Thursday 21 July 2016

The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison

Alice Silver had never met anyone who had killed before, but that changed on the day Dorothy Grimes walked past the window of Alice's favourite coffee shop. 

Published by Simon and Schuster on 28th July 2016
Pages -352
What happens when a tale with real magic, that was supposed to be finished, never was? This is a story about one of those stories . . . 
Midge loves riddles, his cat, Twitch, and ‒ most of all ‒ stories. Especially because he’s grown up being read to by his sister Alice, a brilliant writer.
When Alice goes missing and a talking cat turns up in her bedroom, Midge searches Alice’s stories for a clue. Soon he discovers that her secret book, The Museum of Unfinished Stories, is much more than just a story. In fact, he finds two of its characters wandering around town.
But every tale has its villains ‒ and with them leaping off the page, Midge, Gypsy and Piper must use all their wits and cunning to work out how the story ends and find Alice. If they fail, a more sinister finale threatens them all...
I may be completely biased, because I love everything Michelle Harrison writes. Ever since reading The Thirteen Treasures, I've hailed Michelle as the new Enid Blyton and I still stand by my words. She weaves fantasy with ease into a contemporary setting. 
This book is pure magic! I love that there is a book within the book! This tale brings to life, Alice's characters from her stories. Some are lovely but many are menacing and out to get what they want. For them to return to the story, Alice must finish writing it. When Alice disappears, Midge, Alice's younger brother, struggles to search for and save his sister. He must help her to return the characters back to the fictional world. 
The characters effortlessly spill out of the story into real life. I thought it was excellent how they believed themselves to be alive and really felt their shock  and fear on realising they were just characters from a story. I loved Tabitha, the talking cat, who loves a good cup of tea.
There is a real darkness to this tale, which is very much a signature of Michelle Harrison's style of writing. Her characters are never sweet or innocent. Dorothy Grimes is seriously scary!
The prose is intricately plotted and bursting with descriptive passages. I am in awe of Michelle's plotting abilities. 
The book reminded me how much I loved Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. If you are a fan of Inkheart, you will really enjoy this book.  

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