Review Blog

Jun 28 2011

Ministry of Pandemonium by Chris Westwood

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Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2011. ISBN: 9781847801906.
Ministry of Pandemonium is similar to the film The Sixth Sense (2000), as the main protagonist, Ben Harvester, begins to discover that he can 'see dead people.' Set in London, Ben and mother have just moved into a new area and both struggling on the meager waitressing wages and tips that her mother receives. The story begins in the summer before Ben is due to start at a new school, when he develops an interest of visiting cemeteries to draw headstones whilst pondering the lives and deaths of the people that they represent. Soon after Ben meets a homeless person, Mr October, on the street who later turns out to many guises and is constantly his appearance. Mr October is part of a group of spirit people who work to ensure the all dead people are successfully guided on to their next life. Ben has been especially recruited to help them with this task, which includes recording on a type-writer every death that occurs. Meanwhile, Ben has is overcoming common teenage difficulties of being labeled 'weird' at his new school and has found new friends through his talent in art. To complicate Ben's life further, his mum's sister has just died of cancer, his mother is now ill and he has begun to find out information the reason for his father's disappearance when he was younger.
The Ministry of Pandemonium
has many story lines occurring at once, both in the worlds of the living and the dead, and in some ways reflects the types of scenarios faced by some young adolescents. The concepts of the death Register registered other supernatural themes are mostly original and clever. This book would be recommended for 12 to 14 year old students interested in fantasy books with paranormal themes.
Adam Fitzgerald

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