Book Review: The Curse of Time by M. J Mallon

Book Reviews copy

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Synopsis: On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that 

 

has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and

 

despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

Author: M.J Mallon

Title: The Curse of Time (Bloodstone, Bk 1)

Publisher: Kyrosmagica Publishing

Date: 2017

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I discovered reviewing YA/MG books are challenging: I have to take myself back to 13-year-old me and what I would have liked at the time.

I think The Curse of Time had several such components: a mysterious/magical cat, a girl trapped in a mirror and lots of magical and mystical situations that can’t be explained in rational terms. There is also the thrill of having someone look at you in a romantic light and the supposed unbreakable bonds of friendship that teenage girls can create.

I also think there were a few things I wouldn’t have appreciated. On a couple of occasions, the characters swear. While this is fine if the book is being marketed at YA, I think for a middle-grade age, the language was possible too strong. It only happened on a few occasions, but it was jolting to the reader – I wasn’t expecting it.

“Thanks for the compliment. Posh weirdos are far more interesting than idiots,” replied Ryder.

Ameline is a headstrong and determined fifteen-year-old, forced to accept there is supernatural events linked with her life. Ameline is certainly full of teenage angst; her room is a mess, she doesn’t clear up after herself and her mother is the worst for nagging at her to clean up. Some of Ameline’s actions felt a bit extreme. I know I’ve become an adult when I agree with the nagging mother rather than the protagonist: I didn’t feel there was anything untoward about a mother asking her daughter to tidy up, yet it is the end of the world for Ameline.

There were a few too many magical occurrences in this book for me to get my head around and I wasn’t sure whether a younger audience would get lost. Esme is a girl trapped in a mirror after self-harming. A cat was described in a way I was expecting something supernatural but nothing happened. There was a vanishing cottage and a father who mysteriously aged years after going missing for two. Then there were crystals: something about crystals that I didn’t entirely understand.

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But what threw me off more was Ameline’s acceptance of these things. I was expecting more of a reaction when her paintbrushes come alive, or her aunt has a casual conversation with her about curses without any prior involvement in the magical elements. Ameline just didn’t react, which made me feel the reader didn’t go on the journey with her in the same way.

Ryder is a classic `bad boy` with an unnatural twist that is quite unnerving, even reading it as an adult. Kyle is a sweetheart – it’s no surprise he is likened to Lancelot. Jade appears to be a backstabbing cow of a friend, but who knows what magic has been worked on her. The rest of Ameline’s friends at least seem normal.

This book is full of magic for those who want to be swept away. There also appears to be a few contradictions in regards to the relationships and so many mysterious events I don’t know what influenced which by the end!

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