These are additions to three popular series from Farshore: thanks to the publisher for sending them for review
The Beast and the Bethany: Battle of the Beast
Jack Meggitt-Phillips, illustrated by Isabelle Follath
With the beast safely imprisoned after controlling Ebenezer Tweezer for 511 years and twice attempting to eat Bethany, Ebenezer is trying to attract new clients for the problem-solving business, The Wise Tweezer. He also keeps receiving phone calls; these he determinedly ignores until eventually Mr Nickle gets through and announces some strange, disturbing news concerning the beast.
Almost before you can say the dreaded word, Bethany and Ebenezer are on the beach of D.o. r. r.i.S Island facing Mr Nickle. He informs them that the beast is to be released on account of its having lost its mind and become a reformed character. Moreover, in the next stage of his rehabilitation, he’s being put in the care of Ebenezer and Bethany; either that or the former will be arrested. Bethany though is having none of it and off she storms.
Nonetheless the beast sets about proving how adept he is at do-gooding as he gets involved in Ebenezer’s business. carrying out kindnesses around the neighbourhood by vomiting out things people need. But Ebenezer surely can’t carry on ignoring those rumbling sounds that come from the beast’s belly every so often? Bethany meanwhile is determined to prove that the beast is still its evil self. Enter Mortimer the parrot. Let battle commence …
Fiendishly funny and darkly discomforting, this will definitely leave readers wanting still more
Llama on Ice
Annabelle Sami, illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan
It’s the Christmas holidays and with her llama pal Levi away on a training mission and her best human friend Ezra enjoying himself in Jamaica with his grandad for a fortnight, Yasmin is feeling pretty miserable stuck in London. Then comes the snowstorm: apparently the thickest for twenty years, so the TV news announcer says and soon after she hears from Ezra that the adverse conditions mean his return flight is cancelled. What will she find to do? Certainly not have a family Christmas; her family don’t celebrate that festival.
The snowstorm also means that Tia, her erstwhile best friend and now arch enemy, can’t go on her luxury holiday to France to see her dad and stepfamily and visit that Fantasy Icestravaganza.
Suddenly as Yasmin is sitting in her bedroom trying to cheer herself up, the llama landline lights up and she receives a message from Mama Llama, head of Seen Not Herd, informing her of a mission: to give Tia her best ever Christmas. Eventually she accepts. But then what? With just three days to go, Yasmin must switch to guardian llama mode. Let the carol singing begin …
Things don’t always go to plan and this looks like being one of those times, especially when Yasmin lets her temper get the better of her. Surely her very first mission isn’t going to be a failure?
Perhaps with the help of the unexpectedly returned Levi and Ezra, she can achieve what she sets out to do and even give Tia a version of that special ice show …
Despite the chilly wintry setting, this story has at its heart, warmth, kindness, forgiveness and family love.
Dungeon Academy: Tourney of Terror
Madeleine Roux, illustrated by Tim Probert
This is a sequel to No Humans Allowed. Secretly human, Zelli is having enigmatic nightmares sent by Lord Carrion the necromancer currently a captive in Dungeon Academy’s detention room.
The adults (Zelli’s adoptive minotaur mothers included) instruct her to leave things to them but she’s not convinced they’re doing sufficient, especially when she learns that she’s not the only one having nightmares and so she turns to the Danger Club to help her research the clues left by Lord Carrion. Meanwhile chaos ensues at the school, which is host to rivals, the Waterdeep Dragons for the Tourney of Terror, a monstrous sporting event.
Nonetheless Zelli decides she must investigate and close to a portal she discovers a dragon, or really, a human boy, Tavian. Soon the two, both of whom are masquerading as something they’re not, are swapping back stories, they form a bond and Tavian decides to join Danger Club’s investigation.
With some fierce battles, the tale twists and turns all the way to its cliff-hanger ending that will leave Dungeons and Dragons fans in suspense awaiting the next instalment.