstrous League of Monsters, and are determined to shut them down for an alleged breach the MLM charter.
Whilst the putrid pair prowl the mansion, Theodora makes a discovery of her own in The Ancient Curse Breaking Room: a cursed scarab beetle. She needs to destroy it without attracting the attention of the inspector – and fast. The stakes couldn’t be higher: if Theodora fails, her beloved monster family will rot in the dankest, darkest prisons of Transylvania and she will be banished from the mansion forever…
Of course, Theodora can’t succeed without the help of loyal classmate and friend Dexter Adebola. Each with their own reasons, the two youngsters find school a difficult environment and this instalment of the series sees them become stronger together and begin to find their voices and the courage and conviction to be who they want to be.
A real strength of this series is that family, friendship, and fitting-in are themes that run throughout. There’s a real sense of good triumphing over evil in the story and we see an unlikely ally appear, in former school bully, Billy. He teams up with Theodora and Dexter to defeat the most villainous villain of all…More monstrous than all the monsters put together, Ms Frumple, the horrific headmistress of Appleton Primary despises anything that most people would consider fun and does her best to make the children’s lives miserable with her draconian measures.
Jordan Kopy and Chris Jevons are a perfect author-illustrator pairing and their unique blend of horror, humour and Halloween-style hijinks are sure to hook in younger readers.
Yet again I’ve been left dangling like Sherman on one of his spider webs, waiting to find out how some of the still loose ends will be tied up. I’ll be eagerly anticipating the next adventure, which our secret storyteller has hinted may be further afield – check your passport’s in date is all I’m saying…
You can read my review of the first book in the series here
With thanks to Walker books and Netgalley for approving me to read an early e-copy of the book marvellously monstrous book!
Theodora Hendrix and the Curious Case of the Cursed Beetle is published by Walker Books on the 7th October.