Friday, April 8, 2016

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne


Grave robbing is a messy business. A bad business.

And for Thomas Marsden, on what was an unremarkable spring night in London, it becomes a very spooky business. For lying in an unmarked grave and half covered with dirt is a boy the spitting image of Thomas himself.

This is only the first clue that something very strange is happening. Others follow, but it is a fortune teller’s frightened screams that lead Thomas into a strange world of spiritualists, death and faery folk.

Faery folk with whom Thomas’s life is bizarrely linked. Faery folk who need his help.

Desperate to unearth the truth about himself and where he comes from, Thomas is about to discover magic, and ritual, and that sometimes, just sometimes, the things that make a boy ordinary are what make him extraordinary.


I quite enjoyed The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden.  The opening line immediately caught my attention: "Thomas Marsden was eleven years old when he dug up his own grave". I found Thomas to be a thoroughly engaging character who after opening a grave and seeing a face identical to his own, even down to the birthmark, is stunned to discover his connections to a captive band of fairies.  These fairies have been held captive for many years by a spiritualist named Mordecai who uses the fairies to communicate with the dead, making himself a fortune, but slowly killing off the fairies until only a few remain.  Deadnettle, the oldest of the remaining fairies, knows that Thomas is the fairies only remaining hope of ever escaping London and returning to the own world.  But he knows that Thomas isn't likely to believe him right off and so he leaves messages for the boy to find that eventually leads the boy to him.  But it turns out that things are more complicated than even Deadnettle knows and the fairies time is running out rapidly.  Can Thomas and his new fairy friend, Marigold find a way to escape Mordecai, or are the fairies doomed to live out their remaining years in captivity?  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Thomas and his growing awareness of who he is and whether he wants to help the fairies after being seemingly thrown away.  And I found it interesting that the wise mentor isn't as wise as he thinks he is, it turns out that he is operating based on an incomplete understanding of the fairy queen's actions.  This added tension to the story and a couple of interesting twists at the end.  A fun, middle grade fantasy with some interesting twists, and a new take on fairies.

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