Witched: The Spellbinding Life of Cora Bell
Angus & Robertson, 2021
320pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99
In Jinxed! The Curious Curse of Cora Bell, the first in this series, we met 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.
The second episode, Havoc! The Untold Magic of Cora Bell continued the story and now this is the final in the series. Cora is racing against time. With her beloved guardian, Dot, badly injured, she must face fearsome werewolves, gross beetle worms and a vengeful warlock in order to save her. But as questions about her long-lost parents arise, Cora and her fairy friends begin a search for the one person who might hold all the answers. The one person who disappeared the same night Cora’s parents did …
Will Cora finally discover the truth about her family? Or will the evil syphon return to finish what he started, and destroy Cora once and for all?
Miss 10, a capable reader (although not as avid as her older sister) loves this series because she sees herself as Cora with hidden magical powers and she becomes fully immersed in the story. It was one of the first of these more ‘grown up’ novels she tackled alone and while she will be thrilled to have the final in her hands, she will also be sad to know it’s the end of something that has carried her through the tricky, long days of lockdown boredom. Nevertheless, it has really helped her develop her independent reading skills as she became so engrossed in it and she is ready for more. IMO, that a story is endorsed so whole-heartedly by its intended audience is the best review and so this is a series that has a place in any library collection.