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This seriously over-the-top, gothic romp is sure to ...
This seriously over-the-top, gothic romp is sure to have readers clamoring for the next Strega-Borgia adventure.
When their father is kidnapped and danger looms, the Strega-Borgia children, their mysterious new nanny, and a giant tarantula use magic and actual trips through the Internet to bring peace to their Scottish castle.
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted July 2, 2014
Posted February 27, 2012
Debi Gliori's novel Pure Dead Magic first caught my attention as a library page for two simple reasons: the unique title and the rather enticing plaid background of the cover (which also features a neat illustration by Glin Dibley). Before embarking on Pure Dead Magic, a work of longer fiction, Gliori had written and illustrated picture books for children. I have seen this book, the first in a trilogy, shelved both with children's and young adult books. I'm more inclined to call it a children's book although I also have no problem imagining teens who would enjoy it. That said, let's talk about what happens between the covers of this book.
Twelve-year-old Titus Strega-Borgia and his ten-year-old sister Pandora do not live in what most people would term a normal household. Things are strange at StregaSchloss, the family's house near the Scottish Highlands, even before their father Luciano mysteriously disappears. Dealing with an unwieldy household while completing her degree in advanced witchcraft, Baci Strega-Borgia is overextended. Enter Mrs. Flora McLachlan who tries to bring some order to the household along with fries that are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, and the occasional lullaby for Damp, the youngest of the Strega-Borgia children.
But order doesn't reign for very long at StregaSchloss before things get out of hand. Thirteen baby rats go missing, followed soon after by Damp. Then the gangster in the rabbit suit shows up and everything gets even messier.
If any of the plot brought to mind the Addams family, it's not a coincidence. I have no proof for this, but feel strongly that the Strega-Borgia's might be distant cousins of Morticia and Gomez. Gliori pulls off a blend of humor and the macabre, with the odd man-eating monster thrown in, admirably and much in the style so common to the Addams family movie.
Needless to say this novel does require a willing suspension of disbelief, but once you get into the story it's really fun. Gliori's prose is straightforward and broken up into manageable chapters (usually four or so pages at a time) which make it a good pick for a reluctant reader who might not want to read a long chapter in one sitting.
The characters are also excellent. In addition to the family and staff, several mythical beasts and one hungry crocodile also add a lot of dimension to the book. Pure Dead Magic is one of those books that, if you can tolerate some fantastical elements, has something for everyone: a variety of characters, excitement, suspense, and humor. A well-rounded book for anyone looking for a story that will leave them smiling.
Posted December 24, 2009
Chaotic is one word to really describe this book. Although it was fun to read what they all go through I think this book would have made a very interesting movie (should it ever go that way). Think of The Addams Family and their kookiness, mixed with a bit of style of Lemony Snicket and add in a bit of Mary Poppins and you get Pure Dead Magic. I enjoyed reading this book! it was a fun light read and there were particular parts of the book that actually got me laughing out loud. It is quirky and kooky and you could say even rather strange at first to read but once you get engaged into the storyline then the reading experience is quite fun.
The plot was certainly engaging, and by reading the first page it actually takes you into the book head first so be prepared. I liked it, yet on the other hand, I found it a little too engaging. It just seems like there's just way too much going on and you have a hard time figuring out what's happening, and it also feels like you need to take a real big deep breath right after each chapter. Sometimes it helps if there's a small part in the book where everything just take a breather, and the action takes a break while we as readers sort things out with the storyline. The characters are likable and fun, no need for development, or any heavy duty stuff here. Like mentioned before, it's a light read to take a break from the heavy duty ones.
Overall, a fast, light read, with a lot of room left at the end for several more books ahead. I'll be picking them up whenever I need the urge to laugh or when I need to take a break from the heavier deeper books. Sometimes it's good to read childrens novels just to take a break from the serious books and to enjoy the quirky kooky funny ones as well.
Posted October 30, 2005
This book was very interesting and exciting to read. The more I got into the story the more I didn't want to put it down. Every single page was something fun. I would highly recommend this book to any kids who like humorous and magical books blended into one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2003
Pure Dead Magic is a fantasy book that is set in the future. The story also has magic, mystical creatures such as griffins and dragons, and high tech devices such as cryogenic chambers. The two main characters are kids named Titus and Pandora who are try to find their long lost father. They live in a place called Strega-Scloss. They will have to find their father by themselves because their mother is preoccupied with advanced witchcraft lessons. Their infant sister named Damp was accidentally shrunk and lost on the worldwide web. Their father is kidnapped by his evil step-brother and now he is trapped in a burning house about to turn into a crisp. The step-brother also hired a group of gangsters to kill everyone in Strega-Scloss. How will Titus and Pandora save themselves and their father? My favorite part of Pure Dead Magic was when the dragon named Ffup released his Digestive overload on a gangster. It was gross, funny and it helped annihilate the gangster threat attacking Strega-Scloss. Overall I thought the book was average. I did not like Pure Dead Magic because it was confusing to read. The story was going back and forth from Strega-Scloss to the burning house the father is in. I also thought that most of the characters names were hard to pronounce and to remember. I liked the story because it combined science, technology, and mystical creatures. The author was very descriptive and had a unique writing style.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 24, 2003
When I was at Barnes and Nobles, I happened to come across this book on one of the shelves. The cover picture caught my eye and as I picked it up, I noticed the little praises on the side. One of them said 'J.K. Rowling meets Lemony Snicket in a hight-tech setting,' Since it listed my two FAVORITE authors (Now Debi Gliori is added to the list)I just had to read it. The back summary also caught my interest, so needlest to say, I had to buy it. When I read it, the story was even better than I had expected. It was very funny and I loved how magic was used in a present setting; I felt it gave the book a more modern edge that I like in books (Nothing old at all!). I thought the characters were very realistic and funny and I loved how their whole future depending on one nanny. With the added bonus of talking mythical beasts, who wouldn't want to read this book??Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2003
This book is about 3 siblings whose father stormed out of the house in anger, and got kidnapped by his greedy half-brother. The family doesnt know hes kidnapped, and the mother(who is going to magic school) hires a nanny whose actually has magical powers. As if this is any better, the baby sister Damp gets emailed(coincedentally to her dad). You should read this book to find wat happens afterwards. This is a really nice story becoz i like adventure.. and magic. Its a mix of Lemony Snicket, and Harry Potter. And i like both of thoz books. Dis book is da bomb!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 31, 2002
I loved this book. It was funny and the character's were easy to like. The idea's were very creative and original. This isn't usually the type of book I read but I'm very glad I did. It had me laughing from start to finish with Titus and Pandora's original outlooks and mistakes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2003
Take a large Caldrin. Put in Harry Potter, A series of unfortunate Events, Fokelore, Laughs, And the Mafia and stir! Now you Have Pure Dead Magic. A book that keeps you Laughing and grimaceing at every turn!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2003
Pure Dead Magic was a really great book. It's like taking Harry Potter,Lemony Snicket, and T*Witches all in one! One of my friends told me about this book even though I bought it first. It probably wasn't the best book I've ever read,but it was definately worth the money 2 get my copy f this book. This book is about your average family, except they know magic. There is a mom,dad,4 pets (but very abnormal pets), a brother and sister and another infant named Damp. Somehow I feel that Damp is the main character,although she isn't. But the father got very mad at his family and stormed out of the house,only to be put in prison! Then Pandora (the daughter) wants to shrink her brother but ends up shrinking Damp instead. Then Pandora sneezes and poor baby Damp is in an email! Some parts were a little gros,but this was good. You'll have 2 get the bok 2 find out what happens next!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 10, 2001
The weird Strega-Borgia family lives in their large (and very strange) home, known as StregaSchloss, in the Scottish Highlands. There's Titus, who's twelve and is obsessed with computers, his ten-year-old sister Pandora, who has a pet rat, and their baby sister Damp, who is... well, a baby. And of course their parents: their mom, a witch-in-training, and their father, currently in the captivity of his evil half-brother, as well as the cook (who actually can't cook for her life), the butler, and the nanny. Not to mention the various beasts and creatures that also make their home at StregaSchloss. Of course, the REAL trouble starts when Pandora dabbles in magic, shrinks Damp, and sends her over the Internet. This unusual, hilarious, and VERY WEIRD book is great for readers who like humorous fantasy books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 18, 2010
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Posted December 20, 2009
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