Title: The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
I have always thought that Jaclyn Moriarty has one of the freshest and most original voices in Australian children’s literature and so was eager to read her latest children’s fantasy, beautifully presented as a hardback with whimsical illustrations by Kelly Canby. The book did not disappoint – it was a sparkling delight from beginning to end, with lots of unexpected discoveries, wondrous encounters and madcap adventures.
The story begins:
I was ten years old when my parents were killed by pirates. This did not bother me as much as you might think – I hardly knew my parents.
Bronte’s parents had run away to have adventures when she was just a baby, leaving her to be raised by her Aunt Isabelle and the butler. But their last will and testament says she must set out alone, on a solitary quest, to take a farewell gift to each of her ten other aunts. Her parents’ will has been bordered by fairy cross-stitch, which means calamity will befall her home town if she disobeys. So Bronte sets out to fulfil her parents’ dying wish (although, really, it is extremely inconvenient). Before long she is grappling with dragons, chief detectives, spell whisperers and pirates. Luckily, Bronte is very resourceful and determined as well as kind-hearted and clever, and so she deals with one troublesome aunt after another with aplomb.
The world-building in this book is so rich and inventive it could easily support a dozen other books, and so I hope that The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone is the first in what will be a long series. This is the perfect book for a sensitive imaginative bookworm who is not yet ready for Harry Potter but wants a story filled with magic, adventure, humour and whimsy (the kind of kid I was when I was eleven!)