Thursday 3 July 2014

Mr. Mumbles by Barry Hutchison - Book Review

I chose the name of my blog deliberately because I have a very varied taste in everything I find interesting. Books are no exception.
I don't care if a book is aimed at children, young adults, women or martians, if I like the sound of it I'll give it a go.

Barry Hutchison's Invisible Fiends Book 1: Mr Mumbles, hit the market with very little fuss and rapidly entered the bargain bins - despite winning some prestigious awards. I kept seeing it in a local discount book store for £2.
As with most books it was the cover that attracted me (the adage Never judge a book by it's cover doesn't really apply in my case). But, I kept picking it up and putting it down again for some reason.

Eventually, I gave in - but only when it was reduced even further to 50p. At that price I'd have nothing to complain if it was the worst book ever written!

Of course, it wasn't the worst book ever written. It actually turned out to be one of the best children's books I'd read in a long time (maybe not up there with Charlotte's Web or The Chronicles of Narnia but still excellent).

The story is simple. Kyle is a young boy who starts hearing strange noises. Then he gets attacked. The strange thing is, he's attacked by a grotesquely deformed version of his childhood imaginary friend, Mr. Mumbles.
But, no one else can see his attacker, so it he real?
It's this question that is at the heart of this book - and indeed the entire series.
Kyle's journey, his childhood abandonment issues, his loving relationships with his mother and friends are what gives this book it's heart.
But, what makes this book outstanding - in my humble opinion - is the fact that it's as scary as hell!
For a book aimed solely at children Hutchison doesn't pull many punches. He goes for the jugular on many scenes and as a result makes for a much richer reading experience.
His 'world' is meticulously created and his imagination knows no bounds. The creation of the Darkest Corners - a place where imaginary friends go when they're forgotten - is simply genius.

I read the book in 2 days and promptly bought the next one (yes it had been that long since the first book was released).
Book 2: Raggy Maggie
Book 3: The Crowmaster
Book 4: Doc Mortis
Book 5: The Beast
Book 6: The Darkest Corners

Each book is as good as the others. Each is a cracking read: fast paced, fascinating, scary and inventive. I read each one on the day of purchase.

Easily one of the best children's series ever written, in my opinion, and one that deserves to be as popular as Harry Potter. Also, it would make a great series of films!

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