Putting Malory Towers in Order

I have quite enjoyed ranking books in order of favourites so far, so I thought I would do yet another series. I have already done The Famous Five , The Adventure Series  and The Secret Series.

As there are only 6 books I hope this series will not give me as much trouble as the Famous Five did. Saying that, The Secret Series has only 5 and it took me a long time to decide on my favourite!


SECOND FORM BUT FIRST PLACE

I have chosen Second Form at Malory Towers as my favourite. This is one of the ones I didn’t originally have as a child, but I did borrow it from the library more than once.

Second Form has perhaps a more settled feeling than First Term – as our main character has been at the school a while and has developed friendships. There are some new characters though – this is where we meet Belinda Morris (one of my favourite characters) and also Daphne who is the catalyst for the mystery of the thefts around the school.

The best part of the book has to be the dramatic cliff-top rescue involving Mary-Lou and Daphne. I just love it.


 

FIRST TERM IN SECOND PLACE

Often I have the first book of a series near the top, and so often that’s because that’s where it all starts and when we first meet our new friends, the main characters. Of course that is the case in Malory Towers. We meet Darrell, the heroine, and go with her as she first attends the school and meets all her classmates.

For that reason everything is quite new to us so this one can lack the cosy familiarity of the later books. It does have Darrell at her best/worst as she struggles to control her temper – and I’m sure we are all cheering her on when she slaps Gwendoline. The mystery of Sally is interesting if a little sad as well.


IN THE FIFTH, NO THIRD SIR, THIRD.

In the Fifth was another much-borrowed library book for me – I ended up buying it! I love the whole pantomime story, and the success of Darrell’s script. The Moira and June subplot adds some mystery and darkness, and although Moira is a pain in the behind and often not a nice person we sympathise with her. I know some people also feel sorry for Maureen but I tend to find her boasting and lack of self-awareness annoying enough that she deserves the bit of teasing she got.

(That’s a Monty Python reference in the heading there, in case anyone was puzzled.)


FOURTH PLACE FOR THIRD YEAR

The third year has several interesting stories going on. There’s the new American girl, Zerelda, who is mistaken for a teacher as she is made-up so maturely. Then there’s Bill, always in trouble for thinking of nothing but her horse who ends up ill in the night, and Mavis who sneaks off for a singing competition and ends up in a lot of bother.

I like these stories that look at other girls but they do take us away from Darrell who is a real favourite of mine. The only real Darrell-centric story is how Sally is jealous of Darrell and Alicia’s friendship when she returns from being ill.


UPPER FOURTH, FIFTH PLACE

Upper Fourth has Felicity, Darrell’s younger sister joining the school. This starts a new era if you like, where much of the story-telling is split between the first form and the upper fourth girls. I do like the insights into the lower school – it’s funny how quickly the older girls forget how small they once were themselves – but I can’t stand June and a lot of the lower form stuff features her. On the plus side it means we get to see more tricks again, the upper school being too staid and grown-up to be doing them any more.

Up in the upper fourth, we’ve got new twins – Connie and Ruth who Stef wrote about a while back [link]. They’re an interesting addition as we’ve rarely seen twins at real loggerheads in Blyton’s work before. Also new is Clarissa who gives Gwen a new reason to behave like an absolute idiot.

Poor Darrell has a real set-back here. She had been made head of the upper fourth but she loses this honour after losing her temper with June (the little beast deserved it IMHO!)


LAST PLACE FOR LAST TERM

Darrell’s last term continues the split story-telling of upper and lower school. Amanda and June bring the two threads together but I don’t really like either of these girls! I do enjoy Jo’s story though, her and poor little Deirdre running away together and so on.

And of course this is the last book so it feels very sad at the end when Darrell and Sally have to say good-bye to our beloved Malory Towers and (unless we delve into the continuation books by Pamela Cox) we’ll never be back there again!

So far I have always had the last book of a series in last place – but this time it’s definitely nothing to do with the quality of the writing. This is one of Blyton’s earlier series, and had finished by 1951, so long before her writing declined.


So there we have it, my definitive ranking of the series. What order would you have put them in?

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Monday #247

I’ve just calculated where in the year or coming year we’ll be when we get to Monday post #250, and it will be the first Monday of the New Year, actually New Year’s Day! How strange is that? We’ll have been going for 250 Monday’s worth of blog posts (even if I have been less than adequate lately). Let me break that down for you a little.

That is:

  • 4 years and 8 months of blog posts
    and
  • 1000 blog posts (by our 250th Monday)

If you think about that, its masses and masses of writing, time, and on Fiona’s case massive massive effort, even when she’s been on maternity leave with Brodie (I want to know how on earth that little tinker is 4 months old already!) So I just want to thank her, especially, but also want to thank all those who have written for us over the years, it really has made our job easier and filled our blog with much more delightful content than we could ever have hoped for. If I could reach you all, I’d give you a pat on the back!

Anyway as it stands, here’s our 247th Monday post and whats coming up this week. And Yes, I WILL FINISH THIS BLOG!

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Putting the Secret Series in order

I have already ordered the Famous Five (in four parts! [link]) and the Adventure Series [link] and so now I’m going to do another favourite series of mine, the Secret Series. I’m hoping this will be quite an easy one as there are only five books.


THE SECRET OF THE WINNING BOOK

In the other two series I’ve looked at I knew straight away what my favourite book was, but it’s not so clear here. I have two possibilities – the first book, The Secret Island and the second book, The Secret of Spiggy Holes.

Both books are great but they are very different. The first book is really very unlike the rest – in fact I have seen several people say it doesn’t feel like it even belongs to the same series as the others. The remaining four books have strong similarities to the Adventure Series – a group of kids accidentally stumbling upon some sort of danger or mystery which they then solve or escape from. Island is still fairly adventurous but has more in common with something like Hollow Tree House as it is a planned running-away and survival story. None the less it is a marvellous book – I love reading about how they set up their new home, building willow house and maintaining a farm and crops to sustain themselves. There’s also plenty of drama and excitement from the initial running away and then when the trippers come and the men hunting for them. And of course it has that brilliant happy ending when Jack tears into the hotel to tell the Arnold parents their children are safe and well. I may shed a tear now just thinking about it!

Spiggy Holes is certainly the best mystery of the series for me – I love them discovering the long lost secret passage in Peep-Hole and the way that links up to the other passages connecting the old house to the beach. I also love their ingenuity in signalling to Prince Paul and their plan to rescue him. There is also a strong supporting cast in Miss Dimity (a little like Miss Pepper but perhaps softer) and George (somewhat like Alf/James or Andy of the Adventurous Four). There is a strong sense of danger through the book, despite the children having Miss Dimity around and George’s back up at times. George works well because although he is older and tougher than the children he’s probably only in his mid teens and therefore not quite enough of an adult to take charge and take over the rescue proceedings. He’s just happy to lend some muscle.

So that still leaves me stuck – which one is my favourite?

After rather a lot of very hard thinking I have decided to go with Secret Island, and that’s because of the children’s bravery. No doubt they are brave in Spiggy Holes as they try to rescue a complete stranger, but the bravery in Secret Island is different. All four children are abused and mistreated which can easily lead to feeling worthless and like it is deserved. But they rise above it and choose a new path for themselves – knowing they will have to be entirely self sufficient. They cope admirably with supporting themselves on an island and I think they all learn a lot about themselves along the way. They gain new skills and Nora in particular grows up a lot. Of course it’s ironic that they needn’t have survived as long as they did – but they didn’t know that. To them the threat of being found and returned to a miserable life was totally real. They not only make the best of an often cold and lonely existence 0n the island but they actually flourish.


 

THE BOOK WITH TWO NAMES

My next favourite is The Secret of Killimooin (see journal 58) which has now been renamed The Secret Forest. This is a quite deliciously creepy tale with fearsome robbers appearing in the mist and then disappearing again. Of course the children crack that mystery and find their way into the robbers’ lair, but then the problem becomes getting out again. We have Ranni and Pilescu along for a good part of the ride and they are a great pair of adults – a little like Bill as they do their best to keep the children (particularly Prince Paul) safe but still respect their determination to keep up and be brave.


THE BOOK THAT DOESN’T EXIST ANY MORE

Not my favourite of the series by some way but The Secret Mountain is still a very good book and I can’t stand the fact that this has simply been chopped out of the series altogether. This is at least partially why Killimooin was renamed I think – as without The Secret Mountain all the remaining books follow The Secret of format. Making it The Secret Forest means The Secret Island is not unusual. But of course they could just have left Mountain in place and Killimooin as Killimooin.

Anyway, Mountain can suffer from the ‘rather like another book syndrome’ as it has a lot in common with The Mountain of Adventure (which came later). They both feature hollow mountains with civilisations inside, both have a flat enough top to be used for insane rituals/experiments and both are found after the initial guide abandons the children.

The Secret Mountain is a little less crazy-seeming perhaps, as it is not high-tech at all, rather it involves a (potentially) ancient cult who worship the sun. Mafumu is great throughout, very brave and resourceful and Captain Arnold’s dagger throwing at the end can certainly rival don’t forget Bill Smugs.


AND THAT JUST LEAVES US WITH…

…The Secret of Moon Castle. It’s strange how the last book in the series is often a least-favourite. With some series that’s because the last book came out in the 1960s when Enid Blyton’s writing powers were starting to wane. However Moon Castle is from 1953 (the same year as Five Go Down to the Sea) which is well within her peak writing years. That is, though, ten years after the previous book in the series. Revisiting the Arnolds and Prince Paul after such a long gap could have contributed to it seeming a weaker book.

It has some strong points,  all of Enid Blyton’s books do though! The strange pins and needles the boys suffer are convincingly scary, as is the dark figure in their room one night. The twang-dongs are funny but not overly silly and the Brimmings are mostly decent adversaries (if a tiny bit affected at times). The fact that most of it takes part inside the castle (with several adults round) and only the boys get to go down into the mines (and the creepy abandoned village is not made enough use of) contribute to it being the least favourite for me.

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Monday #246

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November Round Up

Golly gosh, it’s December already! We are so close to Christmas now. But before we get too festive, here’s what we got up to in November.


WHAT I HAVE READ

A fairly short list again, but I don’t have a lot of time for reading as Brodie keeps me on my toes!

  • One Winter’s Day – Christina M. Butler
  • Dr Xargle’s Book of Earth Relations – Jeanne Willis
  • Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage (Frankie Dupont Mysteries #3) – Julie Anne Grasso
  • Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris audiobook
  • The Journals of Rupert Giles (Buffy TV tie-in) – Nancy Holder

I’ve got one on the go also:

  • A Wind in the Door (A Wrinkle in Time #2) – Madeleine L’Engle (audiobook)

WHAT FIONA HAS WATCHED

  • Still Hollyoaks and Only Connect this month (though Only Connect keeps skipping random Fridays?)
  • The new series of Red Dwarf 
  • More of ER – now we’re up to season six, or is it seven?
  • The new series of Stranger Things on Netflix.
  • Some random movies on Netflix like Hotel Transylvania 2 

WHAT FIONA HAS DONE

  • Taken Brodie to more rhyme times, playgroup and quite a few more lunch dates.
  • Most of my Christmas shopping (a lot of it online) – now I’ve just got a few bits to buy and lots of wrapping to do.
  • Watched the fireworks from my back garden, and Brodie watched from the window.
  • Went back and visited my high school one last time before it gets knocked down.
  • Made Brodie a sensory box for him to lie in
  • Bought tickets to see Steps next summer

WHAT STEF HAS READ

I haven’t read very much this month, somehow that thing called life has gotten in the way for me and I’ve been very busy with work, and my new relationship as well as my exercise. So I am just going to give you the books I’m trying to read at the moment.


WHAT STEF HAS WATCHED

I haven’t actually watched much this month either.

  • Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr in it cause I hadn’t seen it before.
  • Russell Howard’s Wonderbox
  • QIXL

WHAT STEF HAS DONE

Stef has mostly been running around after her two jobs, new boyfriend and pokemon Go while trying to maintain the illusion of being calm and in control (Yeah who am I kidding?) I have done a bit of Christmas shopping but not enough. Still got a few weeks to go yet! Fiona doesn’t even have a birthday present, let alone  Christmas, never mind Brodie!!! I am such an unorganised person!

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Blyton’s Winter Reads – A Reblog

It has been about five years since I presented you with the blogs detailing the books that Enid Blyton wrote that could be considered as wintry books. I thought perhaps, as the weather’s taken a turn for the worse, we might be in a mood to curl up with a few of the favourite Blytons and pretend we’re in a far off time.  I’m going to list the books for you and link you to the blogs from five years ago so you can refresh your memories

Blog part 1

The books you’ll be able to find out about which are wintry reads are:

  1. Five Go Adventuring Again
  2. The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage
  3. The Six Bad Boys
  4. The Rat-a-Tat Mystery
  5. The Secret Seven

The full blog can be found here.

Blog part 2

The second blog of wintry reads contains information on:

  1. In the Fifth at Malory Towers
  2. The Christmas Book
  3. The Mystery of the Strange Bundle
  4. Five Get into a Fix
  5. Shock for the Secret Seven

The Christmas book illustrated by Treyer Evans in 1944

So there we are, that’s what’s on the second blog and you can read more about those books here.

Can you think of any wintry books we may have missed? Let us know in the comments.

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A new Blyton movie – The Magic Faraway Tree

This is not quite new news. There has been talk of a Faraway Tree movie for at least a few years now. As far back as 2014 there were reports that the series would be adapted for the big screen, but nothing had been heard since, not until this week.


The 2014 story

The news was exciting as it was more than rumour and reported by many of the big news sources including the BBC and the Guardian.

Neal Street Productions (Sam Mendes’ production company) had, at that point, signed an agreement allowing them to develop the story for this big screen. Pippa Harris, co-founder of Neal Street Productions was quoted as being captivated by The Faraway Tree books as a child.

That was all the information available, there was no writer or director attached to the project and there was no suggestion of a release date either.


The 2017 update

When I first saw the news article proclaiming a movie version of the Faraway Tree I admit I rolled my eyes and thought ‘that old story again’ but then I saw the date.

I had seen the 2014 news repeatedly over the past few years whenever someone stumbled on it for the first time and excitedly shared it, not realising that it had been published a year or two prior without any hint of development.

The difference this time is that there are a few more details.

Neal Street Productions are still behind the project but they are working with Studiocanal now. There is also a writer named – Simon Farnaby – who co-wrote the successful Paddington 2 screenplay. Pippa Harris and Nicolas Brown are named as the producers too.


So what will happen?

I’m very much hoping that this will actually come to fruition, (despite not yet having read the books!) though a part of me wonders if it will after all this time.

There are a few things to be debated of course, like whether the original names will be replaced. Will we have Jo, Fanny and Bessie or Joe, Frannie and Beth? Will Dick become Rick, and will Dame Slap be replaced by Dame Snap? The sad truth is that it will most likely be a ‘yes’ to the replacements.

Then we can start wondering who will play Jo, Fanny and Bessie. Will they be CGI characters voiced by famous actors or will we see new, talented child actors on screen?

Just a few of the book designs over the years.
Which if any, could inspire the look of a movie?

What’s perhaps likely is that Simon Farnaby will appear – he had a cameo in both of the Paddington Films after all.

And if it’s a success we could see the other books adapted too!

 

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Monday #245 (even though it’s Tuesday)

Better late than never!

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The Mysterious Boy by Julie Robinson Synopsis

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One of our contributors, Julie has written a smashing mystery novel inspired by our own favourite author. We’re bringing you the synopsis this week, and next week I’ll be reviewing the book for you all.


Synopsis of

The Mysterious Boy

By

Julie Robinson

 

Extract from the bookWe both waited for a few quiet moments for him to tell us his name, neither of us expecting what we heard.

 

“Mine is Edwin Lavin,” he said, in quiet Cornish tones.  “You’ve probably heard of me.  I’m the son of the gamekeeper, but I didn’t start the fire!”

 

The book takes place in the early 1980’s, Sarah, who is on holiday with her twin brother, Mark and their parents, is telling the story of a special holiday she remembered as a child of twelve years old.

 

Without given away too much of the plot – the twins explore the hamlet in Cornwall where they are staying, and come across a disused overgrown stable, then they see the disused swimming pool in the overgrown garden.

 

Going back to explore the following day they meet the boy – and what he has to tell them takes them into an adventurous and exciting holiday that they both couldn’t have imagined in their wildest of dreams.


Synopsis of

Mysterious Boy 

for the publishers

By

Julie Robinson

 

This is a story set in the 1980’s, and written in the first person, I take the two main characters back to the year 1912.

 

The purpose of this return, is to prove that Edwin Lavin who is a son of the Game Keeper on the estate, didn’t start a fire which he was accused of, and in which a few members of the Burlaise family, who owned the big house of Long Orchard died.

 

My main characters, who are twins, Sarah and Mark, meet Edwin whilst they are exploring the derelict grounds of Long Orchard, whilst on a holiday in Cornwall.

 

Edwin, who is a ghost from the past and desperate to clear his name of starting the fire, appears to the twins, and after hearing his story, they all meet as arranged for the journey back in time.

 

The twins have to follow instructions to stay out of sight until the fire starts and then begins the process of getting a confession from the person who originally started the fire, which was out of revenge.

 

The twins are successful in their plight to help Edwin, but there is a rush towards the end as they have to quickly find Edwin in the mist of the smoke and confusion as he is the only person who can take the twins back to their time.

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Monday #244

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Review: The Mystery of Holly Lane Part 2

So last week I hadn’t managed to read all of the book, so I only reviewed half of the book. This week I will look at the other half. Shall we begin?

 

The mystery deepens 

As the mystery moves on, the old fellow’s money has disappeared and so has his furniture, which has called for Mr Goon to be investigating.  He doesn’t trust Fatty as we know, and this happens to hinder the investigation. It also means that Fatty is incredibly smug at the prospect of solving the mystery before Goon, however he doesn’t really know where to go with this one.  He and the others start with compiling a list of suspects who they need to interview while all the time having Larry worry that the leather he left in the Hollies’ garden will be discovered.

To start with there aren’t a great many suspects because everyone who came to visit the old man has an alibi, and has been seen by someone else who can vouch for them. Not only that but there are so few people who actually seem to visit the old man that there isn’t much for the FFOs to chase up. However they do try their best, tracking down the vicar’s sister, the proper window cleaner, and the grocer’s boy to find out when and why they went into the house.

Unfortunately they leave the family of the old man until last, which then leads them onto their biggest mystery to date. It turns out that the old man’s granddaughter has gone missing and now the blame seems to be riding on her because everyone thinks she has done a runner with the money. However, after interviewing the granddaughter’s employer and overhearing a conversation by the maids in the kitchen, Fatty seems to guess that this young girl isn’t the thief at all.  So now the options are limited severely to whom the culprit could be.

I won’t really say anymore, just to save anyone who hasn’t read it from spoilers, but lets just say, it’ll surprise you and not surprise you at the same time.

Back on form

Oh my oh my, finally a Five Find-Outers and Dog I can get my teeth into! This actually felt like a proper mystery, an actual Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple mystery. Of course once the clues Blyton dropped were made clear I was almost pleasantly surprised at the outcome of the book. I mean yes, all right, the crime isn’t one that hasn’t been committed before, but Enid Blyton actually makes this an accessible crime for children, and even as an adult this one was a little bit tricky for me. I could see where she wanted us to go, and she has a history with the FFOs with making the culprit obvious!

The Mystery of Holly Lane however was quite good in the respect that she used some red herrings to make us go down the wrong garden path. This is a Blyton I can see writing the Famous Five, and Adventure series, this is the Blyton who was introducing millions of children to the joys of reading, this is the Blyton I fell in love reading.

I know there are those of you out there who will tell me that this proves I was wrong about the FFOs but no, I still don’t really enjoy the characters, especially Fatty, and they can be quite slow on the uptake sometimes, but the actual mystery on this one is worth reading because its very well done.

I think The Mystery at Holly Lane is a contender for my favourite Five Find-Outers and Dog story.  Anyone else?

 

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Putting the Adventure Series in order

After spending a very long time putting the Famous Five books in order I thought I might as well see if I could do the same for my other favourite series. The Adventure Series should be much easier to do, firstly there are only 8 books and secondly I think I have already got the order fairly set in my mind.


AT THE TOP

By now I think that you all know that The Circus of Adventure is my favourite from the series. It may be second last, but it’s definitely the best for me.

the-circus-of-adventure

I enjoy the slightly unusual situation of having Jack on his own for a while (usually they are at least in twos) trying to navigate the unfamiliar world of Tauri-Hessia, and breaking into Castle Borken with only Kiki to aid him.

There are some very funny parts, like Gussy being dolled up as Old Ma’s granddaughter at the end, and his furious rows with Kiki at the start. And there are is also plenty of excitement with the escaping bears, the trapeze rescue from the castle and the soldiers searching the circus just when they thought they were safe.

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SAFE IN SECOND PLACE

Second place has to go to The Island of Adventure.

the-island-of-adventureIt’s where everything starts, but we are never bored with long introductions or getting-to-know-yous. It has the mystery of Bill Smugs, secret passages, the terrifying Jo-Jo (and the joy of the children getting one over on him) and the magnificent location of Craggy Tops.

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JOINT THIRD?

I find it hard to choose between my next two favourite books, namely The Castle of Adventure and The Valley of Adventure.

Both are very strong books, full of danger, excitement and just enough humour.

In Valley they are completely on their own in Austria, hunted by Juan and Pepe. There’s the thrill of hunting for long-lost treasures, secret passages and the sweet old couple who you just have to admire for their gumption. The humour comes from scenes like the girl’s behind-the-waterfall dance and the altercation by Juan (or is it Pepe?) and the suitcase.

Castle has Mrs Mannering close by for much of it, but the castle remains quite a dark spectre. And of course the children end up trapped inside the castle, which is so impenetrable  it might as well be an Austrian Valley. Castle is potentially scarier, I think. The scene where Jack discovers someone else is there, creeping about at night makes me shiver. No doubt the prospect of being trapped in a valley is scary but it’s a different sort of fear.

I think I will have to put Valley into third place. Living in a cave trumps camping in a castle, and Bill’s arrival isn’t quite so contrived as it is at the end of Castle.

So it’s Circus – Island – Valley – Castle so far.

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UP NEXT

A great book despite only landing in fifth place, it’s The Sea of Adventure. (This is the problem when there are so many great books!)

the-sea-of-adventureSea perhaps suffers from a slightly slower start, but there is not time to be bored even then. The storm which whips the children’s tents away is thrilling, and the thought of being marooned on an island is nearly as bad as being stuck in a valley or castle. Huffin and Puffin are interesting and amusing companions, and Horace Tripalong, er, I mean Tippalong is a humorous bumbling faux enemy for them to deal with. The only other weak point would be its similarities to The Adventurous Four especially towards the end.

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IN SIXTH PLACE

Mountain of Adventure is another one with a few too many similarities to another book (this time The Secret Mountain).

the-mountain-of-adventureA lot of people criticize the stereotypical Welsh characters and their silly language but I can’t say it’s ever bothered me too much. The portion of the book taking part inside the mountain is a strange one, it’s just a very weird place full of very weird people. The best bits have to be don’t forget Bill Smugs and the scenes with the ‘wolves’ hunting the children.

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THE PENULTIMATE BOOK

The Ship of Adventure has its moments, the final chapters once they are on the little Greek island are exciting and engaging but perhaps too much time is spent in comfort on the cruise ship.

the-ship-of-adventure

The ship in a bottle with a hidden message is a nice idea, and Mr Eppy is a menacing figure on the confines of the ship. Allie leaving and Bill arriving seems to be another overly contrived situation as well, and like Kiki I’m not overly fond of Mickey.

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AND THE WOODEN SPOON FOR LAST PLACE GOES TO…

The River of Adventure.

the-river-of-adventurePoor River, I’m not sure why I’ve always liked it the least. Possibly I feel that Raya Uma is a really patchy baddie in terms of the fear factor and how seriously you can take him. Bill seems to think he’s extremely dangerous but he acts like a complete idiot at the end. Bill himself is not too bright, taking Allie to a potential enemies house and getting themselves both kidnapped. The end is somehow an anti-climax too, after the fairly thrilling boat ride we get a rather lame ‘we’ll have to come back and see the treasure being discovered.’ Us poor readers certainly don’t get to come back!

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And there you have it, and all in one post!

What would your order look like?

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Monday #243

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Putting the Famous Five in Order part 4

And now I have reached the last books to organise – the ones that came after the favourites and the middling ones but not as low as my absolute least favourites.

So I am left with Five Go Off to Camp, Five Go to Mystery Moor, Five on a Secret Trail, Five Have Plenty of Fun and Five Go to Billycock Hill.

First up is Five Have Plenty of Fun. This is also rather low-ranked for a Kirrin adventure now I think about it. What brings it down for me is how silly the main idea is. Elbur visiting in the middle of the night; leaving his daughter with just a cook and some other children as protection. It’s downright daft – if necessary to create the opportunity for the adventure. For some reason the later part – the house where they eventually rescue George from – has never stuck very firmly in my mind. Perhaps it’s too short, or written rather vaguely? I don’t know.

Saying that it has its bright moments – like Uncle Quentin forgetting and calling Berta by the wrong name all the time.

fhpof

After that is going to be Five Go Off to Camp. I like the spook train and tunnel exploration, and Anne’s volcano, and the end is fairly dramatic. There is just perhaps less through the rest of the book – a lot of camping and visiting the farm. Those parts are nice, and I don’t object to the Five doing every-day things but the balance here could be tipped more on the adventure side maybe.

five-go-off-to-camp

Five Go to Mystery Moor is next. I think this also suffers from a long build up to a mystery – they spend a lot of time hanging around the stables with a lot of other people. George v. Henrietta helps keep that part moving, and I do love the spooky tale of the Bartles, but the kidnap/holding of the kids hasn’t stuck particularly well in my mind. Goodness knows why I once paid £14 for a copy (about three times as much as the others I was buying at the time) when it doesn’t rank as a favourite!

five-go-to-mystery-moor

Five on a Secret Trail used to be higher on my list I think (or it would have been had I ever done one) but reading others’ criticisms of it has helped it slide way down. There is a lot of faffing at the start – the boys being absent doesn’t help either – so it’s a while before we get down to an adventure. The flashing lights and noises are a bit lame as far as scaring people away goes – but the man at the window was terrifying! Guy and Harry are either amusing or annoying depending on how you view them, I tend to come down slightly more on the annoying side.

five-on-a-secret-trail

And that leaves us with Five Go to Billycock Hill. I knew this would be near the bottom so I’m not surprised it came last out of this lot. I don’t really know why I rate this quite so lowly. I find the whole butterfly men/fake butterfly men thing all a bit strange I suppose and a lot of the book fails to stick with me. I’d struggle to lay out exactly what happens in any detail now I think about it. I’m not sure I can even come up with any top moments, but it doesn’t have anything that irritates me as much as the bottom two on my list do.

five-go-to-billycock-hill


THE FINAL LIST

1. Five Go To Smuggler’s Top (4)
2. Five on a Hike Together (10)
3. Five on a Treasure Island (1)
4. Five Go Down to the Sea (12)
5. Five Go Off in a Caravan (5)
6. Five Go Demon’s Rocks (19)
7. Five Run Away Together (3)
8. Five Get Into a Fix (17)
9. Five Get Into Trouble (8)
10. Five on Finniston Farm (18)
11. Five Go Adventuring Again (2)
12. Five Fall Into Adventure (9)
13. Five Have a Wonderful Time (11)
14. Five on Kirrin Island Again (6)
15. Five Have Plenty of Fun (14)
16. Five Go Off to Camp (7)
17. Five Go to Mystery Moor (13)
18. Five on a Secret Trail (15)
19. Five Go to Billycock Hill (16)
20. Five Have a Mystery to Solve (20)
21. Five Are Together Again (21)

puttingthefamousfiveinorder4


So,what do you think. did I get it entirely wrong? Let me know what your list would look like!

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Monday #242

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October Round Up

I can’t believe it is November already! Before we know it it’ll be Christmas. I’m so excited for Brodie’s first Christmas.


WHAT FIONA HAS READ

I read a little more in October than I did September. I made it to 100 books for the year so anything over that is a

  • A Quiet Night In – Jill Murphy
  • The Haunted Mask (Goosebumps #11) – R.L. Stine
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar – Roald Dahl audiobook
  • The Railway Children – E. Nesbit

I’ve got a few on the go also:

  • Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage (Frankie Dupont Mysteries #3) – Julie Anne Grasso
  • Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris audiobook

WHAT FIONA HAS WATCHED

  • Still Hollyoaks, Only Connect and Taskmaster this month
  • The new series of Red Dwarf 
  • More of ER – now we’re up to season five

WHAT FIONA HAS DONE

  • Taken Brodie to rhyme time, playgroup and quite a few lunch dates!
  • Did my first Baby Sensory class which was a Halloween one, with Brodie dressed as a very cute Darth Vader. He also dressed up as a pumpkin for the Halloween playgroup.
  • Started planning my Christmas shopping and bought Brodie some Christmassy outfits which I can’t wait to put him in.
  • Went to see Thor: Ragnarok at the cinema (Brodie got left with his gran and grandad for a few hours and everyone had much fun).
  • Even more washing but not really any more sleeping than last month

WHAT STEF HAS READ

  • Peggy and Me – Miranda Hart
  • Five Go Glamping – Liz Tipping reviewed here

And current reads:

  • Don’t You Forget About Me – Liz Tipping
  • The Mystery of Holly Lane – reviewed here

 


WHAT STEF HAS WATCHED

  • Again with the Taskmaster series, just re-watching and chortling about the tasks.

I haven’t really watched anything else, what a bore, I just seem to have been on the go all the time!


WHAT STEF HAS DONE

  • I’m still Thai boxing and trying to get back into my running
  • I went on holiday to Tenerife — just a lovely place.
  • Working two jobs and generally trying to be busy around the place.

I’ve had a really boring month but it’s all just flown by, so hopefully in the run up to Christmas I’ll be a bit more exciting for you!

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