The House on Falling Star Hill

The House on Falling Star Hill

5.0 4
by Michael Molloy, David Frankland

The break-out literary novel from Michael Molloy, who has achieved great commercial success with his WITCH TRADE and TIME WITCHES books.

When Tim moves to his grandparent's village, everything seems mysterious. Why are there no flowers anywhere? Who is the weeping woman wandering through midnight streets? And what is the secret of the empty house on Falling Star


The break-out literary novel from Michael Molloy, who has achieved great commercial success with his WITCH TRADE and TIME WITCHES books.

When Tim moves to his grandparent's village, everything seems mysterious. Why are there no flowers anywhere? Who is the weeping woman wandering through midnight streets? And what is the secret of the empty house on Falling Star Hill? The mystery deepens when Tim meets Sarre, a girl from another world. She leads Tim to the place she comes from--a magical, old-fashioned land connected to our own by falling stars, where flowers are guarded like treasures. It is there that all secrets will be revealed. And it is there that Tim will find his destiny.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Molloy (The Witch Trade) packs this world-next-door fantasy with ideas and vivid imagery, but fails to give readers enough reason to care about Tallis, the parallel universe he imagines as connected to ours through holes punched in the cosmic fabric by falling stars. Tim Swift is spending the summer with his grandparents in the eccentric British town of Enton, where the locals consider it bad luck to plant flowers (yet his grandparents run a nursery, making their living strictly off tourists). Along comes a mysterious man named Hunter, wanting to buy every flower available and plant it on his property. Taken into his employ, Tim meets an odd girl named Sarre and a cadre of dwarf-like men called Treggers. Hunter leads the motley crew through a portal into Tallis, which, unfortunately, feels cobbled together and arbitrary: flowers are currency, wild children hunt adults with poison-tipped spears, a "Killing Wind" carries airborne death, "starways" allow travelers to move through time, but only in increments of a month, and so on. There is a quest, but it is not disclosed until halfway into the book, by which time many readers may have lost interest. Ages 9-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Tim Swift is spending the summer with his grandparents and their flower nursery in the quaint British village of Enton. It turns out quainter and odder than expected when the flowers he plants around the house on Falling Star Hill insist on mysteriously disappearing. Soon Tim himself disappears down the hole hidden in the barn—along with his small dog and his employer Hunter. He emerges in the flower-less world of Tallis and finds himself thick in the midst of medieval fantasy-style chicanery. Many adventures follow, but the pacing is slow, the plot derivative (C. S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, and Scott's Ivanhoe for starters,) there is little characterization, and there are too many throwaways. A short list: How did the "wild children" become wild, and why doesn't Tim wonder about it? What happens when Sarre spends her vigil in the Chanters Temple? How did the missing prince suddenly turn up in the evil mines without even the villain knowing his whereabouts? Molloy is a former journalist and newspaper editor of some note in Great Britain. It is a pity he's chosen to write down to his new audience. 2004, The Chicken House/Scholastic, Ages 8 to 12.
—Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Tim Swift arrives in his grandparents' sleepy English village and immediately senses that things are not quite right. The gardens are bare of flowers and a grief-stricken woman roams the town lamenting her missing child. Legend has it that the manor house is haunted. Long ago, shortly after falling stars blasted holes in the property, first flowers, and then people began disappearing. Locals blamed the little men that some claimed they saw. While helping Hunter, the taciturn stranger who owns the house, Tim discovers the truth when he, Hunter, and a mysterious girl with telepathic powers leap into a parallel world and begin a familiar fantasy quest. They must defeat an evil Duke and his powerful Warlock from taking over this medieval realm and restore the High King to power. This novel contains some inventive touches-petrified trees that have floating leaves, exquisite jeweled flowers, enormous riding pigs, giant boys, flying carriages, and toxic "killing" winds. It is also derivative of many other fantasies in which characters are imprisoned underground while mining for some precious material and people's minds are taken over by magic. Some instances strain credibility, such as Tim's amazing ability to shoot a slingshot with deadly accuracy the first time he tries it. This is a fun read but it lacks the fully realized characterizations and the substantive plots of similarly themed works like Garth Nix's "Abhorsen" trilogy (HarperCollins), Tamora Pierce's "Protector of the Small" series (Random), and Diana Wynne Jones's "Dark Lord of Derkholm" series (HarperCollins).-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Long on inventive details, if short on internal logic, this sweeping tale, set largely in an alternate world whose inhabitants ride oversized pigs and birds rather than horses, colorfully opens a (probable) new series from the author of Witch Trade (2001) and its sequels. Tim and his little dog Josh fall through a "starway" into the land of Tallis, where they join efforts to stymie an evil Great Duke's takeover plot. Much traveling atop pigs and battle cockerels ensues, punctuated by encounters with a bad warlock, benign enchantresses called "chanters," little people, gypsy-like Gurneys, clouds of deadly spores, immense flying trees, and more, until events wind up to a climactic duel. Molloy shoehorns in superfluous subplots, leaves such mysteries as how plants in Tallis could bear fruits but no flowers unexplained, and leans heavily on arbitrary magic and other contrivances to keep the plot moving. But move it does, as he takes his young adventurer through plenty of dangerous situations, gives him loyal companions of both sexes, saves some revelations for the end, and finally brings him safely home. For some readers, that may be enough. (Fiction. 11-13)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.42(h) x 1.27(d)
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
hippychickGM More than 1 year ago
its my favorite book. i love it because its funny, exciting, thrilling and at some points its its sad and hart stopping. i'v read it a few times but each time is like the first time. i would recomend it to eny one who enjoys a thrilling read. i realy want there to be a film or a second book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is amazing, its a totally enchanting fantasy story -- and its so unique .. like most fantasy book now are take-offs from Harry Potter [whish is a great book] but this book is so different and unique - everything ties together. Its not a very popular book but once you read it, it'll be a favorite i promise!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tim and Sarre are extraordinary characters that take you from rivers to giant trees and castles to battle grounds. This thrilling and adventurous book always has some way to spark curiosity about something in the story! Fantasy lovers will enjoy all 377 pages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i was so engrossed in this wild fantasy, nothing mattered but to see what happened. it took me but two days to finish the book, and to be honest, i was dissapointed that there isn't a sequel. it definately earned the five stars i gave it! I can't wait to read all the other books by Molloy; he's a genius!