Title: The House at the Edge of Magic
Author: Amy Sparkes
Release Date: 7/1/2021
I received a free eARC copy from Walker Books , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Nine is an orphan pickpocket determined to escape her life in the Nest of a Thousand Treasures. When she steals a house-shaped ornament from a mysterious woman’s purse, she knocks on its tiny door and watches it grow into a huge, higgledy-piggeldy house. Inside she finds a host of magical and brilliantly funny characters, including Flabberghast – a young wizard who’s particularly competitive at hopscotch – and a hideous troll housekeeper who’s emotionally attached to his feather duster. They have been placed under an extraordinary spell, which they are desperate for Nine to break. If she can, maybe they can offer her a new life in return…
This was my last read of 2020 and it was a really nice a whimsical way to finish of the year. The house at the edge of magic is just jam packed with nooks and crannies to explore, it seems to have weird and wonderful rooms for all occasions and I do love a good semi-sentient building that adapts and changes to the world around it to really emphasise its magic.
Sparkes really gives the house personality, I could imagine the riot of colour and noise clearly and it seems like such a interesting place to explore. I really enjoy this kind of whimsical worldbuilding, its just such fun to read. Its filled with little jokes, twists and turns, discoveries and bits to make you giggle – such as a copy of ‘Wizard’s little book of Calm’ that has murderous intentions. I do wish we had spent more time in the house. There was a lot of places that were mentioned but never fully explored (we need more time in the library please!). I hope that if there is a sequel we get to discover more of the houses rooms and secrets.
The characters are as equally weird, whimsical and wonderful. Nine is one of those protagonist that is fierce and feisty with a head on her shoulders, she doesn’t quite dive into adventure blindly but has her eyes on the reward. It’s great to see how being in the house and making friends with it’s inhabitants allows Nine to be less guarded and more herself. Flabberghast is your typical eccentric wizard with a long and intricate CV including Hopscotch champion, but that is not to his detriment I found him a great foil for Nine. Dr Spoon, who is literally a wooden spoon in a kilt brandishing a sword is a bit of a puzzlement that made me grin and then there is also Eric who is the incredibly loveable house troll that just wants to clean! All of them make a fun band of misfit friends.
Its funny and weird and wonderful with a big dollop of outrageous thrown in. It just made me smile and that’s what such a fun book should do.