Author: Pat Walsh
Publisher: The Chicken House
Rating: 4 stars
‘Very well. We will talk again.’ Jacobus Bone lifted a hand in dismissal. The cuff of his long sleeve slipped back just far enough to reveal part of his hand. Or what was left of it. William stared at the stumps of two fingers and a thumb and caught his breath in shock.
Jacobus Bone was a leper.
Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Fiction Prize 2010, The Crowfield Curse set in year 1347. Fifteen-year-old Will, an orphan boy, lives at Crowfield Abbey. Sent into the forest to gather wood, he rescues instead, a creature from a trap - a hob, who shares with Will a terrible secret. Somewhere in the forest behind the abbey where he lives, is a grave. And buried deep in the snow is an angel. But how can an angel die? What has it to do with the monks of the Abbey? When two hooded strangers arrive at Crowfield asking questions about the angel's grave. Will is drawn into a world of dangerous Old Magic.
I like this book! I like the characters, I like the story, the plot the setting, everything! It's not an epic fantasy in another realm, it's a world beside our normal world. The world where fays live and Old Magic lingers in the corner of dark forest. I really like the hob, Brother Walter. I think he's cute; especially when he's hanging on Will's shoulder while they were running. The other characters weren't so impressing as the hob but I quite like William, Brother Snail, and Shadlock. Despite his fate, William is a normal kid who wishes for warm food and less work. He's not super handsome or super awesome; he's average yet there's something about him that makes him special. I felt attached to him especially after reading how he felt toward the death of animals. I love animals and I can understand the hopeless feeling he felt.
I think this book will appeal to children from 8-15 years old, and also adults who enjoy middle grade book (like me). It's easy to like, fun to read, and very enjoyable. The only downfall I can think of is that in the beginning this book lack of action. But I think the events which happened during the first part of the book built the tension until it reached the climax in the end so it was okay for me. Now I can't wait for the second book to come!
I received e-copy from the author. I requested it because I was intrigued by its cover and description and she kindly sent in to me. After I finished the book, I email her to ask some questions. Here are those:
Lyn: Where did the idea for The Crowfield Curse came from?
Pat: I am an archaeologist and I have worked on several abbey sites over the years, so I had always wanted to write a book one day set in a medieval abbey. The image of an angel dying in the snow was one that came to me one Christmas several years ago. I put the two together and the story of Crowfield Abbey slowly started to grow.
Lyn: What can you tell us about the main character, Will?
Pat: Will is just an ordinary boy, though he does have the gift of Sight. He has had a very hard life over the last two years - he has lost his family in a fire, and is forced to live at the abbey, which he does not greatly like. He's brave and a loyal and trustworthy friend. He is drawn into a world of old magic very much against his will and has to learn quickly how to survive. To do this, he has to trust the fay warrior Shdlok. As a result of this, an unusual friendship slowly grows between the two of them.
Lyn: I'm in love with Brother Walter, I think he's so cute. But I was wondering, actually what is a hob?
Pat: A hob is a creature in British folklore. It is a small, solitary fairy, closely related to the hobgoblin. Hobs keep to themselves, but will occasionally choose to live in a human household, where they do the chores and keep the house clean and tidy. In return, they expect to be treated kindly and given a bowl of milk in the evening. If you offend a hob, they can turn nasty, though.
Lyn: Can you give us a little insight about what will happen in the second book, The Crowfield Demon?
Pat: In the Crowfield Demon, we get to find out why the angel came to the abbey a hundred years ago. It was there for a particular reason. Also, something very unpleasant is stirring in the abbey, and everyone is in grave danger. It is up to Will and Shadlok to find a way to save the day, with a lot of help from Brother Snail and the hob, of course!
Lyn: Last but not least, what are your favorite fantasy novels?
Pat: I love Holly Black's books, Tithe and Ironside, and Michelle Harrison's wonderful 13 Treasures and 13 Curses. Emily Diamand's Flood Child and Flood and Fire are excellent books, which I highly recommend. Also, I really enjoyed Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, and I'm reading the first in her Infernal Devices series, The Clockwork Angel. There are many wonderful fantasy books out there, and some of the older ones I've loved over the years include the Moomintroll books of Tove Jansson, and anything by Robert Westall, John Gordon and Susan Cooper.
*The review was made without any pressure or any influence from the author or publisher. It all based on my personal opinion.