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Monday 11 January 2021

Review: A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth

A scintillating debut novel by Francesca Gibbons, A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth, is the first in a middle grade trilogy, that launches an amazing fantasy adventure.

A stunning cast of characters and settings have been created. Incredible reveals add tension and mystery to a fast-paced, multi-layered storyline.

Chris Riddell’s amazing illustrations fuel the imagination, leaving us longing to know what happens next.  

Sisters Imogen and Marie have wild imaginations. They don’t like each other, or their mother’s boyfriends. 

When the girls escape from a boring afternoon with Grandma into the teahouse gardens, they find a door in a giant tree trunk and enter the magical Kingdom of Yaroslav.

Confronted by houses with skulls and bones of skret built into their framework, the girls, filled with fear, are unable to find their way back.

They are taken in by the lonely future king, twelve year old Prince Miro, whose uncle King Drakomor rules in his place. 

But Drakomor is as mysterious as the Kingdom.

The girls don't know what will happen from one moment to the next. Nor does the reader. They meet Andel, the one-eyed clockmaker, creator of the powerful clock of stars, which is tuned to the rhythm of the stars, allowing its motions to foretell the happenings in Yaroslav. The clock plays a pivotal role in the story.

The children become pawns in a continuing game of greed, treachery, lies, murder and deceit within this once harmonious place. Although Miro’s loyalty to his uncle keeps him ignorant of what he really is, the truth remains ugly.

Secret treasures and stones are part of Drakomor’s hoard hidden throughout his castle chambers. The most valuable of these is the Sertze Hora, the heart of the Klenot Mountain which he’d stolen long ago, and whose absence has caused the slow death of the forests and the skret that escaped and now live there. It is this theft that caused the schism which darkens the Kingdom.

Personal growth occurs in the girls as they discover a strength and resilience which otherwise they would never have known on the other side of the door. They are also transformed by the quest they undertake up the fierce mountain to the Maudree Kral, leader of the skret, and the only one who can guide them to the door of return.

But there is an extraordinary bargaining price for this information. Can it be paid?

Title: A Clock of Stars
Author: Francesca Gibbons
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Publisher: Harper Collins, $ 29.99
Publication Date: 7 October 2020
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780008355036
For ages: 8+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction