Hi, Matt here! So we are just short of three weeks away from beginning The Dark Portal! While I know many people on this blog are super-keen fans already of Mr Jarvis and his fantastic imagination, a few of you might be newer.
Or might be those friends of mine who I pestered via Facebook. And email. And in real life. (I can be super-annoying when I start a project like this!)
But however you came to this blog, if you are new to the world of Robin Jarvis, I wanted to give you a bit of a heads up on what you are in for. Below is the email that I sent to all my friends, doing my best sales pitch to persuade them to join up and it pretty much sums up why I think you’ll enjoy the Great Grand Robin Jarvis (Re)Read!
(Next week, Aufwader will present her call-out to the existing Jarvis fans telling them why they will thoroughly enjoy re-reading the Jarvis canon.)
Email Subject: Are you looking for your next YA read?
I know a few of you out there are still fans (perhaps even avid ones!) of YA fiction. You were there for all the Harry Potters. You’ve lived through a few Unfortunate Events. You’ve been through the Wardrobe. You’ve heard the call of the Mockingjay. You might have even got into a fight over Edward vs Jacob. (We’ll leave that one in the past.)
So with a new year coming up, I wanted to invite you to join an online book club to read the works of English YA author, Robin Jarvis. I’m joining forces with a blogger from the UK and starting in January 2017 we’re going to be reading through one Jarvis book a month over the next couple of years and discussing his books chapter-by-chapter. (They are those kind of books.)
If that’s enough to get you in, jump over to https://therobinjarvisportal.wordpress.com and sign up for email updates! Otherwise, for those who have further questions:
Who is Robin Jarvis?
Robin is an English writer, based in London, who writes stories of dark fantasy and magic set mostly in various parts of England. He’s written over 20 books since the end of the 80s, including popular trilogies such as The Deptford Mice, The Whitby Witches, and the Dancing Jax series.
What kind of stories are they?
Robin’s stories nearly always feature:
- Small, innocent heroes
- Who are (often) anthropomorphic creatures
- Who have to find an inner strength to face up against unspeakably evil villains
- With lots of dark occult magic
- And even more violence
- And half of the good guys will have died tragically trying to defeat evil by the end of each series.
So with a description like that, you should know instantly whether you’ll like them or not, right?
For me personally, they remind me of the great animated films that I grew up with in the 80s (back when kids’ movies were a little bit more scary and magical), if they had been allowed to get even more scary and magical.
If they’re such good stories, how come I’ve never heard of him?
The short answer is that you probably live in Australia like I do! Jarvis books have been notoriously hard to find Down Under and a few of his older titles have sadly gone out of print.
My own theory is that when Jarvis started writing in the late 80s, young adult fiction as a genre was smaller and more light-hearted. (Think Roald Dahl.) But two decades later, J.K. Rowling proved that YA readers could take a great deal of darkness in their stories, and now it seems like every YA book features a dystopian future, incredible dark magic, evil villains, love triangles and favourite characters dying.
In other words, he was ahead of his time when he started writing and perhaps got lost in the crowd a bit in today’s day and age.
Having said all that, many of his books have been bestsellers in the UK and readers like myself that enjoyed his books as a kid have stayed firm fans and kept reading Jarvis into our adult years as well. He still continues to write books to this day (he’s working on a series called The Witching Legacy as we speak) and, I’ll be honest, he’s only getting better as he goes along. His recent Dancing Jax trilogy was one of the most astonishingly brilliant pieces of fiction I’ve seen in a long time.
Are they suitable for me to give to my kids?
Probably depends on the book. The series we’re starting with, The Deptford Mice Trilogy, in my opinion, would be good for the 8-to-12-year-old camp. For one of his later series, the Dancing Jax books, I would want to suggest older teenagers.
But because of the rather full-on nature of his writing, it would really come down to what your kids are ready for and what you allow them to read!
All right. I’m sold. Remind me again what I need to do?
- Go to robinjarvisportal.wordpress.com and sign up for email updates.
- Buy yourself a copy of The Dark Portal in readiness for January. (Chat to me if you’re having trouble tracking that down.)