The Vanishing Trick by Jenni Spangler
Illustrated by Chris Mould
Gloriously bewitching and impressively eerie, The Vanishing Trick is a spectacular tale which I devoured in one satisfying sitting. It had everything I needed in a children's book - its theatrical Victorian era setting, the ghostly séances and magical illusions, a hair-raising villain and most of all, Jenni Spangler's dazzling writing. For a debut, The Vanishing Trick is simply outstanding.
The mysterious Madame Augustina Pinchbeck travels the country conjuring the spirits of dearly departed loved ones... for a price. Whilst her ability to contact ghosts is a game of smoke and mirrors, there is a real, unsettling magic behind her tricks too - if you know where to look.
Through a tempting trade, Pinchbeck tempts children to part with their most precious possessions, promising to use her magical powers to help them. But Pinchbeck is a crafty deceiver, instead turning their possessions into enchanted Cabinets that bind the children to her and into which she can vanish and summon them at her own will.
When Pinchbeck captures orphan Leander, her ambitions and greed become all consuming and a series of fateful events are set into motion that see Leander and his new friends Charlotte and Felix, in a race against time to break Pinchbeck’s spell, before one of them vanishes forever…
The Vanishing Trick is a thrilling and truly original story. Effectively narrated from the perspective of Leander, Charlotte and Felix, Spangler beautifully weaves folklore, magic and darkness throughout the narrative whilst bringing to life her spooky Victorian setting and its Spiritualism Movement. Spangler mastered her characterisation. Our heroes, lovable Leander, determined Charlotte and loyal Felix each came across as raw and relatable, and the development of their friendship was done brilliantly. As for sinister Madame Pinchbeck, I've no doubt that she will go down as one of the most notable villains in children's literature. Also, I couldn't think of anyone more perfect than Chris Mould to illustrate The Vanishing Trick. His stunning, ominous illustration wholly epitomise Spangler's story.
Perfect for fans of Helena Duggan's A Place Called Perfect, Michelle Harrison and Lemony Snicket, this enticing tale of magic, friendship and belonging had me hypnotised from start to finish. Showcasing the perfect amount of thrills and triumphs, its readers will willingly step into this riveting world and not look back. I honestly cannot wait to see what the talented Jenni Spangler writes next, I know we'll all be eagerly waiting!
I was lucky enough to interview the brilliant Jenni Spangler where we talked all things time travel, ghostly illusions, debut writing tips and dinner party guests, read it here! And be sure to follow along on this bewitching blog tour for more reviews and special giveaways.