BOOK BLOG: C.J. Haslam

Orla and the Serpent’s Curse: a wonderfully spooky adventure that had me thrilled!

eujay_rwoae4y2h(Proof copy sent to me by the wonderful Walker books!)

“A long-dead Cornish witch to thwart and a curse to stop – it’s just another family holiday. Orla thought she was in for a relaxing break, but when she finds a mysterious glowing necklace in the woods, it turns out there is a slight possibility she may have uncovered a witch’s ancient curse. After meeting a coven of suspicious old ladies, it becomes clear that Orla’s arrival in Cornwall is no longer a coincidence. The curse is poisoning the land and destroying everything it touches, and Orla is the one person who can stop it. But she’ll need help from the only other member of the family with good instincts – Dave the dog.”

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Orla and the Serpent’s Curse was a book that when I heard of it made my heart jump with delight. It spoke to me because it hits ALL of my buttons: magic, curses, secrets, lies. 

Orla (that’s what I’m going to shorten it to because there’s a lot of words in that title!) tells the story of a young girl named Orla who finds herself on holiday in Cornwall with her family and her brilliant dog Dave. While she’s on holiday, strange things start to happen and she ends up finding a mysterious precious necklace. The necklace leads Orla to a world of discoveries, magic and a curse on an island that just needs to be lifted. 

This book had me from the get go. Just reading the press release, I was like YES GIVE THIS TO ME. This book sat on my ‘Lockdown TBR’ pile and it just kept shouting at me and I am so glad that I picked it up and read it. 

So you’ve got this brilliant young girl who is full of curiousity and adventure, who ends up not going to France like she hoped, but in Cornwall where it’s wet, grey and not as fun, but she still manages to make it a great holiday. She and her dog go on adventures through the forest and end up finding a mysterious young girl and a mysterious necklace. She learns about the curse which has been put on the town and wants to know more. When she asks around, she finds a mysterious coven of pellers (witches) who teach her more about the history behind the curse and this knowledge puts Orla in an awful lot of danger…

I loved the characters in this story. You really get to know them in a very short space of time. Orls is a great main character because she’s curious, brave and full of a sense of adventure. She’s a character I think kids will relate to because she’s afraid, but brave; bold, but hesitant; gutsy, but shy. There were characters who surprised me; characters who betrayed me; characters who shocked me. Dave the dog is an absolute hero of this book and I would like to start a fan club for him. Her brothers are great too. I like that they stuck by her even though she was making mistakes! Where there is a curse, there is always witches. The witches are a fascinating set of characters to read, so seeing them in a slightly different light and in a more modern world was great to read.

This book is full of adventure and enough peril for younger readers to not be entirely frightened out of their minds, but to want to read on. I was gripped from the get go and I know that this book is going to fit SO incredibly well in my classroom library and I can’t wait to give it to my class (whenever that might be). I’d say this is perfect for Year 4 readers up!

My Goodreads review:

BLOODY BRILLIANT. This is a totally magical story set in Cornwall: a young girl, a curse, a magical necklace and her brilliant dog named Dave. I was enraptured from the first chapter and I couldn’t put this down. Bloody brilliant. The twist at the end THRILLED me!

And that’s it! Thanks for stopping by! Massive thank you to the publishers, Walker Books, for sending me a review copy of this book! I can’t wait to put it in my classroom library.

Have you read Orla and the Serpent’s Curse?
Would you be brave enough to take on a curse?
If you could be magical, what powers would you have?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I will speak to you all soon!

S x 

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