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Belladonna University #4

Halloween is Not a Verb

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Young Aussie witches Hebe and Holly Hallow are bringing their friends home to meet their mums for Halloween! What terrible life choices will Sage and Jules make around the bonfire? Why is Ferd flipping out about poetry? What’s with all the butternut pumpkins?

Epic friendship and festive shenanigans with the magical students from Belladonna University.


Published October 31, 2018

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About the author

Tansy Rayner Roberts

117 books267 followers
Tansy Rayner Roberts is a fantasy and science fiction author who lives in southern Tasmania, somewhere between the tall mountain with snow on it, and the beach that points towards Antarctica.

Tansy has a PhD in Classics (with a special interest in poisonous Roman ladies), and an obsession with Musketeers.

You can hear Tansy talking about Doctor Who on the Verity! podcast. She also reads her own stories on the Sheep Might Fly podcast.

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5 stars
17 (48%)
4 stars
11 (31%)
3 stars
7 (20%)
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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Ju Transcendancing.
459 reviews18 followers
November 17, 2018
Let me count the ways I love these characters: eleventy infinity. They are the best, run don't walk to the first in the series 'Fake Geek Girl' so that you can enjoy all the adventures of these wonderful characters. Antics, and fun and magical philosophy ahead, and a minotaur. Because apparently Halloween isn't complete without a minotaur? Also, this kind of Halloween celebration is something I could absolutely get behind.
Profile Image for Serena.
630 reviews32 followers
July 10, 2019
Loved listening to Tansy Rayner Roberts' podcast Sheep Might Fly where you too can listen to lots of her short stories!
Profile Image for Ariel.
1,735 reviews30 followers
November 17, 2018
The gang goes home to Holly & Hebe's 3 magical mums' house. Sage and Jules Nightshade drunkspell a scary maze out of straw bales as a final project for Viola's magic class, trapping everyone in it. Once upon a time when Ferd was the most promising shadowmancer of his generation, he could have fixed the problem with a snap of his fingers. But that was before the accident in the lab that stole all his powers. What will they do now?
Profile Image for Jen.
185 reviews11 followers
November 29, 2018
The latest in the Belladonna U series, which still delivers every time. I love this quirky little series, not least because it's so interesting to have an Australian take on fantasy. These characters are so lovely and supportive of each other, and recognise each others' talents. They work great as a team. I'll be interested to see what happens next now that several of the characters are about to graduate.
Profile Image for Miss Susan.
2,519 reviews52 followers
January 14, 2020
more of a short story than a novella. the belladonna u crew goes to the twins' house to celebrate halloween. i liked it but it took a bit for me to get my feet under me, there are a lot of characters and it's been long enough since i read the last books that i needed awhile to remember who was who

3 stars
Profile Image for Iona Sharma.
Author 9 books117 followers
November 2, 2018
Much as I love this series, this isn't my favourite in it. Unlike the others, it feels like a causal installment in a vague serial novel, as opposed to being a complete story in itself.
Profile Image for Stas.
1,099 reviews7 followers
December 13, 2018
Needs editing (misspells, weird/incorrect sentence structures etc).

Still fun. Really starting to wish for Sage to grow up a little.
Overall, still love the gang.
Profile Image for Tsana Dolichva.
Author 4 books64 followers
November 12, 2018
Halloween is Not a Verb by Tansy Rayner Roberts is the latest novella in the Fake Geek Girl universe. It seems to be set later than other other existing stories and, as is probably obvious from the title, is Halloween themed.

Credit where credit’s due, Halloween is Not a Verb does include several discussions in how impractical Halloween traditions are when transposed to the Southern Hemisphere and the middle of spring. That said, it’s also a book about witches that embraces the tradition with the in-story debates focussed on the details. I, however, fall into the third category of people that Roberts lists in the book: the Halloween denialist/Americanisation-of-Australian-culture-is-ruining-everything category. In light of that, the rest of the review will focus on the actual story.

I think this is one of my favourite Fake Geek Girl stories. As usual, it involves more character development than you might expect for this type of ongoing series, making for an engaging read. There’s also more peril than usual (in my opinion, which is not to say the other stories have all been peril-free). It’s also tightly written with a lot of funny bits and a dearth of boring bits. The only negative thing I can say about it is that sometimes I wasn’t paying enough attention at the start of a chapter and got a bit lost as to whose point of view we were following now, but that generally because clear eventually. There are a lot of characters to follow though, so if you haven’t read any of the earlier stories this might not be the best place to be introduced to the series.

Overall this was another fun read from Tansy Rayner Roberts and exactly the kind of story I was in the mood for when I picked it up. I think it was one of the best Fake Geek Girl stories and while I don’t especially recommend it as a starting point, I do highly recommend the series as a whole to anyone who enjoys humorous contemporary fantasy. And if you have read some of the other Fake Geek Girl stories, you can jump right in to Halloween is Not a Verb.

4.5 / 5 stars

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November 17, 2018
How are you not reading everything Tansy writes? Do yourself a favour, this crew of uni students, set in Australia and some have magic are so much fun to read about. Get to it!!

Or listen to the podcast “Sheep Might Fly”, however you like to consume.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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