Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Josh gazed at the whirling, fire-ringed vortex.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: This is one of those definitive Robin Jarvis moments, like Audrey before the Green in the Chamber of Summer, or when Ben first spies Nelda at the Abbey cemetery. When I think of the Wyrd Museum trilogy, the ‘fiery gateway’ is what comes to mind first (closely followed by a certain awe-inspiring scene in The Raven’s Knot which I won’t spoil.)
I can honestly say that I never want to see this series adapted for television or film, because no animation nor CGI on the Green’s good earth could ever do justice to lines like ‘A searing flash of violet lightning streaked abruptly from the immense depths of the vortex’s heart’, or, ‘The Separate Collection was filled with purple flame and putrid smoke, yet through the reek he could see his brother standing by Ted’s cabinet and the youngster was looking intently at the fiery eye of the evil storm.’ Usually at scenes like this we’re inclined to say ‘how cinematic’, but here I’d like to forget adaptations just the once, and think, ‘what vivid writing’ instead. That’s just me, however. What say the rest of you?
The magical portal back in time has been done by numerous authors and directors in numerous different ways, but this has to be a particularly striking example, especially because of how dangerous and violent it feels. This is no sparkling doorway or mysterious wardrobe, but a fire-vomiting vortex that will genuinely hurt anyone who comes near it, be they small adventurer or no. Alas, fate decrees that two small adventurers and one talking teddy must take that risk, and so our story begins to unravel in earnest.
Matt’s Thoughts: We were promised time travel on the back cover and here it is. With all the spectacular light and sound effects we would expect. (Though I will take my co-blogger’s point that Robin’s descriptions of this are more than just an attempt to do cinema on the page, but it actually is a mind’s-eye world that he crafts time and again with that particular writing style of his.)
What I also love is the concept of the rescue mission for the younger brother. I felt that the strength of the first Hunger Games was not so much the concept of the games, or anything like that – but actually something more simple: an older sister who would face potential death to save her younger sister.
So Neil’s journey into danger is not because he’s particularly brave, but because he wants to save Josh. Which is what the manipulative Ted knew all along, really.