Monday, 14 April 2014

Reviews: Sesame Seade 2 and 3 by Clementine Beauvais and Sarah Horne

One of my favourite discoveries of the year so far has been the sensational MG series Sesame Seade! These reviews were previously published at The Bookbag.

If you like the sound of these two, and you're in the UK or Ireland, remember you can win BOTH - and a copy of the first in the trilogy as well - by tweeting a mystery, real-life or fictional, that you'd like to see Sesame solve using the hashtag #SesameSolves. Thanks to Hodder for providing this fabulous prize - closing date is Wednesday 16th at 11:59 UK time, so hurry!

Title: Sesame Seade: Gargoyles Gone AWOL

Author: Clementine Beauvais, with illustrations from Sarah Horne

Obtained: Borrowed from Daphne at Winged Reviews - thank you!

Genre: MG adventure

Highly Recommended

Out Now

Sesame Seade is in trouble. So much trouble that our intrepid heroine has already started planning her epitaph. Sesame Seade, sensational supersleuth. Sufficiently scolded, seldom scared. Even with danger around every corner, her stunning voice can't be silenced. But what is the danger lurking in the university? Is it to do with the disappearing gargoyles, or is there something even more worrying going on?

I was hooked on this series from the first few pages of book 1, as mentioned in my review of that novel. It's a fun light read with clever plots, wonderful characters, and an excellent narrator. I really like the back-up Sesame's friends Gemma and Toby provide for her, while her relationship with Jeremy Hopkins, who perhaps didn't quite realise what he was letting himself in for when he first asked Sesame to investigate for his UniGossip website, is hilarious. Additionally, there's a really nasty - and memorable - villain here again, while the relationship Sesame has with her parents develops well. Her mother, in particular, is becoming an intriguing character.

As good as Clementine Beauvais's writing is, though - and she's definitely an author to watch out for with a wonderful vocabulary and a great voice - Sarah Horne's illustrations are just as important a part of the book. I particularly loved the first chapter's picture of Sesame's hornet terrorising a room full of children, but all of them are gorgeous - to the point where I'm planning on buying a print for my wall!

Overall this is up there as one of my favourite series for younger readers at the moment, and I know from the amount of talking we do about it whenever I get together with friends who love children's books that there are an awful lot of adults enjoying it as well! Highly recommended.

Title: Sesame Seade: Scam on the Cam

Author: Clementine Beauvais, with illustrations from Sarah Horne

Obtained: Review copy from Hodder Children's Books - thank you!

Genre: MG adventure

Highly Recommended

Out Now

Something strange is happening on or near the river. Finding a pirates' chest is surely likely to be the weirdest thing that happens to most people in an average week, but not Sesame, Toby and Gemma. As well as the possibility of pirates, there's a chance that nefarious goings-on are responsible for the university rowing team dropping like flies. Can Sesame save the day again?

If you've read the first two Sesame Seade books, you know what you're getting by now. Awesome action, clever characterisation, precise plotting and amazing artwork! (I seem to have caught Sesame's own tendency for alliteration there.)

(If you haven't read the first two Sesame books, then why are you reading this review? Head back to Sleuth on Skates - I think I've avoided spoilers here, but you can't be too careful!)

I'm not sure whether Sesame is slightly slower on the uptake here than in her previous two adventures or whether it's just that it's an especially twisty mystery which means even someone who has a brain with as many connections as there are stars in the universe needs a bit of time to find the right answer, but it's definitely the toughest one yet for her to solve. It also features the best ending of the trilogy so far - and while I believe we're supposedly stopping at a trilogy, there's no way Hodder can be cruel enough to leave us on the cliffhanger that is the climax to this one, is there? (In fairness - especially since everyone knows that I can't stand actual cliffhangers - this mystery does get wrapped up properly, but there's an intriguing last page which paints a character in a very different light, and I need a fourth book to find out more about this!)

As always, the pictures from Sarah Horne are some of the most gorgeous black and white illustrations around - I can't decide on whether my favourite is Sesame spying on two people trying to break open the chest, or Toby organising a frog race; both are packed with humour. Oh, but then there's the crowd on the day of the boat race itself. It's definitely too hard to choose a favourite!

Highly recommended as a great read, and the three books so far would make a perfect present for any young reader!

Also, I was lucky enough to interview both Clementine Beauvais and Sarah Horne last week. Check it out here!

No comments:

Post a Comment