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Skeleton Keys: The Haunting of Luna Moon

Skeleton Keys: The Haunting of Luna Moon

Guy Bass
Stripes Publishing
ISBN: 9781788951043


Skeleton Keys: The Haunting of Luna Moon is the second book in the series featuring the brilliant creation, Skeleton Keys, a 'dashing, key-fingered skeleton, with a thousand adventures under his belt and a thousand more to come!' (even if he does say so himself). Mr Keys used to be an IF (Imaginary Friend) until, one day, he became 'unimaginary'. He now travels the world (and beyond), assisting children who are having, shall we say, 'difficulties' with their IFs.



While the first book in the series (Skeleton Keys: The Unimaginary Friend) was set in the modern day, this new book has a wonderfully gothic, haunted house vibe, with echoes of the Addams Family mixed with a country house murder-mystery (think Skeleton Keys as a supernatural Poirot).



In this instance, the child in trouble is Luna Moon. Luna has no IF of her own but is, she believes, being haunted by her dead grandfather's, the egg-shaped magical monstrosity Mr Malarkey. Not long after Old Man Moon's funeral, Luna's Aunt Summer suddenly goes missing, but only Luna believes that she has become trapped in a painting rather than just wandered off somewhere. The rest of the family (relentlessly cheerful, big huggers) are in denial that anything is the matter.



From here on out, the deliciously spooky sequences and ghastly goings-on rapidly multiply, including, but not limited to, time travel, alternate universes, and VERY aggressive suits of armour. On top of all this, we are treated to not one but two huge plot twists, neither of which I (as a slightly jaded, adult reader) saw coming.



If all this sounds a bit scary and complex for the recommended 7+ readership, never fear - the nail-biting thrills are deftly balanced with humour, and Guy Bass keeps a tight rein on his convoluted plot. Every time the tension threatens to become a bit too much, Mr Keys breaks the 4th wall to talk to the reader and make us laugh.



The Haunting of Luna Moon builds on the superb achievement of the first book and leaves me wanting much more - Skeleton Keys deserves to become a very long running series, that will be adored by children and adults alike.



256 pages / Ages 7-10 years / Reviewed by Carol Carter, school librarian


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