The year is 1848. It is a time when magic and ghosts exist.
Four Magnificent Children are captured by Badblood’s Circus.
Theo can look into your eyes and reveal your secret thoughts, which come out of his mouth like a swarm of bees.
Ginny has a bird called Blue living inside her. Her ribs are woven together to form a birdcage. Blue perches on a swing made from one of her ribs.
And the Thought-reading Twins, Archie and Millie Luxbridge, have an extraordinary ability to read each other s minds.
They become stars of the circus but are unaware that Badblood has a dark and secret plan.
One hundred years later the children’s ghosts appear on an island off the coast of Ireland where a boy called Rua befriends them. Rua discovers that a terrible fate awaits them and, in a desperate race against time, he struggles to learn how they may be saved.
Originally Published: October 2016
Publisher: Poolbeg Press
To say I loved this book would be a bit of an understatement. I devoured it. It’s not often that I finish reading a book in less than 24 hours. I will admit, when I first found out about the book and read the blurb, I thought it was strangely similar to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but after watching the film, and now after reading The Ghosts of Magnificent Children, while they have some similarities, they are very different to each other. In fact, I can tell you now, the only similarities between the two are that the characters in both titles have ‘special abilities’.
For a children’s book, this was very different from what I’ve read before. It was dark and eerie in parts, but thrilling and kept me hooked and reading page after page. I found the book very hard to put down. My favourite had to be the children and their special abilities. Ginny and Blue, her little bird that lived in her rib-cage were my favourite of all the children, followed closely by Millie and her ability to change back and forth into a fox. I loved how the story is split into two parts, the first half in 1848 tells the story of the children and how they met and became part of Badblood’s Circus, followed by the second half which is set in 1948 were the children return as ghosts and meet Rua, who has to help them from the Island Keepers of Inis Rua. It’s a fantastic story, very different from what I’ve ever read before.
This was Caroline Busher’s debut novel, and she’s off to a wonderful start. I can’t wait to read her next book The Girl Who Ate Stars which is due for release in 2017, also by Poolbeg. If Ghosts of the Magnificent Children was anything to go by, I’m sure it will be just as awesome!
I’d recommend this book for fans of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and those who like their children’s stories a little more grim than the usual ones. I also thought there were some hints of American Horror Story in there too, just not as gruesome or violent. For me this was right up my alley, but I’ve always been a fan of the paranormal, so if that’s what you’re into then this book might be perfect for you.
Related Reading: Things That Go Bump In The Night by Caroline Busher (guest-post)