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Monday, 20 June 2011

MG Monday: Review: Flood and Fang by Marcus Sedgwick


Title: Flood and Fang
Series: The Raven Mysteries
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Illustrator: Pete Williamson
Publisher: Orion Children’s
Publication Date: 7 Oct 2010

Synopsis: From Amazon

Meet the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. Edgar is alarmed when he sees a nasty looking black tail slinking under the castle walls. But his warnings to the inhabitants of the castle go unheeded: Lord Valevine Otherhand is too busy trying to invent the unthinkable and discover the unknowable; his wife, Minty, is too absorbed in her latest obsession - baking; and ten-year-old Cudweed is running riot with his infernal pet monkey. Only Solstice, the black-haired, poetry-writing Otherhand daughter, seems to pay any attention. As the lower storeys of the castle begin mysteriously to flood, and kitchen maids continue to go missing, the family come ever closer to the owner of the black tail...

Dedicated website on Raven Mysteries:

Firstly I have to thank Jenny from Wondrous Reads and Nina Douglas from Orion for introducing me to these fabulous books. If you notice my Middle Grade Monday button is actually Edgar from the Raven Mysteries - awesome you will agree. Bringing me to the first point about this book. The illustrations are just amazing. Take a look for yourselves:

They add detail to the plot and bring the characters to life within the imagination.

The use of bold of certain words within the narrative draws attention to that part and adds impact to the plot. Combining action, adventure with some real laugh out loud moments.

An omniscient third person narrator at the start of each chapter keeps the plot tightly under control while giving insight into events that might be overlooked otherwise.

Each chapter then reverts to first person narrative from Edgar's perspective. Oh how I adored Edgar's narrative voice, so totally relateable for someone of my age, the moans of groans of our bodies letting us down as we age, even though Edgar is a raven. Edgar's age is only something that is hinted at throughout the book. As the story progresses we are lead to believe that Edgar is not your average Raven, he is something more, but what, is he a magical creature I wonder? Edgar's direct address to the reader gave the narrative a more personal feel, I don't usually like birds as pets but I would make an exception for Edgar [ : D ] He can be over-dramatic and ever so snarky - what a brilliant pet to have. His narrative voice had a superior quality, this is either because he does believe himself to be superior or because of his age, the insight into the way his mind works is such fun to read. The background detail and history of Castle Otherhand, Edgar provides rounded out the story beautifully. Plus I agree completely - Wednesday is never a good day, lol.

The contrast between Edgar as Solsitice's pet and their close relationship and understanding with that of the psychotic monkey, Fellah, Cudweed's pet. Edgar's disdain and utter lack of concern for Fellah made me giggle. The family reminded me of The Addams Family but funnier.

There is some fabulous vocabulary used throughout this book, a brilliant addition to the Middle Grade titles available and one I shall be using for the Reluctant Reader Program I am taking part in this September at school.

Thank you again to Jenny and Nina I really really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the others.


  1. I love the sound of these books. I wish I could get L into reading more because I think he would love these! :(
    Thank you for making me want to read these ever more than I already did! lol

  2. These books sound amazing. I haven't read any yet but I will definitely be checking these out. Thanks for the great review. x

  3. I love the illustrations in this book. Very Adamms family.


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