This fantastical tale ‘The Imaginary’ by A.F. Harrold with sublime illustrations by Emily Gravett is a joy to behold. We are taken into a world of possibilities where the only limits are our imaginations. It tells the story of Amanda and her friend Rudger, there is only one small problem nobody else can see Rudger because he doesn’t exist. He is Amanda’s imaginary friend who she stumbled across in her wardrobe one day, as we know wardrobes are magical places. They are enjoying an seemingly idyllic summer when a shadow is cast upon them when the sinister Mr Bunting knocks at the door. Unlike everyone else he can see Rudger and is on a mission to hunt him and the other imaginaries down. His problems are only just beginning when he finds himself abruptly left all alone in the world. How can he survive without Amanda and can he evade the dastardly Mr Bunting?
There are some significant themes running through the story, the importance of love and friendship, the pain of loss and the power of imagination and belief. As the story progresses the narrative becomes increasingly dramatic and there are some exceptionally eerie and scary moments which certainly had me on the edge of my seat. A.F.Harrold and Emily Gravett manage to cast shadows of light and dark throughout and there is a real contrast between scenes of real joy and that of real terror which prevents the book from being overly frightening. Beautifully and thoughtfully written it truly is a compelling tale which you won’t to put down. He has managed to craft a magnificent tale that is incredibly poignant and heart warming.
A special mention has to go to Emily Gravett for her illustrations which beautifully enhance this book. She manges to open up the world of the imaginaries and let us glimpse at places we could only dream of seeing. They are simply stunning and perfectly capture all the emotions you feel when reading this book of fear, wonder and despair. Without spoiling the experience of this book for you she manages to creates this vivid world which you are totally drawn into and become attached to the lives of the characters. It is a wonderful collaborative partnership which works magnificently, it is an absolute gem and I loved it.
Thank you to Reading Zone for sending me a copy of this book to review on their website.