Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Miss Penelope Lumley has received her first job after graduating from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. She is to be the governess of three children who reside at the wealthy Ashton manor. Thrilled by her good luck, Penelope endeavors to teach the children everything she can. But she quickly realizes that these children are different than most. Not only are they orphans, they were raised by wolves and are more canine than human. Undaunted, Penelope gets to work. But strange occurrences keep her on her toes: the children do not seem welcome in the house, even though Lord Frederick brought them home himself. And there's something strange living behind the attic wall. Not to mention Penelope's own past is somewhat a mystery, even to her. Perhaps this assignment was more than she bargained for.

I was not impressed by this book. Targeted for grades 5-8, I feel it was just a so-so children's book. It very much imitated The Series of Unfortunate Events in style, specifically with an omniscient narrator that would cut into the story and the use of explaining vocabulary words. As far as the plot went, I was expecting a more spooky tone, which I think the author tried for but didn't reach until the very end, and by then it was too late. I realize this is the first in a series and cliffhangers are necessary, but the book really needed more mystery and intrigue throughout. The pictures were actually my favorite part; they were well-drawn and gave a unique look to the characters.

1 out of 5 stars. I have no intention of continuing the series, and I think there are more interesting, captivating stories for grades 5-8. However, that's not to say that those who like Lemony Snicket's series won't also enjoy this one. Just don't expect as much action.

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