Guide/Reviews Database
Mabbitt, Will

Embassy of the Dead

(2) 4-6 Illustrated by Taryn Knight. The Embassy of the Dead has a problem. A cursed finger, longing to be reunited with its body so that the spirit within can wreak havoc, has been delivered not to the agent who was supposed to receive it but to a perfectly normal living boy. Jake's boring life is turned upside down when he mistakenly accepts this parcel of vital importance from a ghostly undertaker. He quickly finds himself pursued by spirits both nasty and helpful, doing his best to learn about the afterlife while running to preserve the one he has. A colorful cast of the undead, featured in atmospheric black-and-white illustrations, enlivens the plot. Stiffkey the kindly undertaker, Bad Penny the Undoer, Zorro the ghost fox, and even the insufferably posh poltergeist Cora Sanderford have very human traits that draw them to Jake as they aid in his quest. Not everyone is so lovely, though, and the villains that pursue our protagonist are truly ghastly. Frightful chases through the British countryside in a campervan, and the ins-and-outs of a ghost office, may seem fantastic, but Jake's struggle with his parents' divorce strikes a relatable chord and provides a nice opportunity for Jake to grow emotionally (in the few seconds he gets to catch his breath). The story is earnest, spooky, and cheerfully bleak. Those with a taste for dark tales will certainly enjoy following Jake on his gothic adventure.


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