Tales from Schwartzgarten: Osbert the Avenger

(3 reviews with an average rating of 4 out of 5)

Publisher: Orchard Books

Review

When precocious youngster Osbert Brinkhoff is accepted at Schwartgarten’s Institute for gifted children, and befriends the beautiful and equally talented Isabella, it appears that all of his dreams are coming true. But the Institute is committed to coldness, cruelty and control.

When Osbert’s genius threatens the principal’s power over the town, he is ungraciously expelled and finds his life swiftly unravelling. Exiled, destitute and prone to brooding in graveyards, the young Brinkoff begins to nurse vengeful dreams. If he cannot use his genius for good, perhaps he can use it to avenge the tutors that denied him greatness...

Soon the city is under the shadow of the Schwatrzgarten Slayer, a gruesomely inventive murderer who stalks Institute staff. But what is the true price of revenge? Can Osbert continue adding to his body count while protecting his family from suspicion? Will Isabella’s love stay true when Osbert’s notoriety begins to overshadow her own achievements?

Reading like a child’s version of Sweeney Todd, Osbert the Avenger is a macabre tale full of ghoulish and gruesome escapades. Bookish scholar-turned-assassin Osbert is a frightening but appealing anti-hero; yet the novel may prove too gruesome for sensitive readers. However fans of Lemony Snicket and Edward Gorey will delight in this sinister story.

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