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The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave. The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave.


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The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave. The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave.

30 review for Mortlock

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    As an avid reader of gothic fiction, I was wary of Mortlock from the cover (as a bookseller, I shouldn’t be judging a book by the cover, I know, I know, but I’m only human!). A decayed hand thrust up forth from its grave, an unnaturally sized crow looming forth under the book’s title. One can easily guess the genre from a quick glimpse however, the story itself is prime and well-told. Mayhew uses well-woven threads of mystery and intrigue to form a terrific plot and back-story. Using themes of V As an avid reader of gothic fiction, I was wary of Mortlock from the cover (as a bookseller, I shouldn’t be judging a book by the cover, I know, I know, but I’m only human!). A decayed hand thrust up forth from its grave, an unnaturally sized crow looming forth under the book’s title. One can easily guess the genre from a quick glimpse however, the story itself is prime and well-told. Mayhew uses well-woven threads of mystery and intrigue to form a terrific plot and back-story. Using themes of Victorian vaudeville and Stoker-esque, gothic tones, we have before us one of the better fables to emerge in the last decade of children’s books. These days, it has become exceptionally difficult to find excellent literature for children, particularly in the 9-12 age bracket. The media and more importantly, quite a lot of bookshops have proclaimed a certain boy wizard and his blonde creator as the re-inventors of children’s books. Furthermore, a certain vampiric series of kids books has in conjunction with the boy wizard often been credited with getting kids to read again. As a result, many parents seem to feel that if a book lacks vampires or a boy with a scar on his forehead who happens to be magical, the book isn’t worth reading. I strongly contend this idea. A good storyteller is fundamentally, very different to good writing and few people nowadays seem to be able to tell the difference. Mortlock is not only excellently written, it is fitting for the 9-12 age bracket, a notoriously difficult span to conquer in the chasm of literature. Although, this too is about magic and the unnatural, it lacks all the stereotypical cliches that have come to dominate the genre and importantly, it is a challenging read for the younger generation to get their teeth into. The story is enthralling and likewise, it is fit for adults too. I’m not going to detail the plot as I despise spoilers, but I do heartily encourage readers to go out and discover the magic that is Mortlock and hopefully, to enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Danby

    I wouldn't usually read this type of book, but I found it in the back of my cupboard and I thought I should give it a try. After reading the prologue I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but I carried on and it was surprisingly quite good. It only took me a few days to read it all (I'm a slow reader, 2 days is good for me). It had some very cliché parts, but overall the plot and the whole book was good I wouldn't usually read this type of book, but I found it in the back of my cupboard and I thought I should give it a try. After reading the prologue I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but I carried on and it was surprisingly quite good. It only took me a few days to read it all (I'm a slow reader, 2 days is good for me). It had some very cliché parts, but overall the plot and the whole book was good

  3. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Victoria Murphy (CazzReadsYA)

    This book is generally aimed at people younger than me, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. I read this as part of my Halloween book challenge, and it sent chills through my spine more than once. All the characters are well developed, especially the two main characters: twins Josie and Alfie. At the beginning of the book we are introduced to Mortlock who is the character mentioned on the cover, and two of his friends Chrimes and Corvis. They are searching for a flower called an Amarant, bu This book is generally aimed at people younger than me, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. I read this as part of my Halloween book challenge, and it sent chills through my spine more than once. All the characters are well developed, especially the two main characters: twins Josie and Alfie. At the beginning of the book we are introduced to Mortlock who is the character mentioned on the cover, and two of his friends Chrimes and Corvis. They are searching for a flower called an Amarant, but we are not told much about the flower at that point. Both Josie and Alfie are great characters to read about, although I did take a dislike to Alfie when he made his first appearance, but I soon fell in love with his character. The side characters are also fantastic, and the aunts are extremely creepy. The plot itself is very original, and there wasn't any part of the book that was slow or uninteresting for me. I found myself reading this book from start to finish in six hours. To summarise? If you love creepy, gory books, then this is for you. When you close the book, you will want to sleep with the light on.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Polly Clarke

    Ghoulish, gory and grim - a delightful mix of the macabre! This book made me squirm more than a few occasions it was so brilliantly written. Wonderful Halloween reading choice. A favourite!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott Roberts

    Excellent story plot and book cover. I give this book 5 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Fantastically imagined horror set in the Victorian era following the story of orphaned twins Josie and Alfie as they try to uncover the mystery of a secret connected to their past, that has been passed on to them in in a note by Josie's dying guardian. A really great atmospheric chiller which is heavy on the gore for a kid’s book. And why not? Although it’s billed as a trilogy these historical horror novels can happily be read as standalone novels as the further books head into demon and djinns Fantastically imagined horror set in the Victorian era following the story of orphaned twins Josie and Alfie as they try to uncover the mystery of a secret connected to their past, that has been passed on to them in in a note by Josie's dying guardian. A really great atmospheric chiller which is heavy on the gore for a kid’s book. And why not? Although it’s billed as a trilogy these historical horror novels can happily be read as standalone novels as the further books head into demon and djinns with new plots. What’s not to like from the always very readable Jon Mayhew?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paloma Hiles

    The story is really good and spooky, not too gory. I wouldn't have chosen that book cover to reflect the story though... Think spooky circus, scary crows, haunted House... Lots of adventure... A really good read. The story is really good and spooky, not too gory. I wouldn't have chosen that book cover to reflect the story though... Think spooky circus, scary crows, haunted House... Lots of adventure... A really good read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Livia [ Livvy ]

    I loved this!!! (really gloomy tho)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey O'Halloran

    I truly felt that when I decided to start reading this book that I would hate it. Something about the cover/ description just didn’t appeal to me but I definitely wanted to give it a shot. The cover is a very evil green colour with a hand reaching out from the ground as well as black claws coming down from the top. Straight away, you know this book has an eerie feel to it and the black edged pages helped to add to that feeling. Jon Mayhew’s website (http://www.jonmayhew.co.uk/mortlock.htm) state I truly felt that when I decided to start reading this book that I would hate it. Something about the cover/ description just didn’t appeal to me but I definitely wanted to give it a shot. The cover is a very evil green colour with a hand reaching out from the ground as well as black claws coming down from the top. Straight away, you know this book has an eerie feel to it and the black edged pages helped to add to that feeling. Jon Mayhew’s website (http://www.jonmayhew.co.uk/mortlock.htm) states that this book is suitable for 8+ children. I have to strongly disagree with this though and a fair amount of it gave me the creeps and some parts were very disgusting and graphic. If I had read this book when I was 8 years old, I would have been terrified. I would actually be reluctant to recommend this to even 12 year olds, especially girls. I know my 12 year old cousin would have nightmares for days if she read this. The book begins with a prologue, explaining to the reader who Mortlock is and the kinds of things he has done in his life. The first part of the book is nothing like the rest of it though. I thought this was going to turn out to be some kind of action/ adventure through the jungle but I was so, so wrong. I did like how the book began, even if it was a little confusing at times but it did set the scene really well for what was to come. The diversity of characters was one of the main things that made this book so interesting. Josie is a knife thrower with her magician guardian, the Great Cardamom. Her brother, Alfie is an undertaker’s assistant. Pretty crazy jobs for 13 year olds but they suit them both really well. Josie, although not entirely comfortable with her life, makes the most of what she has and is determined to put things right in the world. I really felt for Josie when the ‘Aunts’ turned up and began to throw her whole life upside-down. Having already been through quite a lot and not having the most normal of lives, I didn’t want to see her go through any more hurt than was necessary. When Josie found out that she had a brother, she was not impressed and to be honest, neither was I. I really disliked him to begin with and found him to be much like a spoilt brat spitting his dummy out. He was selfish and obviously didn’t want a sister as much as Josie didn’t want a sister. It turns out that I judged him far too quickly and soon enough, he and Josie were much happier when they were together, even if they were running away from the crazy raven women. Coming to the ending, I have to say that I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. After all that had happened throughout the book up until this point, I was expecting this massive, all or nothing, kind of showdown but it wasn’t what I got. I think the excitement and mystery had been built up so much throughout the book that the ending would have had to have been huge in order to keep me happy. While the ending was good, I felt it was rushed and it should have gotten more attention and for this reason, I was left feeling disappointed. The pacing of this book was excellent. While there is quite a lot of adventure and action, there are also plenty of places which give you the chance to catch your breath. Once I had really gotten into this book, I didn’t want to put it down, wanting to find out what crazy idea Jon Mayhew would come up with next. Let’s just say that the ‘Aunts’ are not the only scary things going on. By the time I had finished reading this one, it was about 1am and I was utterly freaked out. There were so many things that I could have had nightmares about. Although not recommended for younger readers, Mortlock is a gothic, creepy read that will drag you in and not let go!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adil

    I decided to read this book because i found this book on the shelf of the library and the cover was irresistable. So i picked it up and started reading the Prologue. I was entregied about the starting and it hookedd me in. This book was a thriller. The category it fits is " A female main character" The reason why it fits this category is because the main character is Josie who is a female. Hahahahah. I liked reading this genre because in most books that i have read there always has been a male ma I decided to read this book because i found this book on the shelf of the library and the cover was irresistable. So i picked it up and started reading the Prologue. I was entregied about the starting and it hookedd me in. This book was a thriller. The category it fits is " A female main character" The reason why it fits this category is because the main character is Josie who is a female. Hahahahah. I liked reading this genre because in most books that i have read there always has been a male main charcter and this genre has helped me learn that boys are not the only ones that have the determination and the sterngth to take huge responsibility, girls can do the same. My favorite quote "Never to take the Amaranth from this place," said Corvis. This is my favourite because this was in the prologue which was what wanted me to read this book. Awesome!!!!! The truth is bitter but taccepting it is much better. This lesson is a cliche but is always a good lesson to teach children about truth and lies. This book has been the best book i have read in my whole life besides " Harry Potter." The character that i liked the most in the book was Alfie who was Josie's twin brother. Now why i like him is even more better because he has the power to bring little things to big things back to life. Basically, what the power of the Amarant is. This book is so suspenseful and makes you wan to be engaged. I loved it. I recommend this book to all ages and people especially who love to read suspense and adventurous book. Review By Adil IMRAN

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Reading this one for school. I has arrived but has the phrase "Death is not the end" so checking to see whether or not this is suitable for a KS2 reading book... The blurb: Josie is a knife thrower in the magician's stage act. Alfie is an undertaker's assistant. They are both orphans and they have never met, but they are about to be given a clue to the secret of a shared past. A past which has come back to seek them out. And while they flee for their lives, they must unravel the burning mysteries su Reading this one for school. I has arrived but has the phrase "Death is not the end" so checking to see whether or not this is suitable for a KS2 reading book... The blurb: Josie is a knife thrower in the magician's stage act. Alfie is an undertaker's assistant. They are both orphans and they have never met, but they are about to be given a clue to the secret of a shared past. A past which has come back to seek them out. And while they flee for their lives, they must unravel the burning mysteries surrounding the legacy that threatens to consume them." Well I am intrigued :-) This was well worth reading. I think the audience is probably in the 10-14 age bracket but it works well as cross-over fiction, like Harry Potter. I was entertained from start to finish. The description is not too scary but enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. i will certainly recommend this to my Year 6s - could be a bit scary for Year 3 and 4 children, but good readers in Year 5 and 6 would enjoy this. There are also some sophisticated references to Dante's Infernos and some clever quotes that could make higher level readers really think.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy Stagles

    I had the honour of being handed a copy of this book of the author himself. I was fascinated by the characters from the beginning and I was instantly hooked. Once I started reading this book, I couldn't stop until I had finished. It is one of those that when it is over, you struggle to come to terms with the fact that that is it for that story, the plot has come to a close. This book is a serious MUST READ for anyone who likes adventure, mystery and a sense of danger. I have to admit that even t I had the honour of being handed a copy of this book of the author himself. I was fascinated by the characters from the beginning and I was instantly hooked. Once I started reading this book, I couldn't stop until I had finished. It is one of those that when it is over, you struggle to come to terms with the fact that that is it for that story, the plot has come to a close. This book is a serious MUST READ for anyone who likes adventure, mystery and a sense of danger. I have to admit that even though I am not big on blood and gore, Jon Mayhew creates the perfect balance between stomach churning plot twists and a deep sense of family in this book. I have never been so hooked on a book in all my life. I read this book in just under four hours and I can honestly tell you that if you haven't read any other of Jon's books, once you have read this one, you will want to read them all.

  13. 5 out of 5

    AlexEatsBooks

    Though just 13 years old - Josie and Alfie go through hell and back, caught up in the whirlwind of their guardians past of darkness and power. I had a lot of fun reading this. Josie is bright and snappy, while Alfie is calm and reasoning - together they make a great team. Horribly gruesome at times as the Aunts are just down right creepy - the bad guys (while somewhat predictable) are nasty - but I would've liked to have seen more from them. The title refers to one of the explorers in the prologue Though just 13 years old - Josie and Alfie go through hell and back, caught up in the whirlwind of their guardians past of darkness and power. I had a lot of fun reading this. Josie is bright and snappy, while Alfie is calm and reasoning - together they make a great team. Horribly gruesome at times as the Aunts are just down right creepy - the bad guys (while somewhat predictable) are nasty - but I would've liked to have seen more from them. The title refers to one of the explorers in the prologue - and throughout the book there is constant mention of him - I am afraid to say that the build up towards the end is somewhat anti-climactic and rushed. But don't let that deter you from the meat of the story - something truly exciting and different!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I loved this book! It was beautifully written! The characters were great and I just couldn't put it down. It was so interesting and the ending was simply stunning and so unexpected. I can't find anything bad to say about this book. I really loved it. Its about 2 twins, a girl called Josie and a boy called Alfie who were seperated and raised by different people. Josie's guardian, the great magician Cardamom leaves her a note when he dies since her life will be in danger. He is a good character bu I loved this book! It was beautifully written! The characters were great and I just couldn't put it down. It was so interesting and the ending was simply stunning and so unexpected. I can't find anything bad to say about this book. I really loved it. Its about 2 twins, a girl called Josie and a boy called Alfie who were seperated and raised by different people. Josie's guardian, the great magician Cardamom leaves her a note when he dies since her life will be in danger. He is a good character but had a tough past. He informed her about a brother who she has never met and her incredible journey with her brother starts when she meets him. Also, you learn about the mysterious Mortlock who's whereabouts are unknown. But you learn the truth in this awsome book. Read it!! :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    This book has many twists and confusing plots that keeps you entertained however the book often changes pace making it interesting at one point and dull at another. Josie is a teenage girl living with her alcoholic guardian Cardamon, but when three strange ladies (The Aunts) appear at her door and kill Cardamon his dying wish being that she finds her brother. When she finds her twin Alfie together they embark on a mystery journey to find and destroy the amarant which is cursing their lives. Toget This book has many twists and confusing plots that keeps you entertained however the book often changes pace making it interesting at one point and dull at another. Josie is a teenage girl living with her alcoholic guardian Cardamon, but when three strange ladies (The Aunts) appear at her door and kill Cardamon his dying wish being that she finds her brother. When she finds her twin Alfie together they embark on a mystery journey to find and destroy the amarant which is cursing their lives. Together they protect each other and get themselves into a lot of danger. Yet again Jon Mayhew has wrote a good book with a confusing plot. However the drastic changing pace and continuous repetitive text 'Josie did this then Josie did that *yawn*' makes this book only 3 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    A totally stunning debut novel. Three explorers discover an exotic flower and let loose a curse. Many years later, orphans Josie and Alfie find themselves fleeing for their lives as terrifying events overtake them. To save themselves - from suspicious relatives, dangerous strangers and supernatural flocks of birds - they must confront the secrets of their past. A wonderful book. Riveting read,full of suspense, excitement and gore from page one. Maybe not for the slightly squeamish reader. Defini A totally stunning debut novel. Three explorers discover an exotic flower and let loose a curse. Many years later, orphans Josie and Alfie find themselves fleeing for their lives as terrifying events overtake them. To save themselves - from suspicious relatives, dangerous strangers and supernatural flocks of birds - they must confront the secrets of their past. A wonderful book. Riveting read,full of suspense, excitement and gore from page one. Maybe not for the slightly squeamish reader. Definitely 5 stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Samantha-Ellen Bound

    As a story of adventure and terror, Mortlock ultimately succeeds. It feels and reads like what it should – a tale of gothic horror. Atmosphere pervades the big set-pieces, like the dank city streets when Josie and Alfie get chased by ghuls; the soggy, swampy marshlands home to Lorenzo’s circus; or the interior of the crow-infested Lord Corvis’ mansion. Darkly entertaining and great fun. Full review at: http://bookgrotto.blogspot.com/search... As a story of adventure and terror, Mortlock ultimately succeeds. It feels and reads like what it should – a tale of gothic horror. Atmosphere pervades the big set-pieces, like the dank city streets when Josie and Alfie get chased by ghuls; the soggy, swampy marshlands home to Lorenzo’s circus; or the interior of the crow-infested Lord Corvis’ mansion. Darkly entertaining and great fun. Full review at: http://bookgrotto.blogspot.com/search...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hell

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. For a book that I picked up randomly at some discount shop, this wasn't half bad. There will be some big (and I mean major) spoilers ahead, so all in fair warn. It has the kind of gothic, Victorian adventure theme that I love and it's certainly an entertaining read for the age demographic. There are plenty of gruesome scenes for horror fans out there and intriguing characters come and go throughout the entire book, it's a fun and twisting ride whilst it lasts. However it does come to a very abrupt h For a book that I picked up randomly at some discount shop, this wasn't half bad. There will be some big (and I mean major) spoilers ahead, so all in fair warn. It has the kind of gothic, Victorian adventure theme that I love and it's certainly an entertaining read for the age demographic. There are plenty of gruesome scenes for horror fans out there and intriguing characters come and go throughout the entire book, it's a fun and twisting ride whilst it lasts. However it does come to a very abrupt halt. It's still a children's book filled with the typical children's book cliches. Dead parents. The father is usually the one missing, but who also turns out to be one of the big names of the book and the mother is typically 'that most beautiful woman who everyone loved' which ends up leading to a very loose and groaning love triangle that ends in tragedy because drama. Lead kids with lost siblings and mystical powers (or the ability of very good aim it seems.) Typically I saw most of the twists coming, but it's no surprise as it is just a children's book. It was a shame just how quickly things ended though, the entire book was leading up to Josie and Alfie finding the Amarant to destroy it, Lord Corvis kidnapping them and threatening to kill them (or at least one of them) so they'll reveal where it is and the Aunts with their weird crow thing all builds up to a whole heap of...nothing...it just ends really. Unfortunately I also didnt gel with our characters, Josie was supposed to be our hero I guess, but mostly ended up either just being really good at throwing knives or getting saved by others and Alfie was just...there...between the two with his power he had the most promise but it feels like he wasn't utilised to his full potential, which is a real shame. I think for me my main issue is that each character's morals changed at the drop of a pin. One of the Aunt's essentially gets her comeuppance, but Josie feels bad for her because even though she'd been an evil bitch up until this point, even being involved in the direct murders of those she loved, she "didn't deserve the torment." You find quite often that main characters think like that and I can't help but wonder if maybe I'm just a bit morbid for thinking that I'd let it happen, she would have deserved it and not my sympathy. But this sudden sympathetic outlook for a murdering psychopath comes from the same girl who thinks that a man is bad and essentially shouldn't be forgiven because he PLANNED to kill someone, all of which happens in the same chapter. I don't know, it just rubbed me the wrong way. Same with Mortlock suddenly changing his plans to take over the world with the Amarant because Josie is like: "You'd have to kill your own kids to do it," and up until this point he hadn't really met them and yeah it'd suck because well...they're his kids, he'd have no actual bond beyond the "I'm your dad," link. Especially when he goes to the length he did in the end. But once again, that's me being morbid and expecting a bit too much grittiness from a kid's book. All in all, it's an entertaining read and that's really what matters in the end despite certain gripes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    I don't read a lot of young adult books, and to tell the truth I grabbed this from a book sale not knowing it was a young adult book. Having said that, I thought this a fantastic read. The story centres around two children, who discover they are twins. Alfie and Josie are both raised by guardians, in what I presume is a period similar to sometime in the 1800s in England. Despite never meeting, they are thrown together as the result of a horrible circumstance, but for a quick bond. They must disco I don't read a lot of young adult books, and to tell the truth I grabbed this from a book sale not knowing it was a young adult book. Having said that, I thought this a fantastic read. The story centres around two children, who discover they are twins. Alfie and Josie are both raised by guardians, in what I presume is a period similar to sometime in the 1800s in England. Despite never meeting, they are thrown together as the result of a horrible circumstance, but for a quick bond. They must discover the location of of Aramant, and destroy it, for whoever possesses it can ruin the world. Hunter by all manner of evils, the pair narrowly escape certain death a number of times, and uncover secrets along the way. The conclusion of this novel feels a little rushed, but I think it a good conclusion for the overall story - it is a mix of a happy and sad ending. For a young adult book, this includes a lot of horror elements, so it probably wouldn't suit people too young. Having discovered it is the first in a trilogy, I would want to read the next two.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steven Davis

    My opinion on this varied as I went through it, but it's an easy/good read. It seemed like, towards the end, it would emerge as the first of a three-piece, but it resolved itself in one. A good level of detail; only slightly limited by being aimed at children. My opinion on this varied as I went through it, but it's an easy/good read. It seemed like, towards the end, it would emerge as the first of a three-piece, but it resolved itself in one. A good level of detail; only slightly limited by being aimed at children.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Webb

    If I'd read this book a little bit earlier in my life I think I would have given it 5 stars. I loved the storyline, the characters and the description but it was a bit too easy a read. I would definitely recommend it, perhaps to a younger audience though. If I'd read this book a little bit earlier in my life I think I would have given it 5 stars. I loved the storyline, the characters and the description but it was a bit too easy a read. I would definitely recommend it, perhaps to a younger audience though.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Lightwood

    A casual read . It's a children's book that I realised after going through it . Nevertheless it was a nice light read A casual read . It's a children's book that I realised after going through it . Nevertheless it was a nice light read

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rabya Imaan

    Read twice. Addicting with many details and a good, satisfactory ending.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aliyah

    Mortlock, like many of Mayhews other books, left me wanting more. I just couldn't tear my eyes away! It had me diving into another world and clutching onto every word. I love how the story is wound and every twist and turn had me on the edge of my seat with my heart pounding. Every book I've read of Mayhews has kept my attention throughout and I will continue to follow each story he conjures up from the depths of his creative mind. Mortlock, like many of Mayhews other books, left me wanting more. I just couldn't tear my eyes away! It had me diving into another world and clutching onto every word. I love how the story is wound and every twist and turn had me on the edge of my seat with my heart pounding. Every book I've read of Mayhews has kept my attention throughout and I will continue to follow each story he conjures up from the depths of his creative mind.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cat.

    Possibly the best part of this book is the complacent acceptance of supernatural elements that the characters exhibit. They are freaked out but only as much as they would be freaked out by a tree branch going through a window of their house. There is magic, long-life elixir (sorta), dead people walking, nasty human-like carrion birds....all the standard tropes of YA adventure of late. Not bad. I admit, I really bought it for the cover, though.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Venn

    *Edit* ‘Immortal Amarant, A flower which once in paradise, fast by the tree of life began to bloom but soon for man’s offence. To heaven removed where first it grew, there grows, and flowers aloft shading the fount of life.‘ - Paradise Lost, John Milton Mortlock is an interesting story of illusions and dark magic. It has a stunning story line and well described situations. The story is in the perspective of the third person, and although the book can confuse, it will not disappoint creative mind *Edit* ‘Immortal Amarant, A flower which once in paradise, fast by the tree of life began to bloom but soon for man’s offence. To heaven removed where first it grew, there grows, and flowers aloft shading the fount of life.‘ - Paradise Lost, John Milton Mortlock is an interesting story of illusions and dark magic. It has a stunning story line and well described situations. The story is in the perspective of the third person, and although the book can confuse, it will not disappoint creative minds. Do be warned that this genre is horror, so some people might find descriptions with a gruesome appeal. Three main characters are described throughout the whole story, one of them only being introduced at the end, which helps bind the story together. The main character introduced in the beginning is a girl named Josie. Another character, named Alfie is introduced later in the story as her twin. The two might be twins but in reality they have almost completely different personalities. Josie is strong yet she shows some elegance, while Alfie is less squeamish yet he has less of a dominant role. The entire book is the conflict of character against character, It begins with Josie being described as a circus act, capable of throwing knives without missing her mark. It continues as her uncle is thrown into the picture, the third person perspective describing his tempers and his unknown past. Throughout the story Josie struggles to figure out the truth about her father and her uncle’s past. The story of Mortlock has a semi non-fiction twist; The book is based on a flower known as the amarant, which is short for amaranth. The author, Jon Mayhew was creative enough to use the myth of amarant. It was distinguished as a flower of immortality because of its long blossom, which is brought into further detail in the story of Mortlock. This stunning arrangement is my favorite thing about the book, for it shows the creativity and possibilities in writing. Another interesting aspect of the book is the actual topic of Mortlock, which only makes sense at the ending of the story. My two favorite scenes include some of the most interesting conflicts that are represented in the story. The first was during the prologue, where Mortlock and his companions discover the amarant. When discovering the amarant, the three men had to witness the attacks of demonic creatures. Warnings and signs to leave the amarant were portrayed by the actions of the forest. They decide that for their own sakes, they must leave and promise to never return. My second favorite scene was when Josie and Alfie come across the mysterious Lorenzo’s circus. The scene was described cheerfully yet the author made note that there was something strange about the circus that wasn’t clear. As you continue into the book, more citation to the mysterious behavior and appearance to Lorenzo’s Circus. Overall the book was a great debut and had interesting features. Its theme was related to finding the power that you would have as an individual and courage for thats probably the main aspect that the characters had to adjust to.

  27. 5 out of 5

    SJH (A Dream of Books)

    When 'Mortlock' arrived in the post I really wasn't quite sure what to expect. The only thing I knew about it was that the book had been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2011. I didn't have any preconceived notions or judgements about it which makes it nice when you pick up a new book. Josie is a knife-thrower in a circus, accompanying The Great Cardamom, who is more like an honorary uncle to her. She's always believed that she was an only child until she discovers her orphan When 'Mortlock' arrived in the post I really wasn't quite sure what to expect. The only thing I knew about it was that the book had been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2011. I didn't have any preconceived notions or judgements about it which makes it nice when you pick up a new book. Josie is a knife-thrower in a circus, accompanying The Great Cardamom, who is more like an honorary uncle to her. She's always believed that she was an only child until she discovers her orphan brother Alfie, who has been working as an undertaker's assistant. The two children are thrown together in a search to discover the secret of their father and a strange flower called the Amarant which holds the ultimate power over life and death. The start of the book had an intriguing introduction, depicting the title character Mortlock, along with his two companions Chrimes and Corvis, searching for the flower. At this stage it's unclear exactly what's so special about the flower or why they want it but this sequence illustrates the different characters of the adventurers and sets up the events of the next part of the book. From here on in, the book blends together fantasy and reality creating a real sense of mystery, adventure and excitement. If you like your books with a generous dollop of gruesomeness then this is probably one for you. There are some particularly gory scenes and some really creepy characters throughout. Be warned that you probably won't want to read this one before bedtime but for those that do like a healthy amount of horror then this will definitely give you the frights. I thought that 'Mortlock' was a thrilling read with an exciting and surprising conclusion. It certainly kept me on my toes as I was reading it and was a real page-turner.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    This is one creepy book and while it was good it really wasn't for me as it was a bit too creepy and gory. The novel is set in Victorian London and follows the story of orphaned twins Josie and Alfie as they try to uncover the mystery of a secret connected to their past, that has been passed on to them in in a note by Josie's dying guardian. The story starts off at break neck pace and keeps it up throughout with engaging twists and turns. Despite being totally freaked out at some of the passages ( This is one creepy book and while it was good it really wasn't for me as it was a bit too creepy and gory. The novel is set in Victorian London and follows the story of orphaned twins Josie and Alfie as they try to uncover the mystery of a secret connected to their past, that has been passed on to them in in a note by Josie's dying guardian. The story starts off at break neck pace and keeps it up throughout with engaging twists and turns. Despite being totally freaked out at some of the passages (there are some truly horrible descriptions of evil birds attacking people) I had to keep reading to find out what happened. The most disturbing bits for me had to be when anyone was stuck in a house with the aunts and the section at the circus. It is quite a feat to freak me out but this book did it. My historical head loved the setting of victorian London with the descriptions of East End living and the truly horrible conditions people endured. Definitely not one for younger readers as there is a lot of gore throughout The story is very macarbe throughout and despite me not being keen on some of the content it is actually written very well. . The final ending was good (albeit still freakishly creepy) as it brought everything together well (I do like a nice ending which answers everything) and summed up and finished the story nicely.

  29. 4 out of 5

    SAFCSHANLI

    I enjoyed the book since had so much suspense. I really enjoyed how the author made great descriptive words for some of the characters. I greatly enjoyed it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

    Mortlock is about the story of Josie, and her adventures to fulfill her uncle's dying wish. After he is brought to the brink of death by three mysterious old ladies, he orders Josie to escape and find her brother, who she previously learned nothing about. Hunted for an object they do not have, the twins must search for for Amarant, a flower with the power over life and death, and find the mysterious Mortlock, a friend of Josie's uncle who has not been seen for years. The story is interesting, tho Mortlock is about the story of Josie, and her adventures to fulfill her uncle's dying wish. After he is brought to the brink of death by three mysterious old ladies, he orders Josie to escape and find her brother, who she previously learned nothing about. Hunted for an object they do not have, the twins must search for for Amarant, a flower with the power over life and death, and find the mysterious Mortlock, a friend of Josie's uncle who has not been seen for years. The story is interesting, though the setting of 1852 feels rather insignificant. Very little would likely have changed if this was set in the modern day, though Josie's uncle may not have worked for the circus. Mprtlock features many fantasy elements, including shapeshifters.

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