Magic is attracted to Talina. And Talina is attracted to Magic. But it Doesn't always go quite according to plan.
When terrifying, baddened creatures start prowling the midnight streets of Venice and seizing men and women, not to mention children, cats and rats, Talina knows desperate measures are needed. When her parents disappear she and her loyal cat, Drusilla, are forced to live with her sinister Guardian in his gaunt and lonely twittering tower on the northernmost edge of the city. And it's here her adventure begins...
Michelle Lovric has once again created a rollicking adventure full of history, awesome imagination and fantastic characters of all sorts. I've been a huge fan since the day I first read The Undrowned Child, and she does not disappoint with this new Venetian tale, set some 30 odd years before The Undrowned Child.
Talina is a force to be reckoned with, smart, with a voracious appetite for reading (she can read one book with each eye, though this can cause some calamities like faulty spells), and a trouble maker with a temper when backed into a corner. She's renowned as the terror of the neighbourhood and it's all these qualities that make her funny and charming to the reader- though likely nobody you'd want to have to babysit in real life.
As is her style, Lovrics latest story has twice the cast of animals and magical creatures then humans. Everything from vicious hyena/wolf hybrids to ghosts, rats and cats, fill the pages. Many of them are so much fun they steal the scene every time they crop up. I was especially fond of the bully stray cats Bestard-Belou and Albicocco. Lovrics use of language always lends a special quality to her stories, and the cats are certainly no exception.
Through his full mouth, he mumbled, 'I likes a rat, ye know. I likes a little bit o bone to crunch. I doan hold wid that soft pap da missis gives us. I am fond of a pigeon too, if 'tis fat and bony both.'Her writing is witty and full of fabulous vocabulary, giving any reader the added bonus of brushing up on their intelligent banter by extension. Without a doubt this will leave younger readers with a fair amount of questions about what certain words mean and it's jokes like this one that makes me wish I could be a fly on the wall for the first parent answering what a Enema is.
Albicocco cuffed the rat out of his friend's mouth. 'Yer mistaking me for someone who cares 'bout what yew puts down yer ugly froat, Bestardo.'
Somewhat more reluctantly, she resorted to a fat syringe labelled 'Elf Enemas' to baste her spicy sausages, and only after scrubbing it out first.The story is good fun from start to end, with a great tie into The Undrowned Child. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading the first two parts to that series yet, you'll want to by the end of Talina in the Tower.
Coming out today in the UK from Orion books, you can buy your copy of Talina in the Tower at the Book Depository.
Talina in the Tower, by Michelle Lovric
Published by Orion Books, February 2nd, 2012
My copy kindly provided by Orion Books