‘You have followed your heart down a difficult road. No master could ask for more.’ Then he smiles. ‘Nor any grandfather.’ (p 221)
Wednesday Weeks is ‘technologically challenged’ as her best friend Alfie puts it. For whatever she tries to do in class turns into a disaster involving fireballs and other dangerous developments. To add to her problems, her grandfather Abraham Mordecai Weeks has a habit of appearing whenever trouble strikes and he is hard to ignore with his hood, shadowy cloak and jewelled finger: ‘I am Abraham Mordecai Weeks, Protector of the Realms, Master of the Seven Transformations, Custodian of the Five Ungovernable Charms, ArchExcellency Order Enchanter, Wonder Warlock, and Black Belt Magician to the Queen’s Royal Order.’ (p 12) And, to top off these embarrassments, he insists on calling her his ‘Apprentice Protector’. The thing is that his appearances have happened many times before, although nobody at her school remembers them. But when he mysteriously disappears after encountering the evil Gorgomoth, the Goblin King, leaving her with his Ruby Ring, Wednesday is determined to rescue him, and her best friend Alie won’t let her go alone. Their quest leads them to several perilous realms and into encounters with frightening figures and seemingly impassable challenges. Their erstwhile sidekick Bruce, a snarky disembodied skull, adds to their adventures!
The novel is littered with fantasy concepts and devices and the world described is cunningly detailed. The Tower of Shadows in the Goblin Realm, the Tower of Unbearable Brightness in the Faery Realm, the Curtain of Forbidding, the Luminating Globe of Lost Tarimos, the Seven Stones of Saranon, the Sword of Reckoning, the pit of Extreme Discomfort, and an Invisibility Cloak (the Unseeable Robe of Malazar) all play their parts in this magical and hilarious work.
In this fast-paced fantasy adventure, Wednesday and Alfie are really ‘up against it’, but in a world of magic, can science actually save the day?
BEFORE & AFTER READING THE NOVEL
- Examine the cover of the novel. What does it suggest about the novel’s themes?
- After you have read the novel, examine the cover again: what does it suggest to you now?
- After you have read the novel, read about it in reviews and articles and use the notes below to examine the text more closely.