Review: Substitute Creature – Tales From Lovecraft Middle School #4 / Author: Charles Gilman / Publisher: Quirk Books / Release Date: Out Now
Substitute Creature is the fourth in the Tales From Lovecraft Middle School series by Charles Gilman but can also be read as a standalone novel. Aimed at approximately 9-11 year olds, the collection follows the continuing adventures of twelve-year-old Robert Arthur.
We meet Robert and his best friend Glenn Torkells as they balance precariously on a narrow ledge, four floors up at Lovecraft Middle School. As you may have guessed, this isn’t your average academic institution. The boys have discovered that the school was built on the remains of Tillinghurst Mansion, the home of mad physicist Crawford Tillinghurst. His bungled experiments have led to the mansion still existing in a parallel universe which can be accessed by portals scattered throughout the school. Through these gates numerous creatures such as snake people and giant insects have appeared to wreak havoc in the school. In this latest instalment, the danger comes from a new librarian who might well be a zombie. What terrible creatures is she trying to free into the school?
Horror for pre-teens is a small genre but when composed well has the potential to reach cult status, as was achieved by the well loved Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Tales From Lovecraft Middle School has all the ingredients to follow in the same footsteps with superb characters, imaginative creatures and fabulous illustrations. The first thing you’ll notice is the cover, a holographic image of the ‘substitute creature’ herself that turns from normal lady to grinning demon in a way that could unnerve an adult let alone children. Fun, freaky and fast-paced, this novel is perfect for those pre-teens who find themselves enjoying a darker style of entertainment but aren’t quite ready for teen content.