Havoc! The Untold Magic of Cora Bell
Angus & Robertson, 2020
320pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99
In Jinxed!, the first in this series, we meet eleven-year-old Cora Bell who is a foundling with no memory prior to her life with the elderly Dot and her cat Scratch. They live in a room hidden behind a wall in the crowded, industrial city of Urt, where everyone looks out for themselves, and their survival is dependent on scavenging and trading such as rare and exotic things – apple seeds, silver forks, shoe polish amidst fierce competition. Life takes a terrifying turn for Cora when she finds a few words scribbled on a piece of paper. She takes it home and says the words aloud. Suddenly, two plump, hairy fairies named Tick and Tock crash land in her path to warn her that she is in terrible danger. Cora has unknowingly summoned a sinister creature known as a Jinx. Jinxes eat magical beings and once they have a scent, they never forget it. Cora is thrown headfirst into a world filled with magic, necromancers, shape-shifters, enchantresses, fairies, nightwalkers, witches and giants as her home is destroyed, her family goes missing and she’s pursued by the menacing and powerful Jinx.
Despite the danger she discovers the power of friendship, finds courage, and channels incredible strength against the overwhelming forces seeking to destroy her.
Now in this second episode, Cora Bell has accepted she is full of magic b without her protection bracelet, she is struggling to hold onto all the powers she has gained, especially the dark magic she took from the warlock, Archibald Drake. When she begins to have nightmares and visions, and unusual cracks appear on her skin, it is a race against time for Cora and her fairy friends to not only find a way to fix her magic, but also escape the hunters now chasing Cora, and search the magical world for her family.
Can Cora do it all before her magic takes control? Will she find her family? Or will she become . . . a Havoc?
Continuing the popular trend for storylines about ordinary children having extraordinary powers, this is a series for independent readers consolidating their skills and starting to explore the power of words that take them into worlds other than those they know. Miss 9, who started her fantasy adventure a few years ago listening to Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men is thoroughly enjoying it, being proud of her ability to read it to herself. The short chapters and the illustrations support her developing independence.
With the summer holidays on the horizon, this is a series worth recommending to parents who are looking for something special to put in the Santa Sack.