Her heart pounded as both women started at her, their eyes full of wonder. Rose placed her hand to her throat, and tried to concentrate.
‘I saw saw stuff what I don’t understand. When I held that,’ she pointed to the pendant. ‘I were inside someone’s head. An old man … it were horrible – he were horrible. He were in a carriage. He had another pendant, like yours but different. It had faces inside of it. Tghe two of them talked about a cup in a museum and a book. I dunno.’
‘You saw the other pendant?’ cried Miss Lee. ‘What did the man look like?’
‘I couldn’t see him. I saw things like what he saw. I were inside his mind. I felt his hunger … it were awful. And he had a tattoo on his wrist of a black sun with a face in its middle and -‘ She stroked her apron.
(The Rose Muddle Mysteries – The Amber Pendant. Imogen White.)
A mysterious pendant, an ancient curse and some seriously scary creatures called Creeplings. Rose Muddle is plucked from the warehouse. Wealthy Miss Templeforth has been searching for the next guardian to a magical pendant, and she has found Rose just in time. The darkness in the pendant is killing Miss Templeforth.
An ancient enemy is intent on stealing the pendant. There is an amber cup in Hove museum. Verrulf has been trapped inside the cup since way back when. His helpers on earth are searching for Rose’s pendant. If they get hold of it, they will release Verrulf from the cup. The world will be consumed in darkness.
Helped by budding detective Rui, a monkey called Bahula, and the ageless Gypsy Lee, Rose sets out to overturn Verrulf’s plans. There’s only one problem – any of the people around her could be helping Verrulf …
I love Rose. Feisty, gobby and forgiving, she’s got a big mouth and an even bigger heart. Having spent the first twelve years of her life in the workhouse, Rose wants more than anything somewhere to belong. It is this which drives her to protect the pendant. She sees it as more than a magical object. It is a symbol of her heritage. The other character I loved was Enna Lee. A Puck-like figure, an ageless spirit who protects the city of Hove, she represents the stories which lie in any landscape. I hope to see more of Enna in future stories.
There are three stories at play – Rose’s own story, the story of the pendant’s origin, and the events of 40 years ago. Rose’s story is not overwhelmed by prior events. They add layers to the mystery, and give Rose more to discover. I love the folksy element of Verrulf’s story. It reminds me a little of The Box of Delights, with characters and objects in the present day dating back to the dawn of time. The Amber Cup is inspired by a real object in Hove. White weaves in some local history and geography in a way which would inspire any young reader to go on a trail through the story’s streets.
The deliciously creepy Brotherhood of the Black Sun are up there with VFD and the Baron’s gang in the Sinclar’s Mysteries. A cult-like organisation, with an evil objective, a secret meeting place and a dark insignia? Bring it on! The secretive nature of the Brotherhood brings the magical story to life. I love the idea that magic had gone from being commonly recognised, to acknowledged only by a small number of people.
1907 is brought to life with language of the time. The link between Hove and Jaipur brings to life the time of empire. Although this is not explored in any political detail, it is shown how people over a hundred years ago might have links to more than one country. With the next story set in Jaipur, I hope we learn more about Rui’s background.
The story is pacy – I was hooked and rehooked. There is a new discovery in every chapter, and always something to read on for. With a sequel due in 2018, this looks to be the start to a promising mystery series.
Disclaimer – I won my copy in a GoodReads giveaway. This does not affect the honesty of my review.
Big thanks to GoodReads and Usborne Publishing for my copy.