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Monday 15 February 2010

The Thirteen Treasures [Review]

Written by: Michelle Harrison.
Published by: Simon and Schuster UK.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 5th January 2009.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: While visiting her grandmother's house, an old photograph leads Tanya to an unsolved mystery. Fifty years ago a girl vanished in the woods nearby - a girl Tanya's grandmother will not speak of. Fabian, the caretaker's son, is tormented by the girl's disappearance. His grandfather was the last person to see her alive, and has lived under suspicion ever since. Together, Tanya and Fabian decide to find the truth. But Tanya has her own secret: the ability to see fairies. And, after disturbing an intruder in the night, it emerges that someone else shares her ability ...The manor's sinister history is about to repeat itself ...

A stunning debut novel that I absolutely devoured. I read this last year and have read it several times since. The writing is top class, beautiful and easy to read, yet at the same time, it doesn’t feel as if the writing has been dumbed down so that younger audiences can keep up. When reading it, there is no doubt as to why it was awarded the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize for 2009.

These are not the fairies you’d associate with Disney. These fairies are dangerous, and torturous. They hate that Tanya can see them, and so want to make her life hell. There are many stories about fairies out there, but what is magical about The Thirteen Treasures is that it feels completely original. One of the fairies stood out more for me and that is Brunswick, an ugly little goblin, who suffers beatings from his fellow goblins. Something I loved so much about the goblins was how they talk in rhyme and cannot understand anything said unless it rhymes. This I thought added real character, and also showed that a lot of thought went into the characters.

Tanya, the main character is entirely likable. In some books, there are characters that have annoying traits in their personality, and do silly things, but with Tanya, everything about her is anything but annoying. Fabian, another main character, is equally as excellent. His dedication to Tanya is very admirable. What I liked about this book is that there are some heroes that have to go it alone completely, wheras in The Thirteen Treasures, friendship and loyalty are very important.

Overall, The Thirteen Treasures is an excellent read. Compelling and beaurifully writte, it will be appreciated by people of all ages, male and female (although the cover is a bit of a deterent to male readers). And what with the second book in the series, The Thirteen Curses published last month (January 2010), and a third book titled The Thirteen Wards due next year, Harrison’s career in literature looks set to flourish.

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US


  1. I can't tell you how much I loved this book. The 13 Curses is amazing too, and Michelle is ace!

  2. Great review - I was thinking about reading this one but now I'll definitely add it to my list :o)

  3. This book has been on my wishlist for a while and after reading your review I'm sure I'll love it :)

    It kind of reminds me a little of the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr(although that's YA), but the main character there can also see faery's and they are not very nice.

  4. Great review, Ryan! I have this and it's sequel sitting on my TBR pile. I really like the sound of these books, I really should read them soon!
    I found your point about the cover and male readers interesting. As I was reading the review, before I got to that comment, I thought it a little odd, but brilliant, that you had read this book, simply because the cover isn't completely guy-friendly. If you don't mind me asking, what made you pick it up?

    (Sorry, I just have an issue with covers/books that seem to alienate guys and have them miss out for fear of looking stupid or something similar, where it's perfectly fine for a girl to read boys' books. Oooh, it annoys me!)

  5. I had seen the book when browsing in Waterstones and thought it looked interesting. I'm not so fussy on covers really. I generally like most cover art. Haha. I read the blurb and thought it sounded amazing. Brought it. Read it. Loved it. :) And it winning the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and getting some brilliant reviews, I couldn't resist.

  6. Ahh, that's cool! It's great to find a guy who isn't too concerned with covers and is more interested with the content. I think there are so many guys out there missing out on great books, it's great that you're not! :)

  7. I need to read this. Everyone is the blogosphere loves it and so do my students.