First in a series, this book is about your average British schoolgirl thrust into a very strange situation. The fate of an entire world rests on the shoulders of her and her friend.
Nancy Spellman has decent, normal parents, and an older brother who has discovered the female gender. She has been reading a fantasy book bought by her mother about a planet called Hooth. It includes pictures of a giant half-horse/half-dinosaur named Rascal. After several nights of strange, troubled dreams, Nancy wakes up one night at midnight. Looking out her window toward the woods across the street, she sees Rascal, in the flesh.
The next morning, Nancy's friend Mary comes over and hears the whole story about the book, and the sighting. They immediately head for the woods to investigate and find hoofprints that are bigger and deeper than normal hoofprints. Going farther into the woods, they are suddenly caught in a force-field, surrounded by twinkling lights, and find themselves on Hooth.
Meeting Gretchen, Matgrin and Satgrin (all wizards), the girls are told that another wizard, a well-meaning bungler of a wizard named Albert, has accidentally brought three Earth children to Hooth. They are being held prisoner in a heavily guarded castle. It is guarded by creatures called spigworts, prowlers and dragonbirds, all with very nasty dispositions, who have been enslaving the human population. The magic of the wizards goes only so far, so Nancy and Mary, helped by invisicloaks, have to rescue the children by themselves. Things go bad pretty quickly, but everyone makes it out in one piece. The three children are returned to Earth, with that part of their memories conveniently erased.
Nancy and Mary also return to Earth, only to find that Mary's book has changed. It was titled The Forest of Fear, and now it is called Hooth and Hope, including pictures of their adventures. They are returned to Hooth, and told that much activity has been going on inside the castle, which is very bad news for the rest of Hooth's inhabitants. It is up to Nancy and Mary to find out just what is going on, and, if possible, throw a spanner into the works.
Any young person who is looking for something to read after Harry Potter would do very well to look here. It is easy to read, and just weird enough and it is really worth the reader's time.
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About the reviewer
Paul Lappen (plappen)
I am in my early 50s, single and live in Connecticut. I am a lifelong very, very avid reader and am a freelance book reviewer with my ownblog (http://www.deadtreesreview.blogspot.com). Please visit. It … more
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