Wednesday, March 30, 2011

REVIEW: Mortlock by Jon Mayhew

The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave.

I kind of knew as soon as I saw this cover that I would love Mortlock by Jon Mayhew, and I really, really did. I think it's the crows. Mortlock has a great atmosphere and excitement about it. It's very creepy with great characters and I'm really glad that I had the chance to read it. Thank you to Emma at Bloomsbury for sending this one out for me!

Mortlock is set in Victorian London years after three men go searching for a mysterious flower with special power. They know as soon as they see it, however, that it will bring trouble. These three men make a pact then and there to leave and never come back for the flower. Years after this experience, and we have two children, Josie and Alfie who are caught up in the aftermath of those three explorers. Only in the last minutes of Josie's life is she told by her guardian that she has a brother and is given a hint about the power and effect of this flower and the havoc that it will cause on her and Alfie's life.

I really loved Josie and Alfie. Josie has been raised by the Great Cardomom, as a knife thrower in his stage act. When three terrifying ladies barge into their house and take them hostage, Josie must go on a danger hunt for answers. Armed with only a few knives and some scraps of information about her guardian and the flower, Josie and her brother, raised as an undertaker's assistant, must fight for their own survival.

Being chased by three scary ghouls, Josie and Alfie go on a very suspenseful journey through the streets of London, through marshy swamps, a creepy old circus and the most shudder-inducing, crow-infested old mansion. I was on the edge of my seat for so much of the book. The pace and the suspence is done beautifully, as is the atmosphere of it all. There were quite a few instances of gore which could put some readers off, but I loved it. The whole novel just put a smile on my face as my heartbeat quickened.

I loved the feistiness of Josie. Something about the visual of her throwing knives at deadly crows as they're on the run just really made me cheer. And the brother/sister relationship is fantastic as well. Josie and Alfie seem to loathe each other's company at the start, but their very different personality types seem to fit together nicely. I loved all the secrets and the way in which the mystery unfolds for the brother and sister pair.

What a great book, I really loved it and I recommend it!


  1. I bought this one last week, so hope to read it soon. I love the black along the page edges!

  2. I loved this book and wasn't expecting to at all!

  3. Viv - Yeah, I really loved that as well. It's great when a book is so nicely put together :)

    Lyndsey - Didn't you? I knew I'd love it. It was perfect timing, I was right in the mood for it!


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