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Hootcat Hill
by Lucy Coats

Release Date: 3rd Mar 2008
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 978 1 84255 614 6
RRP: £9.99

Average Customer Rating: 
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Hopefully the first in a fantastical new series. Check out our interview with the author...

When Linnet was born, her birth was heralded by a badger, no less. But then, this was no ordinary badger and Linnet was no ordinary girl. Coats introduces us to a fantasy world where magic is a bygone notion that exists only in local myth and legend for the people of Wyrmesbury, or so it seems on the surface.

When strange things start to happen, including the abrupt and mysterious disappearance of a local boy out at Black Meadows, Linnet is called upon to act in her preordained capacity as The Maiden. The six Guardians are required once again to save Wyrmesbury and the entire world from destruction as the Wyrme (dragon to you and me) is about to rise again...

The abstract misspellings of Shakespeare, the presence of ‘Monster brew’ (a concoction that is perhaps oddly never recognised as magical) and the naming of everything remotely modern with the prefix ‘Techno’ are slightly annoying and show a slight lack of imagination. Otherwise, Hootcat Hill is a tremendously exciting read, brimming with all the requirements any fantasy fan could wish for... a cranky fey Queen, five Guardians with magical powers and abilities (The Maiden is the sixth Guardian), odd dwarves with tattoos that come to life and most of all a young heroine who despite struggling initially to come to terms with the reality of being The Maiden, still manages to deliver us all from certain destruction.

Coats has an exceptional understanding of what young readers want from a book – Hootcat Hill is no disappointment. Full of heart-thumping action, magic melding antics and some good old fashioned coming of age twists – this is pure entertainment and thoroughly enjoyable. Be prepared for some occasional gritty realism – not everyone makes it to the end of this fantastical tale.

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