Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School by Kim Newman

When Amy Thomsett’s mother finds her sleeping on the ceiling (again) she is packed off to Drearcliff Grange School. A foreboding house on a cliff edge and every bit suiting its name, what Amy first takes to be an ordinary boarding school for girls soon surpasses all her expectations. 

The girls at Drearcliff School are special, one way or another. Some are the daughters of criminal masterminds, powerful leaders and other prominent figures. Some girls have their own special Abilities, which the Headmistress wants to encourage and hone, but these same powers make those special girls and outcast amongst others. 

Amy soon makes a close group of friends within her dorm, and when one of them is abducted by a mysterious hooded gang, she founds The Moth Club; a secret masked society tasked with rescuing their friend. But the abduction is just the start of the adventure for the Moth Club. When a new arrival at the school changes everything at Drearcliff, it is down to Amy and her clutch of special students to save the day. 

This book is jam packed with content. You get to meet pretty much every student at the school, sometimes getting a glimpse of their back story and/or powers, there are all the staff members and also the history of the school. Of course there is day to day school life, on top of all the stranger-than-usual goings on and there is even an insight into the future which I especially liked. 

Amy is a great lead character and the reader sees the school mostly through her experiences. There are plenty of supporting characters to like and dislike accordingly. I loved the idea of the girls with Abilities (think an odd version of X-Men) with mind reading, life draining and amazing memory as just a few examples. There is even a wolf girl and also a fish-like girl from Innsmouth! 

I likened the school and this story as a crazy hybrid of St. Trinians, Harry Potter and Watchmen mash up which I really hope makes sense if you get a chance to read this novel. This story is fantastically creative, bursting with supernatural references and mind swirling action. Not predictable in the slightest, there is just so much to get your teeth into with this story and by the end, you’ll feel like you were actually there! 

I believe this is a standalone novel but with a ridiculous amount of potential and endless possibilities for further storylines, I really hope there is eventually more to come from Drearcliff.  Weird and wonderful with some unforgettable characters in an even more striking setting, The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School is an amazing novel for horror and supernatural readers. 

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