Book Review: Thatchthorpe, by Elizabeth Pulford

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cv_thatchthorpeThatchthorpe concludes Elizabeth Pulford’s Bloodtree Chronicles, with a final return to the Silvering Kingdom, and a final story for Abigail to set to rights. Like its predecessors, it is a fast paced and intriguing read, filled with action and quirky situations. The Bloodtree Chronicles are a sophisticated chapter book trilogy, containing in one level a fairly light, fun fantasy adventure with well-imagined heroes and villains, but there is a second level: A level of narrative (sometimes known as “breaking the 4th wall”), in which Abigail’s mysterious aunts discuss and manipulate the story, with some tongue-in-cheek references to story structure, flawlessly integrated into the main plot.

Abigail is ready to return to the Silvering Kingdom for one final time; after saving the tree and freeing the dragon, Thyme, there is still one quest left to complete: put the rightful ruler on the throne and dethrone the evil Rackenard once and for all. This time, however, things aren’t going to be easy, as Abigail very quickly winds up on the wrong path and in the most unfortunate of circumstances. However, she is ever-capable of finding allies in unlikely places, and her strong heart and stubborn courage will serve her well. With old friends and new foes, Thatchthorpe is a fitting conclusion, and one that should be devoured with satisfaction by young voracious readers.

These stories do, however, work best in sequence, so I suggest that you begin with Sanspell.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

Bloodtree Chronicles #3: Thatchthorpe
by Elizabeth Pulford
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775432876

Book Review: Bloodtree Chronicles: Bragonsthyme, by Elizabeth Pulford

cv_bragonsthymeLike its predecessor, Sanspell, Bragonsthyme is a beautiful book. The cover, hauntingly illustrated by the talented Donovan Bixley, evokes the icy feel and darkness that you will find wrapped within its pages. The prose, too, is equally evocative, rich with imagery. Even the first sentence is mesmerising: “The faint sound of a bell floated beneath the falling snowflakes. Like a whisper it was there.” This delicious use of language continues throughout the pages, taking the reader with Abigail on her journey into the worlds of the Bloodtree.

For Abigail, the events of Sanspell have faded into memories, but it is time for her to make a return to the Silvering Kingdom. Guided once more by her mysterious aunts, she must once more become Spindale, as she is thrust into another thrilling adventure, seeking to restore the happy endings to the stories of fable. This time, she goes into Bragonsthyme, a city frozen in time, or to be precise, frozen by Thyme – the ice dragon of legend. His story began, or perhaps ended, with a dark heart and a broken promise.

But Spindale is not the only one with a special mission – Flint is on a quest of his own, a quest to find the father he never knew. A quest that will take him, accompanied by the prickly Bramble, into the heart of the frozen city. Unbeknownst to all, their tales are bound to intertwine, uncovering a long-lost mystery and a secret that will alter the shape of the world as they know it. But success will not be easy, for power-greedy Zezmena, and her deadly father, Rackenard, have reasons of their own for hunting the children.

Fun, charming and fast-paced, Bragonsthyme continues what Sanspell started – a sophisticated and enjoyable tale for the 9-12 age range. It should appeal to both boys and girls.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

by Elizabeth Pulford
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775432869