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The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School por…
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The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School (edição 2015)

por Kim Newman (Autor)

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1504145,867 (3.34)12
A week after Mother found her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is delivered to her new school, Drearcliff Grange in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular boarding school, Amy learns that Drearcliff girls are special, the daughters of criminal masterminds, outlaw scientists and master magicians. Several of the pupils also have special gifts like Amy's, and when one of the girls in her dormitory is abducted by a mysterious group in black hoods, Amy forms a secret, superpowered society called the Moth Club to rescue their friend. They soon discover that the Hooded Conspiracy runs through the School, and it's up to the Moth Club to get to the heart of it.… (mais)
Membro:silvereyes
Título:The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School
Autores:Kim Newman (Autor)
Informação:Titan Books (2015), 400 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:fantasy, ya

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The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School por Kim Newman

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DNF. Life's too short for plotless, insipid novels.

I was drawn to this series through a case of mistaken identity. I picked up [b:The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School|39082192|The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School|Kim Newman|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1521173027l/39082192._SY75_.jpg|60647886] in the adult horror section of the bookstore, thinking it would be a solid horror outing.

But then, prior to reading it, I found out there was a book that came before it. This one. So I spent a fair amount of time and energy trying to get my hands on a copy. It proved surprisingly difficult.

Then, almost immediately, my heart sank as I realized a few things.

First, this ain't horror, no matter how much you dress up that school on the cover to look scary.

Second, this ain't an adult novel. It's firmly in the teen section.

Finally, it ain't that good. It's a bargain-basement take on Harry Potter, without the fascinating school, fascinating characters, or fascinating plot. In fact, as I closed the book on this, I was on the third or fourth smaller story within the larger framework of the school.

Am I disliking this more because it's not what I expected, than due to the book itself? Perhaps. But there's precious little to hold me here, and luckily, I know the people at the bookstore well enough to exchange the second book for something I'll actually enjoy.
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
It might have all begun with Kim's 1994 book The Original Dr. Shade and Other Stories. Or perhaps in the short story 'Clubland Heroes' that appeared in Joe Lansdale's anthology Retro Pulp Tales in 2006 (reprinted in The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club 2007). Or even a vague element of his most recent novel An English Ghost Story. But while all are obviously contributing factors, the heart of the story, as noted in the acknowledgements, is an expansion, or extension, of the 2010 novella 'Kentish Glory: The Secret of Drearcliffe Grange School' as published in Mysteries of the Diogenes Club. For longtime Newman fans, this sort of cross pollination is exactly as it should be, and for this reader, the result is an utter delight. For readers not so well grounded in Newman's sort of linked worlds, or an utter newbie to Newman's writing, or even someone coming directly from An English Ghost Story, it may be a slightly baffling read, at least so far as to why he's writing 'Girl's Own' style fantasy adventure in 2015.

This is nothing like the sort of scholastic bait and switch SF philosophizing in a Kazuo Ishiguro-esque Never Let Me Go, vein, nor is it the beautifully horrifying apocalyptic little-girl-done wrong ala Mike Carey's The Girl with All the Gifts (although if you blended those two books with a Ronald Searles 'St. Trinian's' cartoon, or the associated cinematic stylings, you'd be on the right track), instead it is unabashedly pure Grade-A Kim Newman Brit-pulp, with all the usual nods to external influences (Sally Nikola is clearly the spawn of Guy Boothby's Dr. Nikola) and his own previous work (Janice Marsh of 'The Big Fish' makes an appearance, as does Catriona Kaye of numerous Diogenes Club stories). In short, this is a glorious return to Kim Newman's 'Diogenes Club' stories form.

In a spoiler-free nutshell, the plot (it's a superhero origin story of sorts, if you've read the two Diogenes Club stories I mentioned above)revolves around young Amy Thomsett, a girl with an 'Unusual' ability, who is sent off to the Drearcliffe Grange boarding school for girls, shortly after WWI, where she gets caught up in some almost Lovecraftian extra-dimensional hijinx while trying to fit in with her classmates. Sounds simple? Almost YA-like? Well, don't be fooled, it's creepy, funny, and with some downright nasty moments, and it all comes together to be greater than the sum of its parts with Newman nailing the period language and character types perfectly.

As I said, perhaps not the best book to begin with to enter the delights of Kim Newman's vaguely connected worlds, although not the worst either, given that Titan will be reprinting Kim's 'Diogenes Club' stories shortly, it's not the worst place to get on board. Me, I loved it and look forward to more. ( )
  CharlesPrepolec | Dec 22, 2018 |
It's 1920. Amy Thomsett's mother finds her sleeping on the ceiling, and a week later packs her off to the Drearcliff Grange School, a boarding school on a rather bleak stretch of the English coast. Drearcliff is a special sort of school in some respects; the more mundane way is that many of the girls who attend there are missing one or both parents.

The other way in which it's special is that many of the girls are what the headmistress, Miss Swan, calls "unusuals." Like Amy, they have abilities or attributes that don't seem entirely natural.

At first Amy has fairly normal boarding school experience--getting to know her roommates, her housemates in Desdemona House, her teachers, and the rest of the school. The roommates include Frex, a.k.a. Lady Seraphina, who thinks her brother is trying to steal all the money left to her by their parents; Cali, a Kaffir bandit princess who says her father murdered her mother; and Lightfingers, the daughter of a pair of thieves who were highly successful until they weren't. It turns out they have "unusual abilities" that are key to their previously successful careers of thievery, burglary, and fraud, abilities which Lightfingers has inherited.

It also means getting to know the power structure of the school--not just the instructors, but the power structure among the students--the head girl, the "whips," and their supporters. It's sometimes rough and challenging, but the previously lonely Amy now has friends, too, and enjoys many of her classes.

Then two things happen to change things. First Cali is kidnapped, and when the headmistress and other instructors don't believe the obviously "wild story" about kidnapping but conclude she has run away, Amy has to organize her friends into the Moth Club, to find and rescue her on their own. Then Rain arrives.

Antoinette Rain is the daughter of a famous female entomologist who does not appreciate Amy's much-loved moths, but instead loves ants and thinks them a great model for human society. Rain is hard to like, and introduces herself the first day with a self-important speech about bringing changes to Drearcliff. At first Amy reluctantly admires her for standing up to the bullying Head Girl and her supporters, but then strange things start to happen. Skipping seems like a harmless and childish pastime, but Rain slowly gathers a cohort of free-time skippers who skip in time to a nonsense rhyme. She starts wearing a different school uniform, a "new option" that's black rather than gray. Her skippers adopt the new uniform, too, and they start going around campus in groups of three, or six, or twelve. The blackskirts become a thing, and more and more join them, and they seem strangely beyond anyone's authority, even that of the teachers....

Something ominous is happening at Drearcliff, and it falls to Amy to organize those of her friends who have not yet succumbed.

Obviously, this is a well-loved, well-trodden path for fiction going back decades longer than the currently most famous example of "boarding school for the magical" fiction, but this as an excellent example of it. Minus the ability to float, Amy and her loneliness and insecurity, and relief at having any friends, reminds me of me at that age. She and her classmates are real human beings, with strengths and weaknesses, and the plot keeps moving, while taking some twists and turns I didn't anticipate.

Recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audible in exchange for an honest review. ( )
1 vote LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Amy is Unusual: she floats in the air! Her mother is appalled, and decides that the way to prevent this behaviour is to send Amy to boarding school, where she will learn discipline and obedience. But Amy’s mother doesn’t know that Drearcliff Grange School has a number of Unusuals, including one girl who is determined to change the students into a collectivity...of ants!....This is a wonderful send-up of the British staple of fiction, that of girls’ schools. I first encountered this through Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers series, a set of six books that I still re-read whenever I have a cold. Kim Newman is best known as a horror writer (especially the Anno Dracula series), and here he combines horror stropes with humour and school girls, all set in the 1920s, after WWI and before the Great Depression; a perfect time period for this kind of novel. He can’t resist throwing in a few references to other books of his, but you don’t need to know them to enjoy this book, and enjoy it you will, as it’s hilarious. Recommended! ( )
  thefirstalicat | Mar 7, 2018 |
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A week after Mother found her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is delivered to her new school, Drearcliff Grange in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular boarding school, Amy learns that Drearcliff girls are special, the daughters of criminal masterminds, outlaw scientists and master magicians. Several of the pupils also have special gifts like Amy's, and when one of the girls in her dormitory is abducted by a mysterious group in black hoods, Amy forms a secret, superpowered society called the Moth Club to rescue their friend. They soon discover that the Hooded Conspiracy runs through the School, and it's up to the Moth Club to get to the heart of it.

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