10/10 Fantasy Book Review ~ Fans of Hare’s previous books in The Dragonsdome Chronicles will be delighted with The Sorcerer’s Glen. It bares all the trademarks of classic Hare—brave female characters, hilarious side-kicks and Hare’s characteristic wit (What’s a vegetarian and how do you cook them?). There is one big difference with this book—it is set in our world. Fear not, this doesn’t mean fantastical realms are long-gone . . . but Hare presents our world as a different kind of magical.
In the opening pages we are introduced to the charming village of Thistleburr. If you live in a city—you’re going to wish you lived here. If you live in a village—you’re going to wish you lived here. If you live in a magical realm—you’re going to wish you lived here. Seemingly lifted right off a chocolate box, Thistleburr is all small cafés, village greens and beautifully named places (Ratchet and Hatchet Solicitors!); but by far, the one place I wished was real was The Chocolate Cauldron. Hare tells us right away that this is an ‘old-fashioned sweet shop that conjured up confectionary of every imaginable shape, size and description’. You won’t even be half-way through the book before you’re wishing toffee wands were sold in the supermarket.
More than just village life, Hare gives us the modern world, and presents the modern world as a modern magic (the internet, nanotechnology, biometric scans) that sits by the side of (and often clashes with) the deeper, older magic of the Fifth Dimension. This is where fans of the Dragonsdome Chronicles will see familiar favourites the SDS, goblins, and dragons… but as I said before, this book is different. Hare takes dragons to a whole new level, too. Sea Dragons, that’s all I’m saying. Wait for the Sea Dragons.
All this goes on around our main character, Lucy Pemberton, a young girl learning to deal with magical powers (in our world, a world that has, seemingly relegated such power to folklore and fairy-tales) as she faces the Black Raven. There are many beautiful passages where Lucy ‘connects’ to the Fifth Dimension—but my favorite element of her magic, was her ability to connect with the animals. The various animal totems in this book (can mine be the Wooly Mammoth?) show us the author’s great compassion for, and understanding of, animals.
Lucy has a permanent companion in her brother Oliver, so as with the Dragonsdome Chronicles, you’d be mistaken for thinking this was a book for only the girls. There is enough rugby, mountain-bike mishaps and beasties to please any boy reading.
In short, this is a book for everyone. Want to enter Hare’s world—pick up this book? You don’t have to have read the Dragonsdome Chronicles to understand this (but they are brilliant—so you really should read them!). The final difference with this book was Hare’s fantastic illustrations—saved only for the front cover of the previous novels, The Sorcerer’s Glen is filled with them—the work of both Hare and local primary school children.
Overall: This book gets 5 toffee-wands (out of five!).