Robin Jarvis (born May 8, 1963) is a British children's novelist, who writes fantasy novels, often about anthropomorphic rodents and small mammals—especially mice—and Tudor times. A lot of his works are based in London, in and around Deptford and Greenwich where he used to live, or in Whitby.
His first novel—The Dark Portal, featuring the popular Deptford Mice—was the runner up for the Smarties book prize in 1989.
Not as downright captivating as the first, however there are many moments that frightened the life out of me. Nathaniel is a brilliant new villain, and the end result is a very worthwhile and exciting adventure.
I read this in Whitby, where I have been for a few days. I really enjoyed the first book in the trilogy,The Whitby Witches , and while there were bits of this book I liked, I didn't enjoy everything about it.
Ben and Jennet are still living with Miss Boston, their elderly foster-mother in Whitby. Following the events of the previous book, a mysterious visitor, Nathaniel Crozier, arrives in Whitby. He is quite scruffy looking, but has magnetic brown eyes and a lot of charm, and manages to bend the residents of Whitby, including Jennet, to his will. He is in fact the husband of Rowena Cooper, the villain of the previous book, and has come not only to be revenged on the people who defeated her, but also to unleash a terrible power that has been dormant for centuries.
In the meantime, Miss Boston has been called away to visit an old friend who is very ill in London. The children have been left in charge of the dithery and rather ineffectual Miss Werther, Whitby's post mistress. However, when she arrives, there is something very odd going on at her friend's house.
Ben's friend, Nelda the Aufwader, has her own problems. Since the curse of the Aufwaders wasn't fully broken in the previous book, she must appease Esau, one of the elders of the tribe, through marriage.
For me, the three strands of the book never really came together. I wanted to know more about all of them, and the Aufwader aspect of the story didn't tie together the way the other two did. Also, I found the way that Jennet was diminished in this book rather disappointing. I'd have liked her to have been far more instrumental in the plot of this book.
However, the sense of place and menace of Whitby (it takes place this time of year, when Whitby is at its most spooky) is really well evoked. It is an exciting read, and I'm sure that children of 9+ would enjoy it.
I liked this one well enough, but I have plenty of complaints. My main objection is that the entire issue with Nelda and Esau was gross and disturbing, and I don't know how any of the members of their community went along with that mess. Also, Nelda's decision near the end is the main reason I would not recommend this book for kids. Ewww. The horde of girls and women obsessed with Nathaniel was not believable, especially when accompanied by the illustrations of Nathaniel, who looked like a rather homely professor. Sure, he's a warlock, but some of these females were simpering over him before any magical influence on his part. And finally, the use of the comma in this book was bizarre and overdone. Instead of colons, semi-colons, periods, etc., most of the sentences are (what should be) several sentences just strung together with commas. Please tell me this is just bad editing and not the way British children's books are written?! I am still going to read the last book, as I want to know how things end up, but I can see why the second book wasn't republished in the U.S.
A bit of a slow burner, I didn't enjoy this as much as The Whitby Witches and it took me a while to get through. Maybe I'm just too old to be reliving my "yoof" by rereading my old favourites as an adult, but I do also think this is a series that may have been better as a standalone with Alice Boston saving Whitby and the world in book 1 and leaving it there. Moving on to The Whitby Child but I'm not holding much hope for enjoying it any more than this.
"The girl left the room and the fish demon toddled fiendishly behind her"
Straight into the second of the Whitby Trilogy having finished the first so not to lose momentum.
As with the first one (The Whitby Witches), this was a book I enjoyed very much as a child and reading it again as an adult did not disappoint.
The story starts very soon after the events of the first book and takes the reader back to 1990s Whitby, and the orphans (one of whom has 'The Sight') and their elderly witch guardian.
I found the book to be well-paced, albeit with some surprising twists that I had forgotten over the years, and liked very much the introduction of a new baddie, with new and improved powers. Whitby, once again, provides the exact eerie Gothic backdrop needed to support the plot, and truly is a main character as other reviews suggest.
Once again, despite having read this book when I was about 10 and not being able to detect any residual trauma from this, I think that it would be deemed fairly age inappropriate for the target demographic now.
I agree with those reviews I have read that suggest that this shows the author being sloppy with the canon, forgetting the previous information given and suggested about Aufwader development, rather than choosing such a horrible angle. This view is supported by it not being a huge plot device and it not being something that is mentioned by others in the book. That being said, it does not really pass the 2022 check because of this,
Not nearly as good as the first book. This one is just a tidal wave from Nathaniel's arrival and his ability to overpower everyone without any resistance. Jarvis takes you to hell, but instead of bringing you back he just leaves you there.
The ending is also disappointing and the aufwaders are just plain tragic and tedious. Hopefully the third book is better.
What can I say? This series just makes me want to visit Whitby more and more.
A darker outing all round, this one, with a truly malicious villain and many subplots all too good to be spoiled.
Jarvis ventures into some more adult places in this book, so beware parents, but it's well-handled. His finale is so apocalyptic, one can only wonder what the author will do to follow it up in the third book of the trilogy.
I really loved this book too - the illustrations are amazing and just help to drag the reader even further into the stories. Just as good as the Whitby Witches and still full of page-turning adventures.
The second book in the Whitby series picks up a few months after the first one left off, and introduces even more weird and wonderful characters. This is a well-written children's fantasy that doesn't try to patronise it's audience - if anything some of the themes might be a little too grown up.