Book 2: THE SWORD IN THE GROTTO: Sir Horace is about to turn five hundred years old! Araminta and Wanda need to find him the perfect gift. Araminta finds an ancient sword in a grotto hidden under her haunted house - and it should be a cinch to get it. But she wasn't planning on the nasty surprise of a portcullis-trap and a rising tide in the grotto. Will Araminta and Wanda make it to Sir Horace's birthday party?
From the library.
I generally like Angie Sage's books so when I saw the audiobook edition of the first two books of her Araminta Spookie series I immediately added it to my pile thinking it would be a fun read. Sadly, I was mistaken.
First, the stories are acceptable but not what one could consider good and the unethical and rather violent actions Araminta performs in the books are just uncalled for and teaches readers that these actions are acceptable when they clearly are not. For instance, in the first book Araminta routinely throws around flour and Jello and all sorts of other items to prove her house "haunted" and then is surprised when she is reprimanded for her actions like she thinks it's okay to just throw stuff around everywhere. Most disturbing though, is the casual joking mention of animal violence which is never, ever acceptable. Araminta laughs over how her aunt sent a cat through the rinse cycle in the washing machine which is wrong on so many levels. The cat in the story survived but the author's light-hearted treatment of a serious incident just turned my stomach. I am genuinely concerned that some readers of the book may consider it to be a good idea and may actually try to put a cat in a washing machine without considering the consequences.
Second, was the issue of the reader. Nails on a chalkboard is really too kind for her voice, which sends chills up your spine and makes you grit your teeth. The screechy voice just put me on edge right away and it never got better. The worst part, by far, was her performance of Wanda's character. It sounded similar to what I would imagine a sheep being slowly murdered would sound like. It was like a baa-ing screech and took away any remaining joy that I may have found in the book.
Overall I really cannot recommend this at all and especially if you are a fan of the author's I would give this a pass as it will just be a giant disappointment for you.