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The Phantom Isles

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  52 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
The book is called The Compleat Necromancer, and when Ming, Orion, and Courtney read an incantation from its pages, they have no way of knowing they are about to conjure up the ghosts of an entire nation. Because the ghosts that the three friends summon aren't just any ghosts. They were captured from an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean—the Ilhas dos Fantasmas—a pla ...more
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
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Oct 07, 2012 Brenda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: A great suggestion for All Hallow’s Read
Recommended to Brenda by: Cover Art pick
Shelves: fiction
In a little town in Carville, Massachusetts three friends Ming, Courtney and Orion sneak into the town library where they plan to "meet in darkness and conspire to raise the dead" by reciting from the The Compleat Necromancer . Creepy right? What happens instead, is that the ghosts that have been imprisoned in the books are now visible on the pages. Author Stephen Alter tells a story through alternating time periods current and that of the 1930's in a country called Ilhas dos Fatasmas in the In ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Wow! Three children and a librarian join forces to help ghosts that have been imprisoned in books escape and return to their country. The encyclopedia, book, and web site entries containing information about their home country, Ilhas dos Fantasmas, were so realistic that I actually began to wonder if there really was such a tiny country in the Indian Ocean. Stephen Alter's descriptions were so rich with images at times that I felt compelled to read the story aloud (to the cats--and they enjoyed ...more
Sep 29, 2016 Natlukens rated it liked it

This book reads as half kid's adventure/ghost story and half anthropology field study. It's a very weird mix, but it works better than it sounds. I wish it stuck with the kid's story line more, the characters are never very well fleshed out because of the separation, about every chapter switches back and forth. Overall it was fun. I would recommend it for older age range (it's junior fiction) because it deals A LOT with death and has some sort of grim and gruesome imagery.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for

Late one night Ming, Courtney, and Orion sneak into the town library to find a very curious book. The Compleat Necromancer contains a spell that can supposedly conjure the ghosts of the dead. The friends perform the spell and... nothing happens. Or so it seems.

The next day Alma, the librarian, notices books out of place. Stranger still is the face that looks out at her when she opens one of them. It seems to materialize on the page, and it appears
Middle school friends Ming, Courtney, and Orion find an interesting book in the basement of the Carville Public Library. It's called The Compleat Necromancer: An Investigation into the Mysteries of the Afterlife by Prof. Hezekaih T. Osgood, published in 1946. In it, they recite the words that supposedly make ghosts appear. When nothing happens however, they are somewhat disappointed. The next morning, the librarian Alma Parker notices books out of place and open their pages to discover images fl ...more
Becky H.
Sep 27, 2008 Becky H. rated it it was amazing
Three kids go to the library and find a book of spells. They try one that is supposed to bring the dead to life. They later find out that it worked and now the library or I should say the books are haunted. Several spirits are trapped in the books and they must find out how to rescue them and save the library.
Book includes water marked pictures for a mysterious almost scary affect. Fun read for 3rd and 4th graders.
Aug 11, 2007 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fiction
This plot has so much potential that I was disappointed it wasn't executed better. The writing style is vague at times, and makes leaps from one storyline to another in such a way that I found myself wondering if I'd just skipped pages on accident. Ultimately I lost interest, and put the book down more than halfway through.
The Library Lady
Mar 03, 2008 The Library Lady rated it it was ok
Someone else said it--great idea for a plot, but poorly written. Parts are well done, others sound more like an adult textbook. I'm not sure many kids will want to plow through this to get to the good stuff--I found it hard work myself!
Pamela King
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STEPHEN ALTER is the son of American missionaries to the Himalayas, and was raised in India. The author of seven books for adults, he is the former Writer-in-Residence at MIT, and a recipient of a Fulbright grant. He currently lives in India with his wife, where he is researching his newest book for adults—a behind the scenes look at the world of Bollywood.
More about Stephen Alter...

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