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Book review: Osbert the Avenger

on September 24, 2013

Osbert the Avenger

Author: Christopher William Hill

Price: £5.99

Publisher: Orchard Books

ISBN: 9781408314555

 

KRB rating: 9 ½/10

Recommended age: 9-12

Reviewer: Krissie

 

Thank goodness for writers like Christopher William Hill. Just when you think you can’t read one more book about fairies or falling in love, along comes a story that is so beautifully sinister, so deliciously malevolent and so chock-full of squirmingly evil baddies that you can’t move without falling over another one.

 

Osbert Brinkhoff has the misfortune to be born into the exceptionally peculiar town of Schwartzgarten and to be unusually bright, both facts that lead him to apply to The Institute, a super-selective school about which tales are whispered of the extreme brutality of the teachers. But when you consider that Oscar’s Nanny has an unusual hobby of seeing off her lovers before they can do the same to her, and that Oscar himself has a particular affinity with butchers, you know that this is going to be anything but a run-of-the-mill school story. This is a tale of music, of fabulous eating (I was starving when I had finished reading it), of skulduggery, but mostly of murder, where nobody is blameless and everyone has something to hide. Even the best characters  – especially the best characters – have ‘something of the night’ about them.

 

Dark, twisted, laugh-out-loud funny and endlessly inventive, Hill’s tale is a breath of fresh air and hugely recommended – I devoured it in a single day. Just one complaint: why do the publishers feel it necessary to compare Hill to Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket on the covers? A very odd practice and totally unnecessary: Hill has the talent to stand on his own. I, for one, can’t wait for the next Schwartzgarten book.

 

By the same author: The Woebegone Twins (out October 2013)

 


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