The House at the Edge of Magic – Amy Sparkes

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nine has nothing to her name and pickpockets in odder to keep herself going. One day, her luck changes when she plucks a beautiful ornament from someone else. She doesn’t think much of it, until it grows into a H U G E house full of the most peculiar people.

The house is full of mystery and magic, which Nine finds enchanting. The problem is, it’s kept under a curse and the inhabitants aren’t permitted at all to leave. One which Nine needs to break; she’s the only one. With a story full of dangerous libraries, a wizard who enjoys fluffy slippers and toilets which move around.

Nine is a particularly feisty character who goes into the house with bravery and courage to do what’s right. She knows that helping those in the house might help herself, but she wants to do it for them rather than herself. She has worked hard to keep herself afloat and wants to help everyone else do the same.

I loved the interesting inhabitants who all had their own quirks! I especially loved Flabberghast, the wizarding hopscotch champion. But before I reveal too much about the book, I’m thrilled to host a Q & A with the author: Amy Sparkes!

1) Nine is a really endearing main character. What do you think are her best qualities? 

Nine is great. She’s coming from a background of heartache and hardship, so she’s built a very hard shell around herself. Despite her misdirected anger and snappiness, she’s a remarkable girl. Her resilience, her determination and her courage are incredible. When she decides something, woe betide anyone and anything who gets in her way.  I also love her curiosity: “curiosity was both Nine’s strength and her weakness.”

2) Why do you think magic is so popular in children’s books? 

Magic is so fun – full of endless possibilities and unbounded imagination, so to write about a House overflowing with magic is a wonderful gift. Magic and fantasy is perfect escapism – and yet, we long for it to be true. To hope that perhaps we, too, are just a whisper away from magic. That these adventures could happen to us. And maybe they can…

3) If you could do magic, what would you wish you could do? 

I have always, always wanted to fly. When I was very little, I used to be a fairy and try and give my friends flying lessons jumping off a wall at school and my Nan flying lessons in the back garden (without jumping off a wall). When I was older, I progressed to becoming a witch and would fly with the aid of a broomstick ‘borrowed’ from my dad’s garage. 

For some strange reason, in all these attempts, I never seemed to get very far off the ground. And if I did, it wasn’t very long before the ground caught up with me. So, when I was even older, I tried skydiving – and that definitely took a little longer for the ground to catch up with me. It was one of the most fun experiences of my life. But it would be sooooooo much easier, if I could just fly whenever, however, so I think for everyone’s safety, it had better be that.  

4) I loved Flabberghast! Who is your favourite character in the house?

Argh! I can’t choose. I can’t choose! Flabberghast…bless him. There are times I want to make him a cup of the best tea in all the realms and get him to take a few deep breaths. His enthusiasm and exasperation are tremendous fun to write, as are the arguments between him and Nine. Well, actually the arguments between him and almost everyone who meets him…

Eric is just the most gorgeous troll in the world and I usually want to melt when I write him. He would be such a lovely friend to have, although you might want to skip the invite to lunch.

And I love the passion and daredevilry of Dr Spoon. For someone so small, his presence is huge. He always livens up a scene and is also great fun to write. 

Do I have to choose? Ummm…

Nope, I can’t choose. I love them all dearly. Can I say someone outside the House instead? He is one of my favourites in the whole book because he is absolutely amazing, and an unsung hero: the librarian Mr Downes. Without him doing what he does and being who he is, things would be very, very different and I suspect Nine wouldn’t even have made it as far as the House without him. He’s a star. A big shout-out to librarians everywhere. 

5) What inspired your idea for the story? 

The book title came to me first several years ago, but I didn’t feel I had the time to dedicate to it, so I put it on hold. I know it’s one of those annoying things that writers sometimes say, but the title really did just drop into my brain as a fully-formed sentence ‘The House At The Edge of Magic’. I had no idea where or what it was, but I knew that it intrigued me. The story built from there. 

6) This was a really fantastic book to escape to! If you could escape to any book-world, which would it be? 

Thank you! There are so many excellent book-worlds. I’d like to take a grand travelling tour (flying, of course). If I really had to choose, I’d probably go to Wonderland. I like the chaos there and I’d probably fit in well, perhaps spreading a little chaos and mischief of my own. 

Thank you very much! 

No, thank you Amy for your brilliant answers. I hope you all loved hearing more about House at the Edge of Magic; it’s such a lovely escapism book that lets you forget about your day for a while, and get lost in the world of magic.

Like the sound of this book? Buy it here: https://amzn.to/35XxJ5Z

Emily x

📚 Book gifted by publisher.

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