‘I’m planning the perfect crime,’ said Mellie.
‘I wondered why you’ve been so quiet,’ said Ike.
He was standing in Claudius the cornicle’s cramped left side-pouch, which he shared with Mellie for the past day as the horned beast flew towards Grimmery.
Ike could not get used to his best friend being an apprentice thief from a clan of thieves. Before he could ask what Mellie meant, however, a petite, pink-haired figure hurtled across the sky above them, swinging two round objects around her head on strings. Tinkling laughter trailed behind her.
‘What was that?’ said Ike.
Time is running out and Ike and his friend Mellie have two equally urgent missions. Ike has to return the Book of Grimmery to Grimmery so that the Princess can be crowned Queen and save her land and people. Mellie wants to free the Collected children before the Fey Queen does them any more damage and it’s too late. To help and hinder Ike, a sprite has a crush on him, which embarrasses him and enrages Mellie. And then there’s the stolen weapons, tortured knight, escaped creatures of the underworld, boastful liars, goblins and more. And if he has to fall to earth one more time, surely there’ll be nothing left of him. But even if he does fall again, he has to get up. For some unfathomable reason, everyone seems to depend on him. If only he could work out just why…
There is grossness and grot, sickly sweet love, talking books and teachers who regret earlier assessments. Everyone seems to want revenge for deeds real and imagined, and often very, very long ago. There are some long memories in Wychwold. Grudges, grumps, tantrums, betrayals, all hilariously ridiculous. But this is the final instalment and finally the reader will discover: whether Ike really has what it takes to be the hero of this series; whether he finally works out why Mellie has stuck with him all this time; whether the Fey Queen will succeed in destroying all of Grimmery; and whether, at the end of it all, everything is Ike’s fault, as so many seem convinced it is. Ike has learned a lot over the previous novels, but his self-belief is still easily shaken. Highly recommended for upper primary readers and beyond.
The Calamitous Queen, Ian Irvine
Omnibus Books 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.