When I first shared the opening pages of ‘Everdark,’ to a spellbound group of children at school, I knew that Abi Elphinstone’s ‘ The Unmapped Chronicles,’ series was going to be incredibly special. I fell in love with the remarkable idea of a world created from Phoenix tears and was intrigued about the hidden unmapped kingdoms. It felt like a world of adventures was waiting for me within these kingdoms and it gave me a tiny sprinkling of the magic that lies within the first adventure, ‘Rumblestar.’ So I was thrilled to receive an early copy and I wanted to share a sneak peek with you today. I feel that ‘Rumblestar,’ is one of those stories that will be talked about for years to come, it is just the start of an epic journey and I haven’t been this enthralled and excited since Lucy stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia.
Casper Tock is a child who lives in fear of the school bullies Candida Cashmere-Jumps and Leopold Splattercash. He spends his life trying to avoid them by using a carefully planned and regimented schedule. But one day a tiny slip up happens and his life changes in the most unexpected of ways. It forces him to confront everything that he studiously avoids, friendship, danger and spontaneity when he stumbles upon Utterly Thankless, her miniature dragon Arlo and the kingdom of Rumblestar. On the face of it, Casper and Utterly have nothing in common. He’s a rule abider while she’s allergic to rules, but they are both nursing a hidden pain – a reluctance to form bonds with others. All Casper wants to do is find a way back home but Utterly’s world is in danger and he soon realises that the fate of their two world are inextricably bound. But how can these two unlikely heroes defeat the dark magic that is pervading through the Unmapped Kingdoms?
Abi has created the most magical world filled that feels completely believable, you feel that the grown-ups must have got it wrong and we have closed our imaginations to the truth of these hidden kingdoms. Her writing is wildly imaginative and filled with the most magnificent details, she conjures up the images so vividly as the stories unfolds. We can envisage the cloud giants, storm ogres and drizzle hags who inhabit this world and it makes the reader feel like they’ve stepped into the world and are whisked along beside Casper, Utterly and Arlo. It has to be said that Abi has a unique talent for conjuring up the most fantastical names for her characters and settings, they spark a light of intrigue in the reader and are wonderfully enticing. This feels different than Abi’s other books there is a gentle humour and fun that runs through the story – even in the darkest of times – that I particularly enjoyed. ‘Rumblestar,’ is such a glorious read bursting with bravery, packed with friendship and full of friendship. I can’t wait for next adventure in the Unmapped Kingdoms.
I think, ‘Rumblestar,’ would make a brilliant class read and luckily for any teachers out there who are intrigued by this story Ian Eagleton of @reading_realm has created a thoughtful and interesting Scheme of Work which is available to download for free on Abi’s website (click the link below). I have a sneak peek to share with you.
Schools can pre-order discounted copies of ‘Rumblestar,’ from Kensington Books, email Dave@kensingtonbooks.co.uk to find out more.
Thank you to Abi and Simon & Schuster for sending me a gifted copy in exchange for a review. ‘Rumblestar,’ is available to pre-order now online or from any good bookshop.