Middle Grade Reviews

Review – Michael’s Spear by Hilton Pashley

pashley review

SPOILERS – while this review does not spoil the plot of Michael’s Spear, it contains information about other books in the series. If you have not read the first two books, please skip the extract. 

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Extract: 

‘What the hell is that?’ asked Jonathan over the shreiking wind. 

‘Consequences,’ Lucifer shouted, looking pointedly at Sammael. ‘I warned you this might happen. You couldn’t settle for just killing Baal, could you? I know he destroyed Heaven, I know he left Jonathan’s father out to die of his wounds, but this is what happens when you go too far. You used your wings to rip open reality, just so you could fling Baal’s rotten soul out of creation and into eternal torment. You’ve damaged the weave of creation, and there are things outside this universe of ours that want in.’ 

(from Michael’s Spear by Hilton Pashley) birdSynopsis:

Jonathan is the only half-angel, half-demon. In the last eight months, he has made the magical village of Hobbes End his home, and faced a series of battles with the arch-daemons. Now there is only one archdemon left, and she may be most dangerous of all.

The fabric of creation is damaged. Hobbes End is under threat from things outside the universe, which would wreak damage. Lucifer blames Sammael. When she cast out the arch-demon Baal, she tore a hole in the fabric of the universe. It is clear such damage can’t happen again. Then Jonathan realises Sammael’s brother Michael is alive. To save him, she must tear another hole in the universe.

Jonathan needs to find the Book of Creation to heal the universe. The problem is, Lillith wants it too. What is Lillith up to? Where is Michael’s spear? The final battle for Hobbes End may be for the universe itself.birdReview:

Hobbes End is one of my favourite middle-grade trilogies. It has the perfect mix of adventure and fantasy, and a memorable cast of characters from Heaven, Hell, Earth and your wildest daydreams. The texture of the world is Milton crossed with Dr Who. Sounds hectic, but it isn’t. The detail forms the world, but the storyline itself is watertight. You will be hooked from start to finish.

The rift between Heaven and Hell, which happened before Jonathan was born, provides material for his adventures. The three arch-demons provided a brilliant way to extend Jonathan’s adventures past one book, and I love how the introduction of Michael opens new possibilities. The other thing which Pashley is good at inventing is objects. This time the focus is on Michael’s Spear, and the Book Of Creation. This is clever – new threat is introduced as Lillith hunts for the book to fulfil her agenda.

A world of angels and demons might have been difficult to relate to, but Jonathan’s world is recognisable as our own. References to smart-phones and cars ground the story in reality. Pashley has a lovely, light sense of humour, and perfect timing. The Dummies Guide To Cosmic Knitting was my favourite moment – a mildly flippant solution to an endangered universe.

Jonathan has changed as a character over the trilogy, and it is lovely to see him taking the final steps towards embracing his identity as the world’s only half-angel, half-demon. This seems like a great metaphor for discovering a sense of self. Children may see themselves as half of this parent, and half of the other, but whatever that is, it becomes a new and unique being.

I love the settings from across the trilogy. Hobbes End has always felt like something between a character and a setting, with its ability to care for and protect its residents. It is a place which embraces anyone and anything – werewolves and vampires, angels and demons. It is also a place were inanimate objects come to life. Stubbs and Monty, the gargoyles, are favourites of mine. They remind me of Shakespearian Clowns, there to lighten the atmosphere, but very much involved in the plot.

I also like the idea of angels and demons interacting. This is a realistic message about the world – whoever you are, you have capacity to behave in all manner of ways. I can’t stand the suggestion that some people are good and others bad, so Pashley’s interpretation of angels and demons makes a lot of sense to me.

A worthy end to the trilogy. If you haven’t read Hilton Pashley’s books, start with Gabriel’s Clock. You’ll be hooked at Chapter One. Otherwise, get ready to cheer Jonathon on in his final adventure, and have a box of tissues ready for the final chapter. It is touching.

 

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