Sunday, 10 September 2017

Barry Hutchison - Spectre Collectors: Too Ghoul for School (Nosy Crow) - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)


Denzel is having no luck with his maths homework. First, it's too difficult, then there's a terrifying mess of smoky black tendrils that wants to kill him, then two teenagers explode through his window holding guns and throwing magic. They are the Spectre Collectors, and spooky is their speciality. Realising that Denzel has a special gift, they sweep him off to their headquarters for training. Tested with awesome weapons and ancient magic, Denzel realises just how little he knows. But there's a serious problem on its way from the Spectral Realm, so Denzel has a lot to learn. FAST.

Spectre Collectors: Too Ghoul for School is the first book in a supernatural adventure series from author, Barry Hutchison. Published 7th September 2017 by Nosy Crow 

This is a very funny book that even adults will find humorous. For me, it was like being transported back to my childhood. If only this type of book had been written when I was younger then what fun I would have had reading it. How fortunate we are now, having so much choice and with so many talented authors gracing our bookshelves. 

Denzel, the main character, is very endearing and might not be classed as your average hero character. However, Smithy (his sidekick) is my favourite character. He is full of sarcastic wit and is very laid back. They make a comedy pair like no other. "What would you rather fight?" Smithy began. 
"Go ON" said Denzel. "A zombie with the brain of an evil genius, or an evil genius with the brain of a zombie?" The questions and the replies will make you laugh and also make you think, this goes on all the way through the book and I really loved this. Interestingly, what would you choose? 

The story has a snappy narrative that will really help reluctant readers engage in the story. It is really easy to read. I found myself so engaged that I ended up reading it in just one sitting. It is written in an all-out action comic book style. Nosy Crow, yet again, have adapted this really well just as they have in so many of their previously published books. Some of the action sequences are 'too cool for school' but will certainly engage your magical socks right off your literal feet. 

The book is very imaginative and has a real punch of a twist later on. It is full of magical mayhem, fire power and some very nasty monsters. I particularly loved the RUBBISH-MONSTER classic caper narrative gold. However, I think I would have loved a little more detail weaved into some parts of the story, but this might be from an older readers perspective. It would also have been interesting to have included more of the amazingly detailed illustrations by Rob Biddulph, who also did My Evil Twin is a Supervillain by David Solomons. He really is a fantastic illustrator.

This is a great start to a new series. It is a gadget, supernatural, monster action-fest that has a fantastic immersive feel which 8-12-year-old readers will love to read, as well as big kids like me. I for one am certainly looking forward to the next book.

About the Author

Barry Hutchison, author of over eighty books for children and teenagers, and adults who never properly grew up. I live in Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland with my wife, two children, and very annoying dog.

As well as books, I also write comics like The Beano, DC Super Hero Girls, Angry Birds and Supermansion.
I also write animation, including all six episodes of Dreamworks TV’s upcoming ‘Kip Van Creepy: Delivery Boy’ and an episode of ‘Supermansion’ starring Bryan Cranston and Chris Pine.
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