PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

Review: The Slither Sisters – Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #2 / Author: Charles Gilman / Publisher: Quirk Books / Release Date: Out Now

The school term continues at Lovecraft Middle School, possibly the only institution to have a grand painting of H.P. Lovecraft hanging on the wall of the Principal's office – and they wonder why bizarre things keep happening all the time. Following the defeat of Professor Gargoyle (still laughing at that 'Garfield Goyle' joke), little Robert Arthur and chums could be forgiven for hoping things might settle down a bit. Not so: enter the Price sisters, and their sinister plans to abduct the entire seventh grade. Well, you've got to think big.

The Slither Sisters (no relation to the camp pop/rock band) is a worthy follow-up to Gilman's opening entry in the series. Free from the constraints of a series opener, all of the elements are already in place for a thrilling, mildly chilling adventure. There are not many kids' books with the guts to open with one of the pupils being violently eaten by a giant tentacle monster. This is beautifully illustrated by Eugene Smith, whose drawings remain a highlight. It's a shame that Tales from Lovecraft Middle School is a book for kids, since the adults' book market is desperately missing something Lovecraftian. But hey, if it's socially acceptable for you to read Harry Potter on the bus or tube, us horror-hounds should be allowed The Slither Sisters. As a bonus, you can even use the spooky lenticular cover to freak out other passengers.

This second entry takes in the usual Lovecraftian incantations, references to the maestro's stories and even a field trip to the Dunwich seaport. Most of its references will be lost on young readers, but eagle-eyed parents and adult fans will enjoy them. There really is something for all the family. Kids who enjoyed Goosebumps, The Spiderwick Chronicles and A Series of Unfortunate Events should eat up Gilman's tales. With this superior sequel, Lovecraft Middle School is going from strength to strength. Now, if only someone could convince Stuart Gordon to direct the adaptations...

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