Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

The Secret of Platform 13
by Eva Ibbotson

Copyright: 1994 
Print Length: 243 pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books (September 4, 2008)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

From Amazon:

Under Platform13 at Kings Cross Station there is a secret door that leads to a magical island..... It appears only once every nine years. And when it opens, four mysterious figures step into the streets of London. A wizard, an ogre, a fey and a young hag have come to find the prince of their kingdom, stolen as a baby nine years before. But the prince has become a horrible rich boy called Raymond Trottle who doesn't understand magic and is determined not to be rescued.

So, obligatory statement - Eva Ibbotson was a published author before Harry Potter existed, and this book in particular was published three years before the first Harry Potter book.  Kings Cross is just apparently that kind of a place. 

In the past I have really enjoyed Which Witch? and Island of the Aunt (originally/UK Monster Mission) - four claw books each - so recently one night, during a bout of insomnia, I got The Secret of Platform 13 on my Kindle. I am having a hard time trying to rate it though - especially without spoilers to explain why I was rather unhappy this time out.

Suffice it to say, it was painfully obvious what happened. I think even an unsubtle kid would figure it out pretty quickly, so it was not necessary to beat the reader over the head with clues. The tension, I know, was in waiting for the characters in the book to figure it out, and to make sure that it happened in both a timely fashion and without the, um, kidnapper interfering. And that probably would have been fine, except that the wrap-up at the end was deeply and painfully unsatisfying! The way the book concluded was as if figuring out the truth was the main point, but the reader knew the truth almost from the get go!  Therefore we (being presumptuous and speaking for other readers - especially those like my kids who want the 'bad guys to get theirs') wanted a resolution that involved some kind of comeuppance for the nasty characters we had to cope with for the course of the book - at it all either happened off stage or not at all!   ARGH!!!!!!   Very, very unhappy!!!!!

So - like I said - a struggle to rate.  It wasn't bad, but it was also unsatisfying.  I guess that plops it into three claw territory.  I won't be re-reading it like I have the others, but I also didn't want to hurl my Kindle across the room.  It hasn't even put me off Ibbotson and I will be reading more of her books. I just really wanted more out of this one.

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