Rigg's Cabinet of Curiosities

curated by Thornton Rigg


December 2015

Fire Girl : Matt Ralphs


fast paced adventure with thrilling darker undertones, lightened up by a grumpy dormouse.

In his first novel, Ralphs has created a feisty young witch, Hazel, and some entertaining side characters such as Titus White, the drunken Witch Finder, and Bramley, a dormouse familiar.  The plot starts relatively slow and gets faster and faster, with some excellent twists towards the end.   Ralphs conjures up some truly scary scenes including the Dreadful Remains and her Poppet – and frightening demons: Baal with his servant, Petrov; blind Rawhead who sniffs out magic; and Spindle, the giant spider.  The ending left me impatient to find out what happens next in the Fire Girl’s story.

My only very slight quibble is that the dormouse might mislead readers into thinking this was a cute story.  It really is not.  It gets increasingly dark as the story unfolds and there’s a delicious frisson of horror in the last scene.   I don’t want to lose the dormouse.  The partnership is great fun and very useful, I just would like Bramley and his relationship with Hazel to tie in more with the atmosphere of future books in the series.



Rebel of the Sands : Alwyn Hamilton

26360.books.origjpg… a mash up of wild west action and desert sands with Djinni magic.

I was given a review copy of this brilliant debut novel by my lovely bookshop, A Festival of Books, in Chipping Campden, as Emily and I share the passion for young adult fiction.

Fast paced, with a feisty female lead and an argumentative love interest, Rebel of the Sands certainly lives up to its hype.

It’s a mash up of wild west action and desert sands with powerful Djinni magic.  There are vibrant scenes: for example, the shooting gallery, the First Class train ride, the desert festival; well drawn supporting characters and a very fast pace all of which is gathered up into a satisfying finale.

I re-read certain scenes because they were so good and I wanted to savour the story – and the writing.  Definitely worth looking out for when it is published in February 2016.

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