Curse of the Dream Witch

Publisher: Faber Childrens

Review

The kingdom of Bellumen is suffering under the Great Dread.  Since the King and Queen sought the help of the Dream Witch to give them a child, the children of the townspeople have been disappearing. Now, the witch won’t rest until she has claimed the heart of the Princess – and with few defences left, and growing unrest as more children are snatched, the witch’s threat seems to be growing closer by the day.

When the Queen proposes a plan to move Princess Olivia into safe hiding with the repulsive Prince Leo of Pretonia, she has to agree. But when a strange boy appears in the Princess’s room, and a friendly mouse seems to speak with a familiar voice, she realises that nothing is what it seems under the terrible curse of the Dream Witch.

This wonderfully enticing premise is laid out in a fantastic opening sequence, which firmly establishes this story within the familiar landscape of fairytale kingdoms and dark, enchanted forests. The writing is slick and taut, and the rattling pace will keep even reluctant readers engaged. There are laughs, shocks and an extra-yucky helping of imagery which could be a little intense for some younger readers. Set in a richly-imagined world that is closer to the strange magic of Studio Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle or Spirited Away than it is to a Disney movie, this is a dark and delicious tale that will delight readers who are looking for something more than a humdrum ‘Happy Ever After’.

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