Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release date:May 7, 2013
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . .My thoughts:
I love Holly Black, she is creeptastic and just all out darkly wonderful. This story *shudders* deals with one of my biggest fears dolls. Yes I am a grown woman, but growing up I had all these weird mop dolls laying around my house and well I have been terrified ever since. It probably doesn't help that my cousins use to scare the daylights out of me with them, but anyway that's beside the point. I have been avoiding reading this because I just knew it would scare me and I was right (I started it last night and I would not go to sleep until my husband did if that tells you anything). Even though this is middle grade it still gave me goosebumps and I truly loved every single minute of it!
Zach, Poppy, and Alice have basically grown up together and they have created an imaginary game sort of like an RPG if you will. This game is very important to all three and honestly I was captivated by what they had created. It was an intense game that centers around pirates and this world Game of Thrones time world just like I said with pirates. Kinda cool if you ask me. But when Zach's prize action figures get thrown out he is devastated and thinks his days of adventuring are over. He lies to Poppy and Alice about why he can't play and so the girls decide to get the Queen out for one more round of adventure. The Queen is a china doll that is locked in Poppy's moms cabinet. This doll is all kinds of creepy and when Poppy takes it out both girls discover that The Queen may have a story of her own. The three set out together on a quest to put the Queen to rest and along the way they have to figure out ways to coexist with each other and the growing fact that they are all growing up.
The underlining story in this is fantastic. Everybody eventually does grow up, but you can't forget where you came from and how to have fun. I loved this story and the characters. I felt so bad for Zach because he is trapped in this boy world where he is expected to grow up and be a man and not play with action figures. I just wanted the poor boy to be happy and watching him learn from the quest was awesome. Each character needed to learn something and in the end I think they all managed to do that.
Now I haven't talked about the doll so I guess I should *looks behind back* This doll was creepy with a capitol C. Throughout the story it does (well it never really says for sure if it is the doll but we all know it was) some pretty wicked stuff. Not harmful mind you just creepy. I can tell you right now I will never own a doll and if someone brings one into my house I don't think I will be able to sleep until it is gone. The story behind the doll was way cool and so dark! I give Ms.Black major props for creating it and I personally think it would make for an amazing story all on its own.
Whew okay moving on. If you are a fan of Ms. Black then you won't want to miss this one. It is a wonderful addition to her collection that will leave you shuddering for more!