Reviews for Magic Parcel
From 'The Bookbag':
"Magic Parcel: The Awakening" is a book full of thrilling scenes and heart-stopping adventures. Many creatures there can control minds, and the two brothers go through some uncomfortable and frightening experiences. The author clearly has a vivid imagination, and he has created some memorable characters. The book has the feel of a story from an earlier, slower time: Jimmy has no mobile phone or computer, and many of the expressions he and his family use have a comforting, Yorkshire tang to them which makes a pleasant change from the London and South East (with a dollop of American!) tones of many current stories.
The language in this book is rich, and the author goes to great pains to build tension and atmosphere through highly detailed comparisons and images.
From 'Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review'
"Magic Parcel: The Awakening" is a young adult fantasy novel by Frank English.
Jimmy Scoggins is a lively nine year old, full of the inquisitiveness of youth, living with his mother. Since his father passed away he spends much of his spare time with his Uncle Reuben, to the relief of his occasionally exasperated mum. His Uncle has always been a very enigmatic figure and it soon becomes clear that there is more to him than meets the eye. After volunteering to deliver a parcel to the local post office, Jimmy finds himself thrown into the middle of an incredible adventure in a completely different world (known as Omni).
Tommy is Jimmy's elder brother and has been through all this before, and dashes to join Jimmy to offer his help. Things have changed much since Tommy was last in Omni though. The Evil Lord Seth has grown powerful and now threatens the peace and safety of the realm. It isn't long before Tommy and Jimmy become embroiled in the battle for power, and they will need the help from all their new and powerful allies if they are to survive.
"Magic Parcel: The Awakening" is a fast paced easy reading book full of vivid, memorable larger than life characters and rich descriptive language. The book has a friendly, comfortable feel but with the occasional very detailed scene and flowery prose. These lines really make the book stand out and is a great tool to encourage the younger reader to subtly expand their literary knowledge. The world building is both descriptive and insightful without disrupting the pace of the plot, which keeps you on your toes with many twists and turns.
The ending is quite unusual in a young adult novel with a bit of a cliff hanger, used in many adult novels but rarely in children's books, and a positive reinforcement to really stand out from the crowd.
"Magic Parcel: The Awakening" is a great novel for the younger reader, full of excitement, danger, suspense and magic.
"I really enjoyed this story. Whilst the story was easy to follow, it had corners to peer around carefully. Even with so many exciting things happening, I enjoyed the view and the scenery. I can't wait for the next book."
From Denise in Lancashire
"It is quite rare to discover a fantasy tale that sits comfortably with child and adult readers alike. Usually, written works are aimed at one or the other and do not deviate from this path at any time. I'm glad to say that Magic Parcel: The Awakening is an excellent exception to the rule. This beautifully-written tale follows the adventures of a young boy, Jimmy, and his brother into the magical world of Omni. Without revealing too much of the plot, Jimmy journeys through this mystical realm meeting numerous larger-than-life characters and facing both danger and wonderment in equal measure.
The strength of this book comes from the skill of the author to bring this fantasy world to life, and this he succeeds in doing brilliantly. I really enjoyed the way in which action sequences were blended with the most exquisite levels of detail. This was even more apparent during the quieter periods of the narrative where the writer has more time to concentrate on the inanimate features of the landscape and characters within it. I'm glad to report that this attention to detail never becomes overbearing and allows space for the reader to visualise each situation for themselves. Furthermore, the story never slows in order to accommodate the rich descriptives on offer; on the contrary, the text flows smoothly thoughout.
As I mentioned earlier, probably the most significant facet of this fantasy novel is its appeal across a broad age spectrum. Young adults would find the story and language easily accessible. I think younger children aged 10-15 would also enjoy Magic Parcel and it would provide them with an important reading challenge. There are words and descriptives in this book that many people would not have heard of or understand initially. Without such challenges, however, a young person's comprehension cannot expand and develop. I would recommend this story to any parent wishing to assist their child in reading and writing.
Credit goes to the author for an excellent first foray into fantasy writing!"
From James Starkey in Wigan
"I loved your book Magic Parcel: The Awakening. I lost myself in the wonderful world of Omni within moments.
I can't wait to read the next book in the series!"
Your number one fan,
Emily Boorman (aged 10) in Lancashire
"Just letting you know how much I enjoyed your book Magic Parcel: The Awakening. It has a great atmosphere. I really enjoyed the bit where Jimmy was in trouble for giving the parcel away. It is one of my favourite books I have read so far. I hope the second book is as good as the first. It will be hard to beat. I can't wait for it to be released."
From Katie Long (aged 10) in Hambleton, Lancashire
If you would like to try to understand why reviewer Pamela Luke didn't like Magic Parcel: The Awakening why not get a copy and decide for yourself. In Fantasy Book Review she wrote verbatim:
"This is the premise of Mr English's work; I only hope that it is not his life's work. Loathe as I am to give a low scoring review for a book that the author has paid good money to publish himself, I'm afraid that is what I must do. I should really have been suspicious when I received the book and saw the cover art work, however, I wanted to be fair and not judge the book by its unattractive illustrations, I wanted to see if the story was better. I started reading the story; I read it all the way through. The style of writing is as old fashioned as C.S.Lewis and Tolkien; there is nothing wrong with that, we still read Jane Austen after all.
There are some good ideas, but Mr English doesn't give himself time to develop them fully, perhaps he does not have the luxury as he is publishing the story himself. He introduces characters like they're soon to go out of fashion and they disappear from the story as soon as they appear. The author also repeats phrases that many times that it makes the characters somewhat annoying. I'm not sure anyone from Mr English's market audience has read this book but I found that it needed be a bit more thought out, but maybe he has as there is the promise of a sequel at the end of this book.
I got the impression that the author had read The Chronicles of Narnia and he might have read or watched Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter saga and thought he'd have a go himself."
Yet "Rex", writing in response in the same article, says
"Letting an adult review a children's book is stupid. I have two kids who have read Mr English's first novel, and they are both waiting with bated breath for his sequel, which the author's publishing house is publishing, not self-publishing, due to the tremendous sales success of this first book."
Time to re-read with fresh eyes after sound advice, Ms Luke, and await with eager anticipation the next instalment? Please feel free to leave a comment on this website, or drop me an email, and we might discuss the points you might have missed. After all, this is only your opinion.
"The Awakening" and "The Gathering Storm" are the first two stories in an exciting adventure which, once started, I couldn't put down.
The wonderful description throughout sets the many scenes beautifully, transporting you to exciting lands, making the reader part of the action. I can't wait for the final instalment in "Magic Parcel: A New Dawn".
From Kath Putsman in Teesside.
I met you on holiday last August and bought a book from you which you kindly signed. Just finished it, and it's a great read. It should be a film.
From Philip Powell in Kent
Good luck with your book signings. Have read all your books, and am looking forward to the next one.
From Robert in Cumbria
The children at school loved your visit. They continue to enjoy your books. Looking forward to the next. Happy writing.
From Wendy near Preston