Author: Michelle Harrison
Release date: 7th Jan 2010 UK
Target audience: 9+
UK Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Summary from Amazon:
The Thirteen Treasures have become the Thirteen Curses. When fairies stole her brother, Red vowed to get him back. Now trapped in the fairy realm, she begs an audience with the fairy court where she strikes a bargain. Her brother will be returned - but only if she can find the thirteen charms of Tanya's bracelet that have been scattered in the human world. Returning to Elvesden Manor, Red is assisted by Tanya and Fabian and a desperate hunt begins. Soon they make a shocking discovery. The charms now have twisted qualities of the thirteen treasures they represent...and the longer they are missing the worse the consequences will be. Can Red, Tanya and Fabian find all the charms? And even if they do, will the fairies keep their promise?
The 13 Curses is a story of adventure, friendship and discovery set in our world which happens to be riddled with Fey and all their dark and twisted magic.
This novel takes place in the half term following Tanya’s stay at Elvesden Manor in the Summer. It is the second novel in a series but can also be read as a standalone because the story is complete in itself.
The 13 Curses is a wonderful follow up to The 13 Treasures. It differs from the first book as it is really Red’s story. Tanya, Fabian and Warwick all feature but this it is in every way Red’s coming of age. We learn much more about her past and how she came to be involved in the “changeling” exchange business. Red is in rather a predicament at the beginning of the novel but her goal remains the same. She wants to be reunited with her baby brother James.
Red is a rather single-minded character. She has been hardened by the loss of her parents and the abduction of her brother. She’s lived on the streets and fended for herself. In The 13 Curses we understand how Red comes to be so tough and determined. We read many chapters which describe her past story - her experience in the children’s home, her discoveries of ways to avoid the fey and protect against their magic. We also learn of the burden she carried being born of the second sight and not being able to share the truth with anyone.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but I will say that Red, Tanya and Fabian have to overcome the 13 curses. In this way I felt Harrison evoked much of traditional children’s fantasy writing. I loved how the three characters had to solve the problems for themselves rather than be rescued by a knowledgeable adult. I also loved the fact that the problem solving all took place in a single location. It felt so much more believable than other novels where the child characters go off on a thousand mile journey across vast deserts etc. The setting is one of my favourite things about this series – it is so evocative of the fantastic and whimsical.
There was a great dynamic between Red, Tanya and Fabian. They were all distinctive and each had a personality was reflected through their dialogue. This series is very well-executed.
Overall, another great instalment of this fantastic adventure series. Pacey, exciting and full of faery menace, The 13 Curses will be loved by girls and boy from age 9+.
Read for the British Book Challenge 2011