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John Bellairs, the name in Gothic mysteries for middle graders, wrote terrifying tales full of adventure, attitude, and alarm. For years, young readers have crept, crawled, and gone bump in the night with the unlikely heroes of these Gothic novels: Lewis Barnavelt, Johnny Dixon, and Anthony Monday. Now, the ten top-selling titles feature an updated cover look. Loyal fans John Bellairs, the name in Gothic mysteries for middle graders, wrote terrifying tales full of adventure, attitude, and alarm. For years, young readers have crept, crawled, and gone bump in the night with the unlikely heroes of these Gothic novels: Lewis Barnavelt, Johnny Dixon, and Anthony Monday. Now, the ten top-selling titles feature an updated cover look. Loyal fans and enticed newcomers will love the series even more with this haunting new look!


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John Bellairs, the name in Gothic mysteries for middle graders, wrote terrifying tales full of adventure, attitude, and alarm. For years, young readers have crept, crawled, and gone bump in the night with the unlikely heroes of these Gothic novels: Lewis Barnavelt, Johnny Dixon, and Anthony Monday. Now, the ten top-selling titles feature an updated cover look. Loyal fans John Bellairs, the name in Gothic mysteries for middle graders, wrote terrifying tales full of adventure, attitude, and alarm. For years, young readers have crept, crawled, and gone bump in the night with the unlikely heroes of these Gothic novels: Lewis Barnavelt, Johnny Dixon, and Anthony Monday. Now, the ten top-selling titles feature an updated cover look. Loyal fans and enticed newcomers will love the series even more with this haunting new look!

30 review for The Mansion in the Mist

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Not his best. Not at all scary and badly edited. There is far too much 'telling' and not enough 'showing'. I had to wonder how a passage like this following get by his editor? "When Miss Eells, Anthony, and Emerson came to, they felt very dizzy and scared to death." After a quick google search I discovered Bellairs died in '91. This was published in '92. I guess it was an unfinished manuscript hastily cobbled together for print. Too bad as it could have been good. I noticed that "The Secret of Not his best. Not at all scary and badly edited. There is far too much 'telling' and not enough 'showing'. I had to wonder how a passage like this following get by his editor? "When Miss Eells, Anthony, and Emerson came to, they felt very dizzy and scared to death." After a quick google search I discovered Bellairs died in '91. This was published in '92. I guess it was an unfinished manuscript hastily cobbled together for print. Too bad as it could have been good. I noticed that "The Secret of the Underground Room" was published in '90 and that one was plenty creepy with all the characteristic Bellairs charm. It's good to know he had not lost his touch with age.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Reaching the end of John Bellairs' works published up to this death, I realize that the books became more contrived and poorly plotted as time went on, ending in manners of happenstance, deus ex machina. Despite the drop-off from his earlier works, I can't help but enjoy them, and this one at least has some unique oddities to it most particularly the incorporation of extra dimensions that I only wish Bellairs had spent a greater time crafting with the detail he routinely committed to describing Reaching the end of John Bellairs' works published up to this death, I realize that the books became more contrived and poorly plotted as time went on, ending in manners of happenstance, deus ex machina. Despite the drop-off from his earlier works, I can't help but enjoy them, and this one at least has some unique oddities to it most particularly the incorporation of extra dimensions that I only wish Bellairs had spent a greater time crafting with the detail he routinely committed to describing historical settings. The portion of the book taking place in a cabin within the Canadian wilderness is superbly creepy, but then, with the break of a windowpane, the action is forced back to Bellairs' typical locale and the employment of random chance to move his characters forward in the plot. If only it had stayed in Canada, this could have been one of his strongest stories. It's sad to reach the end of Bellairs' output, but I'm eager to delve into the stories completed and later originated by Brad Strickland.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Justin K. Rivers

    The last novel Bellairs completed before his untimely death. It's one of my favorites. I love the weirdness of it - the strange other world, the withered Autarchs, the mysterious mansion. It's great to see Anthony being proactive in resolving the conflict, he really drives the story forward and there's a great sense of stakes. I think this is also the only book where Bellairs shows us things that happen that are not from the point of view of the protagonists, and the result is some fine The last novel Bellairs completed before his untimely death. It's one of my favorites. I love the weirdness of it - the strange other world, the withered Autarchs, the mysterious mansion. It's great to see Anthony being proactive in resolving the conflict, he really drives the story forward and there's a great sense of stakes. I think this is also the only book where Bellairs shows us things that happen that are not from the point of view of the protagonists, and the result is some fine suspense. Anthony Monday's last adventure is a high point. It just makes it more tragic that Bellairs left us just as he was upping the game.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Arminzerella

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Anthony Monday is looking forward to spending his summer with his librarian friend, Miss Eells, and her brother Emerson at their summer cabin. While they’re there, however, some strange things begin to happen. Anthony discovers a chest that transports him to another dimension/world where a secret society known as the Autarchs has set up their headquarters. They plan to use their powers (through the Logos Cube) to bring everyone on earth to their world where they will rule over them. The only Anthony Monday is looking forward to spending his summer with his librarian friend, Miss Eells, and her brother Emerson at their summer cabin. While they’re there, however, some strange things begin to happen. Anthony discovers a chest that transports him to another dimension/world where a secret society known as the Autarchs has set up their headquarters. They plan to use their powers (through the Logos Cube) to bring everyone on earth to their world where they will rule over them. The only glitch in their plan is that they cannot find the cube. When Anthony and his friends learn of the Autarchs’ plan, they begin their own search for the cube. They have an advantage to start with – they have the clue that can lead them to the cube. But the Autarch’s leader quickly crushes any hope they have when he destroys their means of transportation between worlds. By then, Emerson is determined to find the cube and save the world – will he and Anthony be able to find another way into the Autarchs’ world? This dark and creepy tale will leave young readers slightly shivery. The Autarchs are pretty scary, but nothing truly horrible happens to Anthony or his friends. Some of the plot relies heavily on convenient coincidences (like finding a copy of the Autarchs’ mansion in a local town, and happening to discover a magical desk in Miss Eell’s coworker’s home at a library function), but the suspense throughout and the exciting resolution have an ameliorating effect. Kids might not relate to Anthony, wondering why his closest friends are older adults (and not teenagers like himself). They may also be looking for books with more action, and this has a lot of quiet moments. I’m still quite fond of John Bellairs’ work, however, and this book – new to me – brought back memories of my enjoyment of his other stories.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Owen

    For some reason whenever I go to any Ocean State Job Lot, they always have the same John Bellairs books and I've purchased all the ones I could find in their chaotic, messy piles of books. This happens to be the only one from the Anthony Monday series I could find, and since I bought it for a dollar and it was the last one in the series, I decided to read the first three before completing this one. And now, I have finished the series. I wasn't a big fan of the third book, but this one was For some reason whenever I go to any Ocean State Job Lot, they always have the same John Bellairs books and I've purchased all the ones I could find in their chaotic, messy piles of books. This happens to be the only one from the Anthony Monday series I could find, and since I bought it for a dollar and it was the last one in the series, I decided to read the first three before completing this one. And now, I have finished the series. I wasn't a big fan of the third book, but this one was excellent. The plot was great and it was paced quickly enough that I never got bored. Like the other books, they are short so I read it in one sitting. I was hoping that the series would be wrapped up in this fourth and final book. But after learning that John Bellairs died and this was published after his death, I'm not even sure he was going to end the series here. But that's okay; you can pretty much read these in any order and it doesn't matter that the series just ends with no proper conclusion. If you are venturing into the work of John Bellairs, definitely pick up this series and give it a try. It is middle grade, but creepy enough and kind of dark and violent sometmes, so I think other age groups can enjoy it. Good classic American Gothic fiction. R.I.P. Mr. Bellairs.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Reinhart

    I think this is the first Anthony Monday book I've read... which is odd since this is the last in his series, and indeed the last book that John Bellairs finished. I have read quite a few of John Bellairs and Brad Strickland's books. Of course, the Anthony Monday series is substantially the same as the Johnny Dixon and Lewis Barnavelt series (my favorite), so there were no surprises on the tone, characters or basic plot. However, the whole inter-dimensional concept, the Autarchs and all of that I think this is the first Anthony Monday book I've read... which is odd since this is the last in his series, and indeed the last book that John Bellairs finished. I have read quite a few of John Bellairs and Brad Strickland's books. Of course, the Anthony Monday series is substantially the same as the Johnny Dixon and Lewis Barnavelt series (my favorite), so there were no surprises on the tone, characters or basic plot. However, the whole inter-dimensional concept, the Autarchs and all of that good stuff tickled me absolutely pink. As has been noted, it is a bit more sci-fi than the Bellairs norm, but no less creepy... and just that little bit more surreal. Who else has ever written kid's fiction like this? In short, tons of fun, and I wish I had discovered these books when I was eight or nine. Maybe it's just me, but I think John Bellairs's books would make for an interesting academic study.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lars Guthrie

    Any children's book illustrated by Edward Gorey has got to be all right. I've read the three-novel "House with the Clock in its Walls," so when a seventh grader I was working with directed me to this one, I came prepared to enjoy some spine-tingling, chilling fun, and I wasn't disappointed. I love Bellair's matter-of-fact tone and the books' setting in a rather pedestrian and bland 1950ish small town America. Now today, that same seventh grader and were reading a part of "Vengeance of the Any children's book illustrated by Edward Gorey has got to be all right. I've read the three-novel "House with the Clock in its Walls," so when a seventh grader I was working with directed me to this one, I came prepared to enjoy some spine-tingling, chilling fun, and I wasn't disappointed. I love Bellair's matter-of-fact tone and the books' setting in a rather pedestrian and bland 1950ish small town America. Now today, that same seventh grader and were reading a part of "Vengeance of the Witch-Finder" (finished by Brad Strickland after Bellairs's death) which was tremendously exciting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I can't remember if I read this one as a child or not, but I just read it today, and I was underwhelmed. Part of me thinks that maybe I'm just a grown-up now, and I can see the myriad flaws, but no, I reread several of his books just a few years ago, and really enjoyed them. I think this was subjectively not as good as his best stuff, and much more pat and simplistic in its plot and ending.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard Cardenas

    A perfect chilling summer read!! :D

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cliff

    This concludes the "shortest" of John Bellairs series. I felt perhaps that nostalgia took over and I expected more out of these. This one suffers from many of the same issue as the earlier books in the series: There's a bit took much happenstance behind the plot rather than choices made by the protagonists. I will say that the continuity is better in this book. (I'm wondering if Lamp From the Warlock's Tomb was intended to be the 2nd book.) But the pacing is seriously off. It starts off with the This concludes the "shortest" of John Bellairs series. I felt perhaps that nostalgia took over and I expected more out of these. This one suffers from many of the same issue as the earlier books in the series: There's a bit took much happenstance behind the plot rather than choices made by the protagonists. I will say that the continuity is better in this book. (I'm wondering if Lamp From the Warlock's Tomb was intended to be the 2nd book.) But the pacing is seriously off. It starts off with the three characters going to spend some time at a remote cabin that Emerson owns. Previous visitors vanished under mysterious circumstances, so naturally, Anthony stumbles across a magical chest that acts as a gateway to another world. There's some mischief involved, but the gateway is destroyed before anything can be done. When they coincidentally make their way back to the world, we get the build up and resolution of the story super quickly.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Goldphoenix

    Starts off decent and nicely creepy, but quickly becomes meh. My biggest issue was that the discovery of the bad guy's old house relies on a massive coincidence and pure luck. Would have been better if they found it by investigating. Maybe find out who owned the Canadian cabin before Edward and then connect that person to the house in Mississippi. Also didn't like how Emerson jumps to the right conclusions based on very little information. And what was up with the ghostly whisperings. They are Starts off decent and nicely creepy, but quickly becomes meh. My biggest issue was that the discovery of the bad guy's old house relies on a massive coincidence and pure luck. Would have been better if they found it by investigating. Maybe find out who owned the Canadian cabin before Edward and then connect that person to the house in Mississippi. Also didn't like how Emerson jumps to the right conclusions based on very little information. And what was up with the ghostly whisperings. They are never explained.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Day

    Sadly, Bellairs last completed book before his untimely death isn't one of his best. However, I wonder if it was actually completed. A lot of it has a rushed and meandering quality, as though he wrote a draft to find the story, but then died before edits helped refine it. I guess we'll never know. I was going to give it just two stars, but elements of the ending were so strange and pointed the way to a much more exotic direction for these books, that I'll give it three.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rage

    I like all of these books. I'm sure I could find things to be critical about, but I don't want to. I love the spooky atmosphere combined with the coziness of the characters' lives - working in a library, puttering around, making quips.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alicia A.

    Sad that this is the last Anthony Monday, I like it better than the Barneveldt books.

  15. 4 out of 5

    D.

    The last of the novels that John Bellairs finished before his untimely death, THE MANSION IN THE MIST really showcases the strengths and weakness of Bellairs as a writer. This book features Anthony Monday, his librarian friend Miss Eells, and her brother, Emerson setting off for a quiet Summer vacation. As one would expect, it isn't actually very quiet, as Emerson reveals that their vacation destination was the site of some mysterious happenings, including the disappearance of three tourists. The last of the novels that John Bellairs finished before his untimely death, THE MANSION IN THE MIST really showcases the strengths and weakness of Bellairs as a writer. This book features Anthony Monday, his librarian friend Miss Eells, and her brother, Emerson setting off for a quiet Summer vacation. As one would expect, it isn't actually very quiet, as Emerson reveals that their vacation destination was the site of some mysterious happenings, including the disappearance of three tourists. Things get creepy, and Anthony, Miss Eells, and Emerson eventually find themselves working to save the world from other-dimensional evildoers. As usual, Bellairs is great when it comes to creating mood and setting. His prose is effortless, and filled with strong imagery and memorable moments. But, Bellairs's weak spots are also here: plot developments that come out of nowhere, weak characterization, and an over-reliance on coincidence. But, really, Bellairs's books occupy their own unique universe -- lodged firmly between Roald Dahl, HP Lovecraft, and Stephen King, his books are scary and tap into adolescent fears and feelings, they are creepy without being terrifying, and everything mostly works out for the best, at least for most folks. I started reading the Bellairs books two-and-a-half years ago, and I've found them to be entertaining and worthwhile. Some are better than others, but each had something unique enough to make it worth the time and effort. It's a shame he didn't get a chance to write more, because his voice was one worth seeking out.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richardhd96

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Life long friends Emerson, Anthony, and Miss Eells go to Emerson's cottage for the summer. Everything is normal until one night Anthony finds a chest in a room in the house. He falls in and finds out he's in another world with bad, odd people. When he is looking around, he over hears the people in a mansion talking about taking over our world. When he gets out he is so scared. Anthony tells Emerson and Miss Eells about the chest and Emerson believes him. When Emerson and Miss Eells return to Life long friends Emerson, Anthony, and Miss Eells go to Emerson's cottage for the summer. Everything is normal until one night Anthony finds a chest in a room in the house. He falls in and finds out he's in another world with bad, odd people. When he is looking around, he over hears the people in a mansion talking about taking over our world. When he gets out he is so scared. Anthony tells Emerson and Miss Eells about the chest and Emerson believes him. When Emerson and Miss Eells return to the world with Anthony they steal an important coin and learn about a cube that can destroy both worlds. The master of the other world comes after them and tries to kill them. The three friends work together and Anthony saves their world by finding the cube and destroys it. Overall I liked this book but I did not like when the three main characters always made sarcastic comments to each other that I did not always understand. I did like that the people from the other world were different from humans. Some of them were malformed and had odd faces with beak like noses and wrinkly faces. I wonder what would have happened if Anthony did not destroy the cube. Would the people from the other world take over ours and make us into slaves? I would recommend this book to mystery lovers because it kept me on the edge of my seat.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alric

    John Bellairs for me always conjures up nostalgia from my Elementary and Middle School days and as I surely got older the creepy settings and memorable period (Most if not all his stories take place in the 1950's)characters he created always stayed with me shaping my love for the Gothic mystery book. It can come as no surprise then that when I got older and got working I quickly started to buy Bellairs' work. The great thing about this author is he created 3 similar but different flavors in the John Bellairs for me always conjures up nostalgia from my Elementary and Middle School days and as I surely got older the creepy settings and memorable period (Most if not all his stories take place in the 1950's)characters he created always stayed with me shaping my love for the Gothic mystery book. It can come as no surprise then that when I got older and got working I quickly started to buy Bellairs' work. The great thing about this author is he created 3 similar but different flavors in the 3 characters that make up his stories. Each one is the main character of their respective series, each one is admirable in their own way, each one has vulnerabilities, each one has something inside them that makes them special. For the Mansion in the Mist our hero is called Anthony Monday and he's got a friend called Miss Eells. The Mansion in the Mist is one of the very first outings I took within Bellairs' Gothic mysteries. Unfortunately I started from the very last book in the series and worked my way backwards so if you'd like to do that start off with very first introduction to Anthony Monday get the book titled "The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn" 1978.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I'd read this books several times as an adolescent and I always thought kindly on it. I recently just reread it and realized it was crap. The book is filled with plot holes, deus ex machinae, ginormous leaps in logic that belie the author's unstructured story development. It's a perfect example of a NaNoWriMo, if such things existed when John Bellairs wrote this. Don't get me wrong, he's a talented guy, but I think he was capable of far more. There's evidence of that in his other novels! It's I'd read this books several times as an adolescent and I always thought kindly on it. I recently just reread it and realized it was crap. The book is filled with plot holes, deus ex machinae, ginormous leaps in logic that belie the author's unstructured story development. It's a perfect example of a NaNoWriMo, if such things existed when John Bellairs wrote this. Don't get me wrong, he's a talented guy, but I think he was capable of far more. There's evidence of that in his other novels! It's just that this one... sucks balls. It's still wildly evocative - he was a master at creating a time and place and weird images, that's undeniable. But I think he was often baffled by the people he made up, and to me that felt very evident in reading this book again. His characters in this novel are stupid and only stumble upon the right answers because he shoves the right answers in their pockets. Anthony and Miss Ells deserve far better. I couldn't help wondering if Brad Strickland could turn this wreck into an enjoyable read. Forget this one unless you WANT to put your eyes out with knitting needles and read one of Bellairs' Johnny Dixon stories instead.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I didn't like this one as much as The House With the Clock in its Walls. I read it in spurts with a lot of interruptions, so that probably didn't help. But the plot was just so inconceivable, and along those lines, I noticed something about Bellairs' plot construction: He will pull things out of thin air to suit the needs of the story. An example is the protective amulets: At first, no one (including Emerson, the owner of the amulets) thought that they had any power. But then, out of the blue, I didn't like this one as much as The House With the Clock in its Walls. I read it in spurts with a lot of interruptions, so that probably didn't help. But the plot was just so inconceivable, and along those lines, I noticed something about Bellairs' plot construction: He will pull things out of thin air to suit the needs of the story. An example is the protective amulets: At first, no one (including Emerson, the owner of the amulets) thought that they had any power. But then, out of the blue, they gain magical powers that help Anthony smash the Logos Cube and get out of the Autarch's world alive. There are many similar plot elements with very thin explanations that left me scratching my head. I'll still recommend his books to kids, though, because I don't think leaps in logic are as hard to accept for a younger audience.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Danro

    I mostly liked this book due to Bellairs writing style. I'm not a huge fan of mystery since I don't like waiting until the end for the plot to unfold, so I was a tough grader on this book. It was written a while ago, but the creativity and imagination was very compelling. A boy and his friends, an older couple, stumble upon a way to travel to an alternate dimension. The plot is that they find out of the evil in the other dimension, and barely escape alive. They realize the evil creatures are I mostly liked this book due to Bellairs writing style. I'm not a huge fan of mystery since I don't like waiting until the end for the plot to unfold, so I was a tough grader on this book. It was written a while ago, but the creativity and imagination was very compelling. A boy and his friends, an older couple, stumble upon a way to travel to an alternate dimension. The plot is that they find out of the evil in the other dimension, and barely escape alive. They realize the evil creatures are planning on visiting the normal earth in hopes of taking over, which forces the friends to go back inside the dimension. This book unlocks lots of questions for the reader, which it only answers in the end. This brought me to give it 3 stars, even though it is one of my favorites.

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Serxner

    I am a HUGE John Bellairs fan. His death was a big blow, and I am afraid that I am not as big a fan of Brad Strickland as I would like to be. Bellairs had a way with weaving a plot and getting the reader drawn into the action. After a little while some of the plots do get predictable: Miss Ells breaks things, she and her brother doubt what Anthony senses/feels/sees, etc.... In the long run things sort themselves out (or do they...). The stories are light on the awful violence (but it does I am a HUGE John Bellairs fan. His death was a big blow, and I am afraid that I am not as big a fan of Brad Strickland as I would like to be. Bellairs had a way with weaving a plot and getting the reader drawn into the action. After a little while some of the plots do get predictable: Miss Ells breaks things, she and her brother doubt what Anthony senses/feels/sees, etc.... In the long run things sort themselves out (or do they...). The stories are light on the awful violence (but it does happen--people do die in these books, and they do not always die "nice" deaths.), and they are heavy on the psychological scares, which is really nice! I enjoy reading and rereading them. You have to hunt used bookstores for them now, because I am not sure how many titles are still in print.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Priscilla

    I just love John Bellairs so very much. They're my go-to books when I'm sick, depressed, exhausted, or otherwise have a reason that I need to take myself out of my head with something that demands no work in exchange for the reward. Every one has a spooky, atmospheric and/or cozy setting, an insecure and nerdy wallflower hero(ine), wacky and eccentric adults who are often witches or wizards and often grumpy with a heart of gold and who always bake the most amazingly gooey and delicious chocolate I just love John Bellairs so very much. They're my go-to books when I'm sick, depressed, exhausted, or otherwise have a reason that I need to take myself out of my head with something that demands no work in exchange for the reward. Every one has a spooky, atmospheric and/or cozy setting, an insecure and nerdy wallflower hero(ine), wacky and eccentric adults who are often witches or wizards and often grumpy with a heart of gold and who always bake the most amazingly gooey and delicious chocolate cakes and cookies, and utterly amoral and vicious magical bad guys who intend to take over the world and enslave humanity, usually beginning with the wallflower hero(ine). They're awesome. John Bellairs is often. He should have lived a whole lot longer than he did.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

    One of my favorites of Bellairs's, though I can't quite put my finger on it. Possibly because I have a certain fondness for isolated cabins on the water (the first half of the book is set in just such a one in northern Canada). It's one of his more supernatural fantastic ones--an alternate dimension in which Evil Magicians have created an Evil World Always Night--but at least he didn't fall into the formulaic. I confess that I still can't help but wonder why there was one gateway into that One of my favorites of Bellairs's, though I can't quite put my finger on it. Possibly because I have a certain fondness for isolated cabins on the water (the first half of the book is set in just such a one in northern Canada). It's one of his more supernatural fantastic ones--an alternate dimension in which Evil Magicians have created an Evil World Always Night--but at least he didn't fall into the formulaic. I confess that I still can't help but wonder why there was one gateway into that alternate dimension waaaayyyyy up in northern Canada and another down in Hoosac (Anthony's home town) Perhaps Bellairs might have come back to elaborate on that point a bit, had he lived.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sonia B

    In my book The Mansion in the Mist, a boy Anthony works as an library person with his older friend Ms.Ells. During a fun summer trip to Canada the friends will discover other worlds besides there own. With help from Ms.Ells brother Mr.Ells, the three friends will travel to these world fighting evil. If they don't make it back the portal will close and they will be trapped an die if the king of that world finds them. In this book brother and sister, Mr. and Mrs.Ells are so diffrent. They like In my book The Mansion in the Mist, a boy Anthony works as an library person with his older friend Ms.Ells. During a fun summer trip to Canada the friends will discover other worlds besides there own. With help from Ms.Ells brother Mr.Ells, the three friends will travel to these world fighting evil. If they don't make it back the portal will close and they will be trapped an die if the king of that world finds them. In this book brother and sister, Mr. and Mrs.Ells are so diffrent. They like diffrent tea,

  25. 4 out of 5

    Natlukens

    I thought this story was so neat. I wished I had read these books as a kid. I wanted something light and quick to read so I picked this up on a whim from the junior fiction section. I chose it because the cover was very Edward Gorey-esque (and came to find it was actually drawn by him). I liked the writing, the story was creepy and very creative. It was well paced, and not typical of some fiction written for this age group which can often be pretty dumbed down, or silly when it's trying to be I thought this story was so neat. I wished I had read these books as a kid. I wanted something light and quick to read so I picked this up on a whim from the junior fiction section. I chose it because the cover was very Edward Gorey-esque (and came to find it was actually drawn by him). I liked the writing, the story was creepy and very creative. It was well paced, and not typical of some fiction written for this age group which can often be pretty dumbed down, or silly when it's trying to be whimsical. I look forward to reading more of this author.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Three for nostalgia. Bellairs' formula is a little to obvious in this Anthony Monday/ Miss Eells/Emerson Eells mystery. A good creepy start with a haunted vacation house and another world but Anthony is, as always, dull, and Miss Eells not much better. Emerson gets all the good lines and is annoyingly smug. These had stopped circulating in my middle school so I took them home for a trip through memory lane but I think Lewis and Rose Rita have it all over Anthony.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    This book follows Bellairs experimentation with his own formula: there's still a plot to destroy the world, but this threat comes from inside a trunk, a trunk that is an interdimensional portal. Way more scifi than his other works (except for TROLLEY TO YESTERDAY), it is still enjoyable. I don't like how whiney the young characters can get, but I love the cantankerous nature of his senior characters.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Not one if his best efforts, I'm afraid-- er, actually, I wasn't afraid. Bellairs is at his best when he's showcasing the effects of guilt on people's behavior- and there's none of that here. There's no conflict between the main characters-- and Emerson is just too willing to believe Anthony's crazy story about the chest. I do wish Bellairs had spent more time explaining the otherworld-- that would have really improved the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    I initially found this book a bit off-putting (the jacket recommendation "author of ___ which ___ called 'entertaining'" hardly screams "read this guy's stuff!"), but it kind of sucked me in on a slow book week. A quick easy read and somewhat entertaining, I might try another Bellairs book if it jumped off the shelf at me (they do that sometimes, you know).

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    3 STARS "A new Gothic horror story for middle readers from the author of The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring. Summer vacation soon turns to terror at a house on a desolate island when Anthony finds a magic trunk that transports him and his friends to a parallel world, where a maniacal group has a deadly plan." (From Amazon) A great mystery paranormal children's novel.

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