Review Blog

Jun 23 2008

The Other Book by Philip Womack

cover image

Bloomsbury, London. 2008
(Age 10 14 years) Philip Womack explores the supernatural in The Other Book, a new fantasy for young readers. At boarding school in modern-day England, twelve year old Edward Pollock discovers an old book in the school library; it is cursed and waiting for an opportunity to weld an evil magic after being lost for three hundred years.

After discovering the book, Edward gradually becomes more bewildered and realises he must control some dark power which tries to overcome him at every turn. His strength of character, and sense of duty and trust are constantly tested. With the help of a knight who appears mysteriously, Edward learns that the future of his world depends on his ability to withstand the evil power at work.

Edward's story is a series of exciting confrontations with those who wish to take the book back from this young 'carrier'. Lady Anne, Mrs Phipps, Dr Spawforth and Reverend Smallwood oppose all moves by Edward to restore its power. These are great characters and the story rolls along very well. There is plenty of action as Edward's courage is constantly tested; it seems that there is no one he can trust.

For a first novel Womack successfully lures the reader into his imagined world, and the array of characters weave a great story. Numerous editorial errors are annoying and the language style is clumsy at times but The Other Book has a sound sense of place and time and is an absorbing read. This book is recommended for younger readers, however, often the line which divides reality and the supernatural becomes blurred and so some images are disturbing.
Julie Wells

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