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Posted July 17, 2003
this is a great read!
There's always someone really creepy on the staff of your school -- a weird teacher, a fish-eyed secretary in the Principal's office, even a mysterious janitor -- and this book takes this idea and runs with it. Val's school psychologist is a fake, he's really an evil wizard (he reminds me of Voldemort, he's soo smooth and cruel) but nobody can see this but Val (and her grandmother, who's a wise old witch herself). Parents are always telling their kids not to hang out with this person or that person the parent doesn't approve of, but Val has to somehow keep her own bewitched mother from marrying the evil creep who's pretending to be the school counsellor! So the shoe is on the other foot for a change. I also loved the way some really exotic magic is mixed in -- the flying carpet and the magic fighting kite, and the bad guy's real wife -- he's not just evil, he's trying to be a bigamist too! -- brings in a really sinister and petrifying power from India, the goddess of destruction, Kali herself. Val's magic grandmother is a warrior in her own way, but Val is the heir to that power and has to take on the forces of alien evil on her own in the end. The final battle on the ice rink in the park is fabulous. I always thought ice skating rinks were spooky at night when there's nobody around, and this book makes the most of that spookyness and cranks it up to a 'chilling' pitch (ha ha). Super adventure. You'll never feel the same way about picking up clothes from the dry cleaner's again either, I promise. I love the way ordinary things and people are transformed in this story into mysterious and sometimes really dangerous powers and beings.
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