Roderick and the Creeping Evil by F.M. McQueen
Harriet is asleep in her bed, when suddenly she is woken by something white and shimmering in her room. It is a pathway between worlds opening, and there is a wizard coming through!
The Wizard of Endor claims to know Harriet’s father who recently passed away. And he says that the world that he has just come from is in grave danger. He needs Harriet’s help. Before Harriet knows it, she is transported to an old castle and meets two unlikely characters – the marmot Roderick and the squirrel Pepin. The Wizard tells them all about the Creeping Evil, a yellow fog that is seeping out of the earth and threatening to change the hearts of all it touches. And it’s up to the three friends to find the only person who might be able to stop it! The mysterious Anoushka lives far away, and the journey to find her will be dangerous. They’ll need plenty of help, from pixies, riders and elves – and they will find plenty who wish to do them harm, such as goblins!
Roderick and the Creeping Evil is the sequel to Roderick and the Wizard of Endor (2019). It is inspired by both New Zealand’s mountainous southern landscape and fantasies such as The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia Chronicles. It has all the hallmarks of a good fantasy adventure – a long journey, helpful guides, magical visions, the threat of a terrible evil approaching. Written by a New Zealand author, it is definitely worth the read. Primary school children right up to young adults will find excitement within its pages. It can be read without reading the first book, but no doubt fans who engage with the world of the Mountains of Endor will want to check out both.
Along with plenty of fun and suspense, there are some wonderful animal and human characters. The marmot Roderick and his concern for his friends is particularly endearing. He proves, along with Pepin and Harriet, that you don’t have to be big to do great things.
Reviewer: Susannah Whaley