(We're going to take a reader's suggestion (thanks!) and start reviewing books for the preteen crowd too. Here's our first review.) "It was over coffee and biscuits that Grandma Ives offered to return Cameron’s father from the dead."
Okay, who can resist and is not be intrigued by a first line like that?
When his dad was found dead by the beach, Cameron went to live with his grandma, whom he's met maybe once or twice. Before they get to know each other, she offers to resurrect his dad.
Grandma Ives is not your ordinary grandmother type. There is nothing warm and fuzzy about her, but she does know about The Daemon Parallel, a hidden world that co-exists with Edinburgh, and she knows spells that can raise the dead. That's just what Cameron needs. He misses his dad, and he wants to figure out the cause of his mysterious death, but first, we'll have to see if Cameron has inherited the special powers that will enable him to travel back and forth between the two worlds, to deal with the daemons, and to help his grandma get the right ingredients to complete the resurrection spell.
This impressive debut novel has just the right blend of action, mystery, adventure, magic, supernatural, humour and character development. Most of all, I was surprised at how "right sounding" the voice of Cameron is. The things he said are exactly the kinds of stuff I'd expect a kid to say. Despite the title and perhaps the cover, the book doesn't rely on just grossness or goriness to carry the story, even though you will encounter many daemons in the book, and underneath all the fantastical elements is a boy who is trying to figure out if he's doing the right thing or not. And what a gutsy ending! Not going to spoil it for you, but throughout the book, I was thinking, is the author really going to do that? No way. It's just a red herring I'm sure. No, wait, he's really going there. Nice.