Friday, February 7, 2014

Groosham Grange

cover of Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz
I'm always looking for new books, even when they aren't necessarily newly published. That's how I happened to come across Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz. I know Horowitz as the creator and screenwriter of Foyle's War. He's also written episodes for other television series, such as Midsomer Murders. I know that Horowitz also did the Alex Rider series of spy books for kids that I have on my TBR pile. So when I saw Groosham Grange on the shelves at the local library, I picked it up.

As I started to read the book, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that the book was eerily similar to the Harry Potter stories. Instead of being an orphan, David Eliot is the seventh son of a seventh son. HIs parents make the Dursleys look like ideal parents. As David is expelled from his most recent boarding school, his parents receive an offer from Groosham Grange to take on David. David is quickly bundled off to the school, which is reached by a train ride, and the school itself is on a secluded island. The students and teachers at the school are strange, and as David nears his thirteenth birthday, he feels the tension pick up.

Notice any similarities yet? Yep, it was very like the Potter books in spirit. It turns out that Groosham Grange is a school for wizards and witches. The teachers include a werewolf (named Leloup, French for wolf, like Lupin) and a ghost. Hold on a minute! I went to look at the publication date, and (strong>Groosham Grange came out in 1988. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone came out in 1997. Horowitz didn't go to the lawyers and sue. Instead, he just thanked J.K. Rowling for contributing to young adult fiction in the UK. How do you like them grapes?

Groosham Grange is a good read. It's much shorter than any of the Potter books and much darker in tone. Read the book yourself, and see what you think. All the Potter readers should give Groosham Grange a try. You will not be disappointed.

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