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Tuesday 27 March 2012

Daphne and The Mysterious Girls Secret Bathroom Society by Robert Shields


I needed a real change of genre, and a bit of witchcraft seemed to be a good way to go (and I loved the title!) – not the sort of thing I usually read, but I like to broaden my horizons, and only a few pages into the story, I believed that I was going to be pleasantly surprised, despite already having come across a number of editorial blips.

Daphne is relentlessly taunted by fellow schoolgirl, Vi, and her three sheep-like followers.  An unfortunate incident concerning some rather comical underwear leads to a Waterloo showdown – in the school bathroom – and a revelation that everyone, but Daphne, appears to be a witch.  And so, Daphne embarks on a steep learning curve in a very special kind of witchcraft – one based on physics rather than a hubble-bubble-toil-and-trouble-type witchcraft.

This was fundamentally an entertaining story.  The cast – main characters and supporting roles – were diverse and complimented each other well.  Daphne and Vi made well-matched ‘foes’.  A peppering of normality was provided by the usual 14-year-old rivalries amongst young female teenage peers, along with some schoolboy crushes, and there was some intrigue provided by the mystery of Daphne and her sister’s mother’s death.  On the whole, the contents of the package were promising.  There is most certainly room for a sequel or two.

However, the story raced along just a little too fast – more introduction to and explanation of the witches’ abilities were needed, and the science and history of this branch of witchcraft, although imaginatively and cleverly conceived, were somewhat convoluted and a little hard to follow.  Disappointingly, the editorial inadequacies just got worse and worse, so if the author has any sequels planned, I do hope very much he addresses this.  By the time I got to the possible eventuality that Daphne and her friends might by ‘burned at the steak’, I was more than just a little exasperated.  If nothing else, they would certainly have smelt tasty.

1 comment:

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