Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Glass Apple and Spiders Web by Robert Franks (2 reviews)

I picked up The Glass Apple by chance in the summer- and I'm very very glad I did. This is a wonderful piece of storytelling suitable for all ages.
The story tells of three orphans - Jason (12), Kylie (10) and little Anna (5). After the death of their mother they end up in the care of their eccentric Grandfather Ethelbert Gobswistle, a strange character they have never met before.
The first few chapters are humerous and may seem more suited to a younger reader but stick with it because it gets a lot darker later on. Gobswistle is on the run for stealing a glass object (the apple of the title) and a small black christmas tree fairy from his 'employers' in the USA and nearly as soon as he has the custody of the children they are pursued by the enemy - "The Medb" (or Mave).
It turns out the only way to defeat the Medb is with the help of 3 books but these are hidden in the past. When Gobswistle, the children and Etain (the fairy) go back to the time of Merlin to get the books they are separated, Jason and Anna in one place and Gobswistle, Kylie and Etain in another and this is where the story really kicks off.
The characterisation is exceptional (especially Etain, the fairy with sass and attitude and Aiken the Boggart) and the feel for the historical times is top notch.
The story ends on a cliffhanger and I am eagerly awaiting the next book (due Christmas 2011).
The style of the story is part Harry Potter, part Narnia, and part E. Nesbitt, and all of the parts come together to give a wholly satisfying yarn.
Enter the world of The Glass Apple - you won't be sorry.


First things first, this book is a direct follow on to The Glass Apple, the first book in this sequence, so it would be a good idea to read that first.
Spider's Web is another wonderful piece of storytelling. It continues the story of Jason, Kylie and Anna trapped in time with their Grandfather, Gobswistle, and the 'kick-ass' fairy, Etain (who, in my opinion is one of the best creations of recent years)
To sum up the situation so far, Jason is missing, Kylie is coming to terms with being a changeling, Gobswistle is as confused as ever and little Anna is in the village of Kilneaur - which is on the verge of being attacked by vikings!
There is an awful lot going on in this book and for some chunks of the story the main characters are not absent and it is left to secondary characters to carry the story along. It is to the Authors great credit that these parts of the story work really well. In fact, this section, set in the village had some of the best scenes, character interactions and OH MY GOD!!! moments that I have read in a long while.
The book finishes neatly and sets up well for Song of the Shamen (August 2012)
A thoroughly enjoyable read.

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