by Kate Saunders
First sentence: “‘We’ll probably sell the place,’ Dad said, from the driver’s seat.”
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I really liked Beswitched last fall, and so when I found out that Kate Saunders had a new one, I was quite interested. And the cover and title promised good things, as well.
(You know where this is going, right?)
Oz and Lily are twins — Oz is the genius, Lily has dyslexia — whose family has inherited a run-down, old chocolate shop in London. Their family up and moves there, where the kids find out that the shop, run by their great-great-uncles, was a place for magic. The chocolate (and candy) was infused with magic in order to help and entertain people (think Weasly’s Wizarding Wheezes). Except one of the brothers invented a chocolate for immortality. And another brother, Isadore, is remarkably still alive, and wants the molds so he can be immortal. (Wait: what?) With the help of a talking cat, Demerara, Oz and Lily are tasked with stopping Isadore from achieving his goal.
This one had all sorts problems. First off, the talking cat. Actually: I couldn’t get past the talking cat. I’m not a talking animals person, but sometimes I can get past that and enjoy the book. Not so with this one. I wanted to strangle the cat. I took to skipping everything the cat said and did. Then I started skipping around in the book, because without the talking cat, there’s not much left. There was something in there about Isadore being more misguided than evil (even though he kidnaps Oz), but by that point, I honestly didn’t care enough to find out why.
Chalk this one up to good premise, lousy execution.