Pure Dead Wicked

Pure Dead Wicked

4.5 2
by Debi Gliori

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Just when the Strega-Borgias think it’s safe to relax in their ancestral castle . . . it isn’t.
First their roof collapses, forcing them into the Auchenlochtermuchty Arms–the only local hotel that will accomodate three mythical beasts and one crocodile. Then Titus accidentally creates 500 tiny naked pink clones. And 500 tiny naked pink


Just when the Strega-Borgias think it’s safe to relax in their ancestral castle . . . it isn’t.
First their roof collapses, forcing them into the Auchenlochtermuchty Arms–the only local hotel that will accomodate three mythical beasts and one crocodile. Then Titus accidentally creates 500 tiny naked pink clones. And 500 tiny naked pink clones are not easy to manage. But not surprisingly, this isn’t the biggest Strega-Borgia dilemma–there’s also a few evil contractors plotting to destroy their home forever. Perhaps the miniature kilted warriors arising from the spilled magic potion can help. . . .

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this follow-up to Pure Dead Magic, the Strega-Borgia family must take up residence in the Auchenlochtermuchty Arms after their roof collapses, and the reconstruction crew conspires to destroy rather than repair their home. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In this sequel to Pure Dead Magic, the Strega Borgia clan is found once again inhabiting a murky terrain somewhere between Harry Potter and the Addams Family. They are plagued not just by their bizarre pets and their constantly feuding children, but by the kind of sheer bad luck that Lemony Snicket fans have grown to cherish. Inept adults make the expected contribution to a tale that threatens at times to spin out of control. A roof collapse and a cloning accident are only the beginning of this saga that tends toward slapstick humor and mild grossness—both of which ought to sit fine with the intended middle grade audience. Some lovely turns of phrase lie waiting for the perceptive reader around unexpected corners. Still, on the whole, Gliori's book is a rapid read and easy on the concentration. It's mind candy for those inclined toward witchcraft and wizardry. 2002, Knopf,
— Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Titus, 12; his sister Pandora, 10; and baby Damp are back in this sequel to Pure Dead Magic (Knopf, 2001). This time, their beloved ancestral home is under siege by an unscrupulous roofer and his real-estate developer friends. The Strega-Borgias are forced to move to the Auchenlochtermuchty Arms while the workman proceeds to divest their home of its roof tiles and deposit them in a nearby loch. In the end, but with much going on in between, StregaSchloss is saved, and the family has their home back. Gliori has created another fantasy romp, complete with computer-generated clones of Titus and Pandora, evil businessmen bent on developing suburban Scotland, and a dragon laying an egg. While the characters are stock, the story will make children roar with laughter. There is the prerequisite humor for this age group including a rather unclean yeti and baby Damp's preoccupation with flushing the mail down the toilet. For those who appreciated the first book, this installment will not disappoint.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Plainly channeling Roald Dahl and Charles Addams through her own uniquely wacky sense of humor, Gliori dishes up as a successor to Pure Dead Magic (2001) an equally barbed, sidesplitting farce. After being nearly pulped by pieces of slate falling from the roof of their ancient Scottish manor, the Strega-Borgia clan-including its nonhuman retainers, some of whom are mythological-finds itself ruinously expensive temporary lodgings in the nearby town of Auchenlochtermuchty, while slimy building contractor Vincent Bella-Vista, under the guise of effecting repairs, removes the roof entirely to further a nefarious scheme. Meanwhile, young Titus Strega-Borgia's plan to clone himself and his lippy sister Pandora with a process gleaned from the Internet goes badly astray, leaving him with not two hyperactive homunculi but 500, none of them toilet-trained. Relentlessly refusing readers a chance to draw breath, the author piles complication atop catastrophe (nearly each of which involves vast amounts of physical destruction), and while bringing everything 'round right in the end dispatches Bella-Vista, along with three equally squalid associates, in spectacular fashion. The body count may be high-especially considering that four out of five of the rapidly aging little clones die before the conscience-stricken Strega-Borgia sibs can get the survivors into cryogenic storage next to six-times-great grandmother Strega-Nonna-but that's just one wild exaggeration among many in this pedal-to-the-metal page turner. (Fiction. 11-13)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Pure Dead Series
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Random House
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File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Elementary Magic

Much later, Titus was to remark that this must have been the only time in history when a dirty diaper could be said to have saved several lives.

On that memorable morning, unaware of the terrible danger that hung over their heads, the Strega-Borgia family had been attempting to squash themselves into the interior of their long-suffering family car. Their shopping trip to the nearby village of Auchenlochtermuchty was long overdue, and consequently, all members of the family of two adults and three children were vociferous in their demands that they should not be left behind at home. Titus needed a computer magazine, Pandora had to buy something to eradicate a minuscule crop of pimples that had erupted on her chin, their baby sister, Damp, required more diapers, and their parents, Signor and Signora Strega-Borgia, had to go to the bank and do boring adult stuff.

As was usual with any planned expedition between StregaSchloss and Auchenlochtermuchty, the process of leaving the house was taking longer than anticipated. Boots and coats had to be retrieved from the cloakroom, Damp had to be supplied with a clean diaper and given a ration of crackers to stave off starvation, and Titus needed to render himself deaf to everything going on around him by the simple expedient of clamping a pair of headphones round his head and pressing the play button on his Walkman.

Titus threw himself into the car seat next to Damp, turned up the volume, and settled back with a smile. From outside the car, where she stood with her parents as they went through the ritual of finding checkbooks and car keys, Pandora noted with some satisfaction that Titus's expression was changing rapidly to one of disgust.

"PHWOARRR!" he bawled, competing with the deafening sounds inside his headphones. "DAMP! THAT'S DISGUSTING!"

He struggled with his seat belt, desperate to put as much distance as possible between himself and Damp's odious diaper. Signor Strega-Borgia groaned, unbuckling his baby daughter and plucking her out of her car seat. Just at the precise moment that both Damp and Titus exited the car, the unthinkable happened.

A trio of vast and ancient roof slates that had clung to the topmost turret of StregaSchloss for six hundred years, held in place by little more than a clump of moss, broke free of their moorings and began their downward descent. Gathering momentum by the second, they barreled down the steep incline of the roof.

It all happened so quickly that initially the family were convinced that, for reasons unknown, an invisible bomber had dropped its payload directly onto their car. One minute they were standing around the unfortunate vehicle, happily slandering Damp's diaper, the next they were lying groaning on the rose-quartz drive, wondering what had hit them.

"What on earth?" Signor Strega-Borgia picked himself and Damp off the ground and ran to Signora Strega-Borgia to check that she was unharmed.

"Titus? Pan? Are you all right? Whatever happened?" Signora Strega-Borgia rubbed dirt off her clothes and stared at the car in disbelief.

"WHAT A WRECK!" yelled Titus, still muffled in his headphones. "LOOK AT IT! IT'S TOTALLY TRASH--OWW!"

"There," said Pandora with satisfaction. "That should help."

"Did you have to do that?" moaned Titus, holding his ears and glaring at his sister. His headphones dangled from Pandora's hands.

Signor Strega-Borgia was walking slowly round the wreckage of his car, surveying it from various angles, simultaneously horrified at the damage and amazed at the family's lucky escape. Embedded in the roof of the car, at a forty-five-degree angle to the battered paintwork, were three huge slabs of slate.

"We could all have been killed," said Signor Strega-Borgia reproachfully. He squinted up at the turreted roof of StregaSchloss, attempting to locate the origin of this attempt on his life. Beside him, Signora Strega-Borgia sighed. This was proving to be the most expensive morning's shopping thus far. To their list of items to be purchased in Auchenlochtermuchty, they now had to add one roof and one family car.

"We'll have to get it fixed," decided Signor Strega-Borgia. "The whole roof looks like it's in danger of raining down on top of our heads."

The family automatically took several hasty steps backward, away from the danger zone. Titus tripped over a low stone wall and fell backward into a herbaceous border with a dismayed howl. Ignoring her son completely, Signora Strega-Borgia addressed her husband. "But that will cost a fortune, Luciano. Look, before we call in the experts, why don't you let me see if I can mend it. I'm sure there was something I learnt at college that would do the trick."

"Darling, I hardly think that your diploma in Primary Magic is a sufficient qualif--" He halted abruptly, alerted by the glacial expression crossing his wife's face.

Throwing her black pashmina dramatically across her shoulders, Signora Strega-Borgia stalked away from her husband across the rose quartz until she stood at the head of the steps leading down to the old croquet lawn. "I know you think I'm a half-baked witch, incapable, incompetent"--she choked back a sob--"inconsequential."

The front door opened and Mrs. Flora McLachlan, nanny to Titus, Pandora, and Damp, emerged into the December chill, shivering as she surveyed the family and their ex-car. "Now, dear," she admonished, gazing fondly at Signora Strega-Borgia, "there's no need to be like that. We all know that you're a very fine witch, indeed. . . ."

"Do we?" muttered Pandora.

"I don't think so," whispered Titus, crawling out of the herbaceous border and coming to stand next to his sister. Beside them, Signor Strega-Borgia sighed. If only Baci wasn't so prickly. He hadn't meant to insult her. Not really. Just perhaps to remind her that six months into a seven-year degree course in Advanced Magic might mean that her skills weren't exactly up to speed--yet.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Debi Gliori has written and illustrated numerous picture books. Pure Dead Magic was her first novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Pure Dead Wicked 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After I read Pure Dead Magic I was doing for a book report I remembered the comment on the cover'Harry Potter meets Limony Snicket in a high-tech setting.'A comment made by Booklist.I had to say that they were very right.Even though Joanna is my favorite writer Debi came very close.Now that I see she still is writing I congradulate her. Now I think dare I say it she is up by or even pass J.K.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this well-written sequel to Debi Glori's Pure Dead Magic, the Strega-Borgias are forced to evaculate to a nearby hotel when their roof falls in. They encounter many strange characters, who are all in a ploy to buy the property. Titus and Pandora accidently create 500 mini-clones of themselves, who cause havoc and chaos. Interesting sequel. The original is better.