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Jimmy Threepwood and the Veil of Darkness by Rich Pitman

Jimmy Threepwood doesn’t have a happy childhood. He loves his father but he is generally unappreciated by his mother and has few friends.

Around his eleventh birthday strange things begin to happen to him. He is followed by crows, gains an odd scar in a Bunsen burner accident and there is an ominous black storm cloud slowly inching closer to his house. Then on his birthday, he suddenly learns that his unhappy childhood was part of a deal brokered with The Gatekeeper of life and death before he was born, and now he must leave everything he knows to go on a dangerous quest.

Jimmy is thrown together with three other chosen children who all bear the same strange mark, where they all learn they have special abilities and must train together in order to carry out an age old prophecy. They learn spells and combat, and how to summon strange creatures to help them.

The world Jimmy ends up in is full of its own legends and mythology which I really enjoyed. There are also a host of interesting characters and creatures including giants, warrior toads, goblins and sorcerers, as well as the scary vision of the grim reaper  Gatekeeper himself.

I liked how the other world crept into Jimmy’s normal life, like the sinister storm cloud hanging over his house. There’s lots of action on this jam-packed adventure, that fans of Harry Potter are sure to love. A thrilling tale of light and dark, fantastical and intriguing, this is a great start to an imaginative fantasy series.

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