Book Review: The Bookshop at the Back of Beyond

By Amy Sparks

When I saw this title in Netgalley, I had to request it. Anything to do with bookshops is a must read, plus it looked magical too. Which it is!

The Bookshop at the Back of Beyond is Book 3 in The House at the Edge of Magic series. Here’s what the publisher says about it:

Adventurous, magical and brilliantly funny next book in the House at the Edge of Magic series.
Nine and her friends have cured the house’s hiccups and are off to the strange and utterly unpredictable Back of Beyond in search of Professor Dish – Spoon’s best friend and partner in all things alchemy.
When they find Dish trapped by the greedy witch Ophidia in the basement of a particularly marvellous shop, it soon becomes clear they’re going to need something more than Flabberghast’s dicey magic and Nine’s quick thinking to triumph this time. What they really need is a rather clever witch – one particularly good at curses…
A new instalment in the brilliantly funny, magical and commercial series for readers age 8+.

My Review: Nine, our protagonist, and the other occupants of the House – Flabbergast a wizard who has lost his magic, Eric the troll who can’t cook, Bonehead the gloomy skeleton, Cas the gargoyle, and Dr Spoon – are travelling (by house) to the world of Beyond, in search of Professor Dish, who was working with Dr Spoon on a secret formula to make gold. Of course, they are not the only ones in search of the professor. Orphidia the Unpredictable (Flabbergast’s aunt) and Gazillion the Unstoppable also want the formula. Then there is Flabbergast’s sister, who also is at odds with her brother (she shrank him and his house in book 1) and doesn’t like their aunts either, and has a plan of her own. Nine in the meantime has discovered that her mother, an occupant of the house in years gone by, left something deposited with the Safekeeper (also found in Beyond) and Nine is determined to find out what it is. On top of that is Dr Spoon really telling the full story of what he and Professor Dish were working on or is he also keeping secrets?

This is an imaginative and fun adventure, with a great cast of characters. I loved Beyond, a kind of marketplace or shopping area, where you had to buy something from each seller if you wanted to leave. I enjoyed visiting the Secret Shop of Secrets (very difficult to find), Wicks and Wax the candlemakers, the This-and-That shop, and of curse the magical bookstore (rarely open but when it does it tells you which book to take, which is exactly the one you need!). All this is humorously told, and there is a satisfying power struggle for the secret formula plus the mystery of Nine’s mother.

You could read this story as a stand alone (as I did) but I think it would be worthwhile to start at book 1, if only to get Nine’s back story. I suspect the earlier two books are equally entertaining to read!

Thanks to the publishers, Walkers Books, and to NetGalley for the eARC. The Bookshop at the Back of Beyond was published on the 5th January this year.

16 responses to “Book Review: The Bookshop at the Back of Beyond”

  1. Sounds like a really fun series. I love books about bookshops, and Prof Dish and Doc Spoon made me chuckle (I guess they ran away together!)

    Hope to see TOTP return in your next review. I miss his handsome face.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spoiler alert – yes, they run off together at the end of the book! I loved the magical bookshop, although fighting off books that want you to buy them sounds a little dangerous!! I’ll let TOTP know he is missed – he will be pleased :). Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a huge fan of quirky names in books, and my students are not as fond of bookshop takes as I am. Pages and Co. has stayed on the shelves, sadly. I might have to look at this one, if I can get past the names. Thanks for the review. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You may not like it, Karen, because it is very much that sense of humour throughout the book – not my favourite style either but very well done, with enough story and character to stop it from becoming silly and keep it entertaining. I think anyone who enjoys that style of book will love it.


  3. What an entertaining series. I’m looking for MG books for my third grade grandson that are entertaining, but not too difficult. The bookshop story sounds amazing — I’m a fan of stories with mysterious bookshops too. But, kids need to start with the first book. Thanks for sharing such a wacky and fun book — love the play on words!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are doing a great job of adding books to my future read pile. This one is a definite add especially with the bookshop backdrop. Thanks for telling us about THE BOOKSHOP AT THE BACK OF BEYOND on this week’s MMGM!

    Liked by 1 person

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