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Goth Girl 3What’s it all about?

Ada Goth has been invited to Brighton by one of her father’s friends to attend World Frock Day. She has twenty guineas to spend on a suitable dress. Will she go for a creation by Jean-Paul Goatee or Lady Vivienne Dashwood? But before she can decide, disaster strikes, her money is missing and she needs to think of something else….

Why did I want to read it?

It’s a special World Book day book. It’s written and illustrated by one of my favourites, Chris Riddell. I have a huge soft spot for Ada having read Ghost of  Mouse and A Fete Worse than Death at the end of last year. They make me giggle with their silly jokes and puns.

What did I think of it?

My only complaint is that Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen is Far Too Short, but still lovely addition to the Goth canon. As well as poking lots of fun at fashion – not just the designers but the esteemed personage of Empress Anna Winter, editor of Brogue (the journal of sensible footwear) – it’s a sweet little story where everything comes right in the end, including the Pirate Queen herself (Tall Nell) having great success with her new piece of confectionery, Brighton Rock. It’s all just great fun and I look forward to the next volume (Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright) with anticipation.

goth-girl-2-978023075982401What’s it all about?

With Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death we are back at Ghastly-Gorm Hall with Ada and her father the cycling poet Lord Goth and the wonderful cast of characters that surround them. This time everyone is getting ready for the annual Full-Moon Fete and:

the Great Ghastly-Gorm Bake Off. Celebrity Cooks are arriving at the hall for the big event, and as usual Maltravers is acting suspiciously. On top of all this, Ada’s elusive lady’s maid Marylebone has a surprising secret and everyone seems to have forgotten Ada’s birthday.

Into all of this comes her father’s dashing friend Lord Whimsy who is more than he at first appears.

Why did I want to read it?

I absolutely adored the previous book in the series (you can read my review of it here) and this is just as good. Again, it’s a beautiful physical object full of wonderful illustrations and tucked into the back another little miniature book, Marylebone’s biography. Just lovely to read.

What did I think of it?

It has all of the strengths of Ghost of a Mouse and builds on that earlier story with the same cast of characters bolstered by some strong new additions. Maltravers is still up to no good, Ada and her father’s relationship has developed and she is learning a great deal from her vampire nanny Lucy Borgia. The delight is as always seeing the real-life models for the chefs in particular (Nigellina Sugarspoon and Heston Harboil, anyone?) and the influences on the plot (Paddington obviously but also a mix of Scarlet Pimpernel and a Regency James Bond). But of course it’s all about he illustrations and the wonderful silliness.

The footnotes this time are webbed and written by a well-travelled Muscovy duck. My favourite relates to Abba the Swedish minotaur, who is naturally depressed and who:

likes pickled herring, knitted jumpers and long walks in the rain. He composes annoyingly catchy songs on his Scandinavian lyre.

Wonderful, and a very fun and unplanned end to my RIP IX reading experience.

91ruyHdsv4L._SL1500_What’s it all about?

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse (or GG&GM as it will henceforth be known) tells the story of Ada, who as the blurb says

lives in Ghastly-Gorm Hall with her father, Lord Goth, lots of servants and at least half a dozen ghosts, but she hasn’t got any friends to explore her enormous creepy house with.

But then she meets a ghost mouse called Ishmael and in trying to discover the circumstances around his untimely death (even for a mouse) she discovers that there is a nefarious plot taking place right under their noses.

Why did I want to read it?

I love Chris Riddell’s work. The physical book (which I’m lucky to have, bought it as a birthday present for myself) is a thing of beauty in its own right, not just because of the copious illustrations but the binding and endpapers and tiny book “Memoirs of a Mouse” tucked inside the back cover. And as a children’s book, even one with a Gothic sensibility, it was going to be way way lighter than most of my other October reads.

What did I think of it?

GG&GM was just totally delightful. I picked it up for some light relief then found I couldn’t put it down because it was just such fun. Ada is a wonderful creation, a girl who looks so much like her mother (Parthenope, a tightrope walker from Thessalonika who had died one night while practising on the roof) that her father needs her to wear huge clumpy boots so he can hear her coming and avoid her (only through his overwhelming sadness, which has led him to the view that children should be heard but not seen).

There’s a wonderful cast of supporting characters – vampire governess, indoor gamekeeper, the Cabbage children (Emily, a talented artist, and William, who has chameleon syndrome and can blend in with his surroundings), various servants and of course Ishmael who is sad and sweet and gets the whole plot rolling. Everyone has wonderful pseudo-Dickensian names and a range of interesting skills.

It’s really good story, and is also very funny in a silly way with lots of puns and nonsense names for things and invented creatures. There are footnotes with useful information, provided by

the severed foot of a famous writer who lost the aforementioned foot at the Battle of Baden-Baden-Wurttemberg-Baden

My favourite footnote (and they’re all very amusing) gives some context to Hamish, the Shetland Centaur:

Shetland centaurs are just one of a number of mythical creatures living in Scotland. The Glasgow cyclops and the Edinburgh gorgon are well known, but the Arbroath smokie, a fire-breathing mermaid, is more elusive.

That made me giggle a great deal, and if it made you smile too then you will love this book as much as I did. A real treat, and I already have my hands on the sequel.

This was my seventh read for RIP IX (and possibly my favourite so far but shh, don’t tell the others)

TheDangerousAlphabetNeil49688_fSo you have two children with a pet gazelle (like you do) and a treasure map, who go off exploring behind their father’s back and find a whole world underneath the city full of monsters and pirates and creepiness. Will they find what they are looking for? Do the 26 lines of the story actually stick to the alphabet as we know it, or do things go a little awry?

This is a great alphabet book, full of wonderfully creepy illustrations with lots of detail to pore over at your leisure. It’s huge fun and I for one became very fond of that gazelle.

Oh and look out for the creatures with deep sea diving helmets for heads…..

Another read for the Dream King Challenge.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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January 2023