Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Damaris Young - The Switching Hour - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Never stay out after the Switching Hour... never let the outside in... 

Damaris Young studied for her MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. In fact, this is where she actually wrote this novel. The Switching Hour is her debut book and has recently been released in the UK by Scholastic Books. This is a book you will certainly not miss in the shops as it has a vivid autumnal golden book cover. Both the front and back covers have been fantastically illustrated by Kelsley Buzzell and give such a brilliant feel to the story inside. To date, I've not seen many reviews for this book and so I would like to now put that right.

The story takes you on a surreal adventure following the characters, Amaya, and her lazy pet goat, Tau. The main character is a strong protagonist; very brave, young, slightly naive but instantly loveable. The story soon transports you into a world of myths and reality. It is heavily influenced by the author's childhood whilst living and growing up in Africa. This for me gives the story a different stylistic feel to most books that you will read in the UK. It makes for an intriguing plot which bends its outdoor charm on the reader. 

When the Dream Eater wakes up, the tingling sensation will disperse over the reader in a tiny gossamer of webs. The strands will weave and flutter in the wind as Badeko's song steals the dreams of the young, and spirits them away to be lost in the forest, in deep slumber, forevermore. It's a strange and bewitching narrative that feels ancient just like the setting and the forest in the book. The story is fraught with danger and outdoor adventure as nature fights back with exhilarating moments of action and drama. All of which is presented with great skill and certainly quickens the heartbeat!

This is a story of courage and bravery as Amaya saves her little baby brother (Kaleb) and the other children that have been taken by the Dream Eater. It is a brilliantly balanced book that lets the imagination feed a turbulent storm. There is just the right amount of backstory and dialogue to keep the reader thoroughly immersed and entertained throughout the unsettling sections. Conquering fears and overcoming challenges are the focus. However, that shiny piece of magic might also just give you a good nip on the back of your arms and legs. 

Book Synopsis: Amaya lives with her grandmother, her small brother Kaleb and her pet goat Tao in a land suffering a terrible drought. Every night, the doors must be locked after twilight, the Switching Hour, because the drought has awoken Badoko, a creature that snatches people away to eat their dreams. Three days later, the memory that they existed is gone from those that knew them, and those that are left are afflicted with The Sorrow Sickness - a grief which consumes a person without them knowing why. When Kaleb is taken by Badoko, Amaya must journey into the terrifying forest to find her brother before she forgets him.

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