So, what is this prize-winning story all about?
Orphaned child, Daniel Holmes stumbles upon the Nowhere Emporium while fleeing a beating from local bullies. He’s dragged into a world of endless possibilities as he learns more about the Emporium created by the enigmatic Mr Silver. Mr Silver, of course, has an arch enemy in Vindictus Sharp. Mr Silver’s daughter, Ellie tags along and believes that she can’t leave the ever moving Emporium.
The Emporium is full of rooms that can contain anything that your imagination can conjure up. They come into being once they have been written into the Book of Wonders.
The tale moves at a fair pace and jumps back and forth between the present and the past where the history of the Emporium and the relationship between Silver and Sharp is revealed.
My first impression was that the story is wonderfully well written. The description is fabulous and a good deal happens in many wondrous ways. The world building though is a little thin. The story is very much confined to it’s path with no wider exploration. It’s certainly a stand-alone story. So, while the tale itself is fun and interesting to read, it lacks a more expansive sense of wonder, at least until the last few sentences which do spark the imagination. I couldn’t help think that had this wider sense of the possible been tapped a bit more as the story went along, the whole experience could have been enhanced. This could have been done by grounding Daniel a bit more in his normal life, going back to it now and then and longing to return to the Emporium. I never doubted that he would stay in the Emporium which robbed the story a little of a sense of desire and fear of loss.
Anyway, a good read and I’m sure most 8-12 year olds will love it. It good without being a classic (for me).
Rating out of 5: ♦♦♦♦
Suggested age: 8-12