Sunday 17 March 2013

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES (books 1-5) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date read: March 15th 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Adventure, Paranormal, Childrens
Source: Bought (re-read)

(Description source: Goodreads)

They chronicle the adventures of the Grace children, twins Simon and Jared and their older sister Mallory, after they move into Spiderwick Estate and discover a world of faeries that they never knew existed.


The Spiderwick Chronicles are quite difficult to review seperately from each other but to me are worth reading just for some light-hearted entertainment.

The Field Guide introduces us to the three Grace siblings, Mallory, Jared and Simon and their mother at a time when life is anything but easy.
With their parents divorce they are forced to move into their old Aunt Lucinda's house which is full of dust and creaks to give a generally spooky atmosphere.
When they discover a secret library which contains pictures and secret information about mystical cretaures titled "Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You", which Jared immediately takes a great interest in.
Once disturbing the forgotten room and removing what looks to be a rats nest from inside a wall, things start to go horribly wrong. After closly reading the Field Guide, Jared has an idea about what the problem is and they go about fixing their mistakes.
Not long after a close ally is revealled to them they also discover that the world of the Field Guide may not be as ficticious as they had initially thought.
During the following four books the relationship between the siblings and the unseen world around them continues to blossom, as they discover and interact with creatures they only dreamed of before.
The Grace siblings are dragged further into a world that is not only dark but that has consumed many others, including their Uncle Arthur.
They meet Goblins, Hobgoblins, Dwarves, Dragons and many other creatures that most people have only ever heard of.
I re-read these books because when I first read them (many years ago) I loved them and was instantly entranced in the world alongside Malory, Jared and Simon. This time is was not much different, it is aimed at younger teens but I still found them to be an enjoyable and fun read.
The imagination shown in the depth of places and ideas is superb and the imagery in the way places are described is simply magic!
The worlds do not seem to clash, which I find irritating in some novels, and it seemed quite realistic and possible to me that a world could exist like this one that we are unaware of.
It really encourages the reader to be imaginative and makes it very easy so slip into the story alongside the characters.
It is quite a slow plot progression, the first book is basically just introducing the concepts and characters, and it it understandable to have it this way due to the target readers.
Despite this I would also rather have the small books compiled into one larger book but it does then open up 5 different, interesting ideas for cover art.
I don't find any of the characters to have any overly negative aspects that would not otherwise be present in real life, again another positive aspect of these book.
I really only have one small gripe about The Spiderwick Chronicles and that is that while their father is briefly mentioned, it would have been nice to include him a little more and have some kind of resolution between him and Jared.

The little pictures and arkworks throught The Spiderwick Chronicles are really a stroke of genius! The images make the books easier to relate to and lets face it, theyre gorgeous and extremely well drawn.
Tony DiTerlizzi has certainly done a wonderful job on them and they aren't to frequent throughout the books so that instead of being excited to see them it becomes like a picture book. The images enhance the plot line and characters in a subtle and clever way.
For those of you who have already seen the film adaptation of these novels I will simply say that quite a lot has been changed and left out from the books.
I adored the film, with all its magic and adventure, and the books reflect a lot of that but despite that I found the film to be paced quite a bit faster which was a good alteration.
I didn't enjoy some of the changes that they made but see for yourself and read them, they're a nice read anyway.


I rate The Spiderwick Chronicles Three out of Five!

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