Tony DiTerlizzi
& Holly Black,
The Wrath of Mulgarath
(Simon & Schuster, 2004)

Hard on the heels of unspeakable slaughter, the three Graces -- Jared, Simon and Mallory -- must face their direst challenge yet.

Mulgarath, shape-shifting ogre and leader of a fierce goblin army, has stolen the field guide that will give him untold power over the fey. From his makeshift palace in a nearby junkyard, he launches a terrible assault on the Grace family; Jared, former keeper of the guide, has knowledge that could interfere with the ogre's plans.

The children, only recently escaped from captivity and witness to horrors beyond their years, come home to find the Spiderwick mansion invaded, their belongings destroyed and their mother vanished. (Note to self: When parents won't believe your tales of faerie mischief, arrange to have them kidnapped; it readjusts their way of thinking on certain issues.) So, with the aid of a timid house brownie, a hobgoblin of questionable bravery and loyalty, and a semi-tamed griffin, they set out for the junkyard to rescue their mom. But plans don't always go as expected, and their are goblins, dragons and worse in their path. Perhaps a voice from the past will offer some assistance as well...?

The Wrath of Mulgarath is fifth and final book of The Spiderwick Chronicles, a delightfully grim young-adult series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. Solidly constructed and a pleasure to hold, the book is the darkest chapter in the series. This is no lark of a summer's day adventure; the Graces face real dangers and suffer real losses as they match wits and youthful courage against terrible odds.

This final book is fast-paced, picking up immediately after the conclusion of The Ironwood Tree and rushing to its final climax. The entire series works well as a whole, with plenty of humor and everyday sorts of problems interspersed among the more serious threats and occasional violence. DiTerlizzi's expressive and highly detailed artwork is a wonderful addition to the text.

While not appropriate for the very youngest of children, who might be disturbed by images of ogres and goblins, this series will be loved by children and young adults, standing on a par with Harry Potter without the same time commitment needed to wade through such weighty tomes. The Spiderwick Chronicles are a new classic fantasy-adventure story that should find a home wherever there is a child with an imagination or anyone who needs his sense of wonder fanned.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 6 August 2004

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