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Book Review of 'A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth' by Francesca Gibbons

I am a homemaker, mother and a wife. I have a passion for books. I always like to know about different books and love to read them.

About the Author and the Book

Francesca Gibbons is a children’s author and a freelance copywriter who studied English at the University of Bristol. She is best known for her trilogy ‘A Clock of Stars’ especially her debut novel of this trilogy ‘The Shadow Moth’. She got the idea for this book when she was a child. The gardens she visited at that time, and her interest in monsters inspired her to write this book.

The Shadow Moth was first published in Great Britain in October 2020 by the publisher HarperCollins. The illustrator of this book is Chris Riddell OBE. He is also an author, artist, and political cartoonist. He has illustrated many books including that of J.K Rowling. He has also won many awards and remained Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate 2015-2017.

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Storyline

It is the story of two sisters – Imogen and Marie. Imogen is the older one and is eleven years old. The sisters live with their single mother and live a very normal life. But things change one day when Imogen followed a shadow moth and discovers a secret door in the bark of a tree. Her sister also follows her and they both enter a new world.

As the door closes behind them, there is no way back. It is a medieval fantasy world. They reach a castle where they meet Miro, an orphan prince of the kingdom. Miro saves them from skrets, the mountain monsters. Miro’s parents were killed by skrets. Miro’s uncle, Drakomor, is the King who has a special love for precious stones. Drakomor is going to marry Anneshka, who is not very nice.

Both Imogen and Marie stay with Miro in the castle without the knowledge of his uncle. Miro promises to help them find the secret door which is a way back to their home. However, this is not easy as the moth knows the secret door. But that is not all, the moths are friends of skrets.

Now, how the children find the shadow moth and the skrets, whose help they take, and what problems Anneshka will create, is all this action-packed story is about.

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Evaluation

It is a very detailed timeless middle-grade fantasy. The illustrations are excellent and give you an idea as to how the things are like. The front cover of the book is amazing. It is enjoyable to read with some of its twists and turns. The story is thrilling, fast, adventurous, and imaginative. The book is lengthy but easy to read as it has short manageable chapters. The author has cleverly dealt with loss, sacrifice, and death. There is a bit of humour also in the story. The fantasy world containing a castle, treehouses, caves in the mountains, etc., is truly awesome.

The author has shown a beautiful bond between the sisters. Sometimes they have petty fights while at other times they care for each other. There is a big element of friendship in the story. The friendship of the girls with Miro is a witness to that.

Most of the characters in this book are loveable but out of all of them, the character of Marie is the most adorable. She is shown very sensible at times. The character of Imogen is good but does get irritating in some places. The names of some of the characters are, however, not memorable. Overall, it is a true children’s adventure story and they can get lost in it. They also may look forward to read the next book of the trilogy.

The book is for children who like books like Chronicles of Narnia and those who like books with some action.

For parents – There is a bit of violence in the story. The book is more appropriate for children above 10 years of age though some of the younger children may also like it.

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