Review Blog

Nov 26 2017

The vampire knife by Jack Henseleit

cover image

The witching hour series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2017. ISBN 9781760129255
(Age: 12+) Vampires, horror, Storytelling, Romania, Family. The professor and his family are holidaying in Romania, the traditional home turf of Dracula, and Anna the seasoned storyteller cannot help but make up stories about vampires, using her younger brother, Max as one of the characters. Transylvania is the perfect setting for this the first in a series, called The Witching Hour, soon to be followed by number two, The troll heart.
A classic horror opening sees the family driving through heavy rain, being forced to take shelter in a remote inn, hemmed in on all sides by forest. Of course, the inn keeper's name is Mrs Dalca, and she looks like a witch giving them garlicky stew from a cauldron. The professor leaves the two children while he goes off to work in the library, and while left alone they meet the innkeeper's granddaughter, Isabella.
Playing hide and seek with Isabella sees Max taken by a creature with glowing eyes and Anna must go to the rescue.
The here and now is augmented with familiar vampire images: garlic, fairies, blood drinking, ruined castles, mutterings and bears and wolves, all adding to the fun of this book, with readers recognising stock inclusions in vampire stories. There are witty touches paralleling familiar fairy tales and some totally gruesome scenes to add to the fun.
First in a series about a brave pair of siblings and their dreamy father.
Fran Knight

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