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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Review: The 13 Treasures

Author: Michelle Harrison

Release date: 5th Jan 2009
Genre: Fantasy
Target audience: 9+
UK Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Summary from Amazon:

While visiting her grandmother's house, an old photograph leads Tanya to an unsolved mystery. Fifty years ago a girl vanished in the woods nearby - a girl Tanya's grandmother will not speak of. Fabian, the caretaker's son, is tormented by the girl's disappearance. His grandfather was the last person to see her alive, and has lived under suspicion ever since. Together, Tanya and Fabian decide to find the truth. But Tanya has her own secret: the ability to see fairies. And, after disturbing an intruder in the night, it emerges that someone else shares her ability ...The manor's sinister history is about to repeat itself ...


The 13 Treasures is a wonderful fantasy story which mixes the sinister world of faeries with a contemporary English setting. It makes for a cracking read!

Tanya is gifted with the second sight. She can see the fey folk of the other world. But unfortunately for Tanya she is the only person who can, so you can understand why she feels frustrated when she gets the blame for their misdemeanours. Tanya is feeling isolated at the beginning of the book and also frightened. The faeries are sometimes cruel to her and her mother decides to send her off to stay at Elvesden Manor after the ceiling comes crashing down around Tanya in the middle of the night. Elvesden Manor is a large ancient house and is the home of Tanya’s grandmother and Tanya is far from happy about going to stay with her. She has never been welcomed by her grandmother and the manor’s caretaker Warwick. Plus there is Fabian, the annoying son of Warwick, who tends to latch on to Tanya and never give her any peace.

As soon as Tanya’s mother made the decision to send her away, I was hooked. I completely empathised with Tanya. Her feelings of injustice at being blamed for the faeries’ trouble just leapt off the page. The faeries and all the different finds of fey folk create an atmosphere of magical mystery as well as humour. Some of the creatures do dark and vile things. Others are not so clearly evil but all add to the fantastical flavour to the story.

The plotting of this book was so neat and tight. Harrison left clues and red-herrings all along the way which made a real need to read on. Think dark walks in the wood at midnight. It is enough to scare me before bedtime. I also want to mention the dialogue because the character voices were so clear and individual. It really was a pleasure to read.

The ending of this novel left me feeling completely satisfied. I felt as if Tanya came full circle and there was a secret joy in knowing that. I finally understand why my students love Michelle Harrison so much. She can really capture the imagination. The 13 Treasures is well-crafted, full of mystery and the sinister side of magic and distinctive characters. At times charming, at others funny, this book is one to recommend to every girl age 9 to 90. Actually, there is lots that boys will enjoy in there too! Think gruesome things that faeries do!

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me the book to review.
Read for the British Book Challenge 2011


Caroline said...

Great review Becky :)
I keep reading amazing things about Michelle Harrison so i really need to get started on her books!!
I like that mix of dark faeries and adventure story!
Is the book perfect for tweens or is it very scary?
I *love* when scary stories are set in a British setting - this country has such an enormous potential for this what with the influence of Gothic literature and all the folk myths and everything! I am a fan :)

Cliona said...

I love a good fantasy, and this sounds amazing! Must see if the library has it...

The Slowest Bookworm said...

I have had this series on my wishlist for ages! It sounds really amazing and I loved reading your review.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Wonderful review! It seems the book really captivated you and provided you with good reading fun. I like the premise and lately, I've been interested into faeries, so I might keep an eye on this novel.

prophecygirl said...

I'm really glad you liked this one Becky. The series is one of my favourites - I love it and Michelle!

The Book Bug said...

Excellent review, Becky. :) If it's that good, then I'll certainly have to have a look. I'm not all that into books about fairies, and by saying that I am risking being abducted by fairies, but I'm intrigued.

(Also the cover is pretty and it was half price in waterstones yesterday.)

Bookworm1858 said...

This looks really good; I'm not a big fan of faeries but a satisfying novel with good characters can overcome that general dislike. I'm always on the lookout for faerie books I might enjoy and this looks like it would be one.

Vivienne said...

I love this book! That is all.

Clover said...

I've had this book on my shelves for awhile and I keep meaning to get around to it. So I love seeing such positive reviews of it like this :) I think I shall be bumping it up my pile.