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Hey there readers, it's Kat again! Two weeks went by in a hectic flash, and now we're well into December. Not only is it one of the last Fridays of 2013, but it also just so happens to be Friday the 13th! What an appropriate day for what I've got for you! Today I will talk about Kit Grindstaff's THE FLAME IN THE MIST. This title may seem familiar, as Bonnie interviewed the character Digby and shared a special book excerpt when the book came out earlier this year!
THE FLAME IN THE MIST was an eye-grabber for me because of that cover. It was just one of those books that reached out, stopped me, and made me pick it up, regardless of the fact that it is shelved in the children's section. (I am not a picky girl, no section is a bad section to me.) As you can see, there are creepy trees again! I think it's safe to say that I am a fan of book covers with creepy trees on them. But aside from said creepy trees, there's a castle, and ghost-looking people, and a cloaked main character. I think I personally would have been transfixed by this cover no matter my age. It is another well done cover. There's a wonderful amount of color and awe involved here!
The aforementioned cloaked main character is Jemma, the youngest member of the Agromond family, whom all live in the scary looking castle. The book begins on the day before Jemma's thirteenth birthday, which in her world, is a hugely important birthday for those born with special marks. Jemma is marked, so turning thirteen is a big deal for her, as that is the day marked individuals grow into their magical abilities. Thirteen is the theme here! Like I said, today is the perfect day!
The Agromond family are an old and wicked family who have brought strange and horrible things upon the people of the lands for many years through dark magic. Jemma lived with Nocturna and Nox, along with their twin children Shade and Feo. They would all work dark magic once a week on Mord-day. Shade and Feo would always delight and impress, whilst Jemma would disappoint. She did not want to hurt animals, or use dark magic, and couldn't understand why they needed to do such things.
That night, Jemma discovers that she isn't related to the strange and brutal Agromonds at all. She is slightly relieved, because she never fit in with them, but mostly terrified. What else have they been lying to her about? What have they been hiding for all of these years? Why would they house her, a girl who is so different from them? All of these questions consume her, along with the discovery of a magic stone that is rightfully hers. Unfortunately, that stone was being worn by Nocturna, and she was ready to defend it viciously.
Getting out of the castle itself was an exceptionally well-written nightmare, especially with Nocturna and Nox keeping watch on her. Not to mention their twin children Shade and Feo, whom are also marked and are as cruel as their parents. Jemma ends up locked in the dungeons, after finding out that there are dozens upon dozens of children's skeletons deep within the castle. Yet another mystery to add to the list! One question that was quickly answered for Jemma was why she was there. The Agromonds planned to steal her powers on her thirteenth birthday and use them to unleash even more evil.
With the help of her faithful Rattuses, the kind servant Marsh, and the misunderstood Drudge, Jemma retrieves her stone, and makes a daring escape from the castle. The one thing Jemma is certain about is that she must take her stone and get far, far away, and find her real parents. Jemma must flee the castle away from all she has ever known to stop the evil that her so-called parents would unleash by taking and using her powers.
Getting out of the castle was just the beginning and easy part. Agromond Forest is even scarier and harder to navigate. There are terrible beasts and creatures living in the forest, like the Aukron, not to mention the mist that leads you in circles. Special mention to the Aukron for really scaring me. Jemma encounters the Aukron and its lair, and it was bone-chilling! There are also ghosts creeping around the forest, as well. And to make things even harder, the Agromonds hired hunters to search tirelessly to find her and bring her back to the castle. Will Jemma and the Rattuses make it out of there in one piece? is a question I asked almost every forest chapter.
Even if she makes it out of the forest, she still has to find her parents and the answers to so many questions. Turning thirteen comes with a lot of work to do! At this time, I just want to say that Jemma is a fantastic and brave girl, and a great role model for kids in this reading level and beyond it. She defines brave. She didn't fit in with the Agromonds, yet she didn't change herself to blend in. Even when she thinks she's going to die, she acts and pulls through. Even though the truths she is uncovering are heavy burdens, she pushes on. She experiences the stuff of nightmares and she carries on. She is not afraid to ask for and receive help. Jemma is a wonderful character who has earned a place in my heart and on my bookshelf permanently.
Kit Grindstaff has really mastered suspense and scary, along with imagery. I was whisked away in its pages, in an entirely different world because her writing is so vivid and real. Sometimes I'd forgotten that I was reading a book intended for preteens because of how the plot builds and how scary it could get. If you want the answers to all of the questions above, grab this book! The answers won't disappoint you, I promise! This book was so hard to talk about without giving away too much. It is so well written. THE FLAME IN THE MIST is among the kids books that can be enjoyed by adults as well. I am so glad that I gave it a chance!
That's all for now! I don't want to go on in case of spoilers. I liked this so much that don't want to ruin it for anyone who picks it up. I'll be back and busier than ever with a ton of fun lists! Expect many feels. Happy reading!
Title: THE FLAME IN THE MIST
Author: Kit Grindstaff
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Press / Random House
Fiery-headed Jemma Agromond is not who she thinks she is, and when the secrets and lies behind her life at mist-shrouded Agromond Castle begin to unravel, she finds herself in a chilling race for her life. Ghosts and misfits, a stone and crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient prophecy—all these reveal the truth about Jemma's past and a destiny far greater and more dangerous than she could have imagined in her wildest fantasies. With her telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, and her trusted friend, Digby, Jemma navigates increasingly dark forces, as helpers both seen and unseen, gather. But in the end, it is her own powers that she must bring to light, for only she has the key to defeating the evil ones and fulfilling the prophecy that will bring back the sun and restore peace in Anglavia.
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Sarah J. Maas, and Erin Bowman!) at YAGB!
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