Magic might be real, but it was also incredibly alarming!
Aufwader’s Thoughts: The cover of this book is really excellent, but I’ve always thought that, had it been painted in the tradition of Robiny covers, Verne soaring over the West Cliff would have made a great back-cover image. I’m well aware that the look of the original Whitby Witches trilogy is somewhat dated on the bookshelves of today and that the time of the manual airbrush has sadly passed, but a fan can gaze at her box-set and dream.
So in this chapter we come back to Tracy Evans, and a delightful sending-up of that most infamous of genres, the young adult paranormal romance. I can picture it already –
Tracy Evans is an ordinary girl with ordinary problems – neglected by her uncaring boyfriend and bored with life in the small, sleepy seaside town of Whitby. One night, while messing about with a home-made oujia board, she and her friends make contact with a mysterious spirit known only as D-A-R-K.
In the days that follow, Dark approaches Tracy again, claiming to be able to speak from the beyond via her mobile phone. Tracy has no time for what she’s sure must be a prank, but Dark is so very charming and persuasive, and all he asks is a little blood to strengthen the bond between them…
This subplot might seem like Mr Jarvis riffing on YA romance in the same way that Freax and Rejex examined and dissected the YA dystopia, and it is. But the luring-in of Tracy has a more serious component, in that it’s the story of Nathaniel Crozier and Jennet updated for a modern audience.
In an age where the ‘perfect boyfriend’ fantasy is more likely to be a supernatural, seemingly-immortal being than a humble but charming tweed-jacketed professor, Tracy’s story arc conveys the same message as Jennet’s. In real life, dashing warlocks are often abusive, twisted individuals who will use others for their own ends, and that cute guy you met on a dating app may in fact turn out to be the worst kind of vampire.
Matt’s Thoughts: The whole flying scene with the Nimius was a little bit Harry Potterish for me, so I was thinking, ‘This book is much lighter in tone than a regular Jarvis novel, isn’t it?’
And then there was a teenage girl being texted by a creepy dead guy. (Using a fake profile as well!) Anyway, as a parent of a soon-to-be-teenager, if I ever even let her have a mobile phone, you can be sure I will be checking for bloodstains …