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Spellhound by Lian Tanner



Lian Tanner is a highly recognisable name in YA fiction. An award-winning author known for her eclectic lifestyle (she was arrested while busking and even dynamited while scuba diving) and knowledge of young people’s narratives, most likely from her time as a classroom teacher. Now living in Tasmania, Tanner is a wonderful writer and able to keep readers engaged throughout her fascinating worlds and characters.


Like her previous writings, Spellbound is a thoroughly entertaining piece that follows Flaxseed (known more casually as Flax) in her magical forested world set high in the clouds. Her job? Destroyer of Dragons and Protector of the People. You can imagine the expectations that go along with such a high title. Being a minch-wiggin, Flax is a remarkable young thing with an incredible range of abilities handed down to her from her ill grandfather. The burden of such a high task can be tough for such a young person, but she finds a level of comfort in the fact that she hasn’t been challenged with any dragons.


Then she meets a Spellhound, another mystical creature that are vital to this forest of the sky, and Flax recognises that there is trouble building. A dragon is back. So starts an adventure that Flax neither asked for, nor wanted. However, she finds the confidence within her to set off on a journey to help and protect her people. She has to help the Spellhound pup find his parents who were stolen by the dragon.


This is the first in a series of novels about the adventures of Flax and her spellbound pup.


It’s interesting to see the narrative style of Tanner, who speaks directly to the reader throughout the story, checking in on the reader and warning about things that are coming up in the plot. It’s a great take on the normal storytelling style, which makes the reader feel directly connected with as the story unfolds.


Reviewer: Chris Reed

Allen & Unwin

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