Tuesday 3 October 2023

Book Review: The Lonely Lighthouse of Elston-Fright by Reece Carter

 The Lonely Lighthouse of Elston-Fright


Reece Carter

illustrated by Simon Howe

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 3rd October 2023
Series: Elston-Fright #2
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy (8-12)
Pages: 352
RRP: $17.99AU Paperback 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

Review: The Lonely Lighthouse of Elston-Fright

The Lonely Lighthouse of Elston-Fright is every bit as good as A Girl Called Corpse.

The town of Elston-Fright doesn't believe in magic anymore. It has been so long that everyone has forgotten it exists. Everyone except Flip, who lives in the lighthouse with his grandmother. Flip knows he has to find the light and return it to the lighthouse to restore its lost magic but there is something stirring in the air and Flip feels it is something bad.

The Lonely Lighthouse of Elston-Fright is book two featuring Corpse (a girl made of wax and seaweed), Girl (a ghost) and Flip (a young boy). The story reads well as a standalone and includes some backstory but you will want to read book one, A Girl called Corpse. It's the book that endeared me to Corpse.

Flip has a greater role in this book as the three friends face a new danger in the Poltergusts (malevolent winds) and embark on a mission to find the light.

Reece Carter has come through with another highly imaginative tale rich in danger, suspense and magical battles. Both Flip and Corpse learn some truths about their family's past and that friendship is the strongest magic of all.

The addition of a new magical creature, the seafoam sprites added another level of fantastical appeal. But are they friend or foe?

Told through the alternating voice of Corpse and Flip we see both characters embrace bravery and true friendship. Girl seems to be a side character in this book so I do hope she gets a bit more purpose in book three.
There is a subtle lesson included about doing the right thing even if it is a difficult choice.
The story ends on a breath-holding cliff hanger leaving me eager for the next book.
The wonderful black and white sketched illustrations by Simon Howe add a visual dimension  to the story.
Content: Allusion to child murder. "..the Merchant handed me to the Witches like I was nothing. In return, she asked them to take my heart and encase it inside a layer of silver." 

About the author

Some of Reece Carter's earliest memories involve books. His love for stories - especially those filled with whimsy, magic and a little bit of weirdness - began as a child growing up in rural Western Australia. There was an unfortunate lack of witches and ghosts on his family farm, and so Reece had to find them in books instead. It wasn't until high school, though, that Reece thought to try his hand at writing his own stories. He loved it, and never looked back. Reece now lives in Sydney.


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