Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. So here’s the thing. I read a Dutch book, but since I run this blog in English, I’ll review this book in English on my blog and post a Dutch review on Goodreads. I know it’s double the work, but I’d like non Dutchies to be able to read this review as well. Oh and remember as always, spoilers.
About the book:
- Published: April 2011 by J.H. Leopold
- Children’s novel
- ISBN: 9025857817 (ISBN13: 9789025857813)
- edition language: Dutch
- Author: Paul van Loon
Synopsis according to Goodreads (and translated by myself, since the synopsis is in Dutch):
Thomas, Joost, their brother Maurits and twin sisters Emma and Lisa may look like ordinary children… until Joost precedes them, trough the gateway into the magical city of Raveleijn (city of the ravens). To their surprise they turn into horsemen and there’s a reason for that.
According to ancient prophecies they have an important quest. They need to free Raveleijn and its inhabitants from their tyrant: count Olaf Grafhart (Grave Heart). The five children have each other; they have their horses and special weapons, and enough courage to battle the monstrous creatures they find on their path. But how did they get their magical powers they need to conquest Olaf Grafhart? And what about the terrible and unknown horror still waiting for them?
First of all, let me state that Paul van Loon is one of my favourite Dutch children’s book authors ever. He wrote a lot of books about vampires and children horror stories, or as he like to call it a combination between humour and horror. He and fellow authors that wrote in the same genre even founded the horror club for children, with its own newspaper and a yearly club day where you could meet all the authors in real life, cosplay contests and everything. Needless to say I joined that club when I was about 13 years old. I still have all the books and even a couple of them signed as well, I actually met Paul van Loon a couple of times.
Second, this book is specially written for the Efteling, an amusement park in the Netherlands. A couple of years ago Paul van Loon and the people of the Efteling worked together to design a new amusement show, this probably because Paul van Loon lives in that area of the Netherlands (and the same area I’m from as well). The amusement show tells the story as is described in the book and it was even turned into a TV show for children as well. (now according to inside information, the show prior to the one now on display (2013) in the Efteling wasn’t that good, so they mixed things up a bit and the result you can see for yourself in the Efteling).
As I said before, Paul van Loon is one of my favourite children’s book authors and I must say I really enjoyed reading this book, even if it’s for children. Although it’s a bit different from what I’m used to reading from Paul van Loon.
The book is really modern, the children depicted in the book use a lot of modern catchphrases as well and it isn’t as sinister as his other books. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good story.
Although the pace seems high in the book and the story unravels fast, keep in mind this is a children’s book. The chapters are short, the children funny and curious, and the epic battle between good and evil really well portrayed. The eldest child needs to make difficult choices by either rescuing the townspeople of Raveleijn or choose the safety of his own siblings and it’s that kind of dilemma, at least I think so, what makes it all the more real.
Also I must say, the book itself is beautiful. Hardcover edition, sturdy pages and beautiful artwork inside the book. It’s a shame it’s not mentioned who the artist is who did the drawings for the book, only the Efteling is mentioned.
And I do find it too bad that, as far as I know, the book isn’t translated in other languages, and you can only buy it in Dutch. It’s a great way for tourists to get to know Paul van Loon as a writer and take that story home with you for your kids.
Where to buy the book:
First of all, you can buy the book in the Efteling itself. They also have a web shop where you can order it. And as it turns out, Amazon does have the book as well, just keep in mind it is not a translated version, the book is only available in Dutch!
I rate this book 8 out of 10. And that’s because of the whole experience, seeing the show in the Efteling first, then reading the book, and also because the edition is amazingly done with the drawings and everything. The story was very entertaining and for a children’s book enough excitement and a fast pace to keeps things interesting.
PS: link to the Dutch review on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/725763540