The Chime Seekers

The Chime Seekers
Ross Montgomery
Walker Books

Eleven year old Yanni is anything but happy about his new life: he’s moved to Fallow Hall, into a home that he hates, largely on account of needing more space since the arrival of his baby sister, and the thought of joining a new school part way through term is awful too. In fact from the start he hates everything about it: the surroundings send frissons of fear right through him. Surely things can’t get any worse, or can they?

It’s All Hallows Eve and now despite all Dad said, he’s about to be left at home minding his year old baby sister, or not quite alone, for who should appear just when his parents are ready to leave for their night out, but his cousin Amy.

Once they’ve gone, Yanni goes into baby Ari’s room and makes a fateful wish: he wishes that she’d never been born. Suddenly something weird happens and he sees a man standing in the doorway, a man who makes him feel decidedly uncomfortable, but despite this Yanni invites him in.

Deciding that something is deeply wrong, even more so after the man has become aware of Ari, Yanni is overtaken by a strangeness that results in the man stealing his baby sister away and leaving in her place a changling: a changling who can do unlikely things such as acrobatics and throwing things around.

The cousins are briefly at a loss and then Amy reminds him that All Hallows Eve is a night when “faeries come roaming.’ When the borders twixt their world and the Land of Fae are at their thinnest. Thus anything is possible, even the stealing of babies by a wicked faerie.

Now the boy realises that he must do all in his power to get his sibling back from this creature who has a whole lot of powerful magic up his sleeve. He and Amy embark on a quest in another world and undertake a series of tasks in order to put everything right back as it was before he made that fateful wish. It’s a journey that throws up monstrous challenges and tests Yanni’s resources to their limits as the Faery tosses nigh on impossible challenges at him.

Nerve-wracking this story most definitely is, as readers with hearts in their mouths, follow the action. But ultimately, the power of love reigns, outweighing that of evil; and what about the power of a name? … 

Intensely powerful too is Ross Montgomery’s telling that, with his author’s magic, held this reviewer right through to the final page. I love David Dean’s cover illustration too and his occasional black and white ones during the narrative.

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