It was with huge excitement that we discovered early on in the year, that Laura Ellen Anderson would be embarking on her first fiction series. We’ve long been fans of Laura’s work having spent hours reading the fabulous Evil Emperor Penguin and because my daughter can spot a book illustrated by Laura a mile away in a bookshop, we’ve ended up devouring the ‘Witch Wars’ series from Sibéal Pounder as well as Cerrie Burnell’s ‘Harper’ series. So it was with huge anticipation that we got our hands on a copy of ‘Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball’ and after a small tussle between myself and my daughter (she won of course) we finally allowed ourselves to become lost in Amelia’s world of Nocturnia.
Amelia and her family live in the gorgeously gothic world of Nocturnia where school is at night and dinner time at 4 am because well, the reason being, ok I’m just going to say it out loud and quickly, they are actually vampires. But fear not this is after all a story for younger readers, so our vampires are not blood drinking monsters instead they are more likely to be found eating ‘Flabbergasting Falafels’ and drinking ‘Scream Tea.’ So please don’t believe everything you read in stories, I mean how scary can they possibly be when these vampires are terrified of glitter and frightened of unicorns!! Amelia is just like a normal girl, she would much rather hang out with her best friends, her pet pumpkin Squashy, Florence the Yeti and Grimaldi the reaper than dance at her parent’s boring Barbaric Ball. But she soon has greater problems on her hands than avoiding the ball when the spoilt prince of Nocturnia captures Squashy and refuses to give him back. It’s up to Amelia and her friends to plan a daring rescue but what they discover on the way is that the Kingdom of the Dark is not as it may seem!
Exquisitely produced with the most intricate and humorous of details you can’t help but fall in love with the world of Nocturnia. Children will delight in the wonderfully gruesome details, who could resist reading about feasting on toe jam or worms on toast just to give you a tiny insight. Laura’s intricate and entertaining illustrations capture brilliantly Amelia’s magical home of Nocturnia and the chaos and excitement of their adventure unfolding. However this story isn’t simply a spooky, hilarious tale of a daring escapade, there is a lot more to this tale than meets the eye. Amelia makes a discovery that challenges her very way of life and everything she has been brought up to believe, but instead of shying away from the truth, she accepts it and tries to get others to embrace those who are different instead of living in fear. Laura has created a charming, irresistible story filled with the most appealing and likeable characters which is bound to captivate and enchant readers.
‘Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball’ is released on October 5th, you can buy an early copy now at Waterstones where it is the current Children’s Book of the Month. I am delighted to say that ‘Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords’ is released in March 2018.