Impossible Creatures

Impossible Creatures
Publisher Name
Age Range
Release Date
September 14, 2023
It was a very fine day, until something tried to eat him.

A boy called Christopher is visiting his reclusive grandfather when he witnesses an avalanche of mythical creatures come tearing down the hill. This is how Christopher learns that his grandfather is the guardian of one of the ways between the non-magical world and a place called the Archipelago, a cluster of magical islands where all the creatures we tell of in myth live and breed and thrive alongside humans. They have been protected from being discovered for thousands of years; now, terrifyingly, the protection has worn thin, and creatures are breaking through.

Then a girl, Mal, appears in Christopher’s world. She is in possession of a flying coat, is being pursued by a killer and is herself in pursuit of a baby griffin. Mal, Christopher and the griffin embark on an urgent quest across the wild splendour of the Archipelago, where sphinxes hold secrets and centaurs do murder, to find the truth—with unimaginable consequences for both their worlds. Together the two must face the problem of power, and of knowledge, and of what love demands of us.

Editor review

1 review
An imaginative adventure
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The story has an effective hook right from the beginning as page one informs readers a black doglike creature tries to eat Christopher while page two lets us know someone is trying to murder Mal. Details aren’t shared until a little later but readers are immediately captured by curiosity. The early chapters alternately tell the stories of the two characters until their separate paths converge. All kinds of animals are drawn to Christopher like a magnet which leads to teasing from classmates and strange stares from adults. Mal also has a connection with animals and she defies her father’s wishes by flying into the air with her magical coat. A baby griffin eventually brings the two characters together and adds an adorable animal to the cast.
The plot begins as an adventure to find out why magical creatures are dying in the Archipelago. They all need the power of the glimourie, magic emanating from the first tree, but it’s slowly disappearing. All signs point to the absence of the Immortal, the caretaker of the tree. An Immortal will always exist as its death will result in a new one arising somewhere in the Archipelago. An innovative twist arises as the Immortal isn’t always human. Consequently, no one knows where to find the new Immortal or what form it will take. Will it be a centaur, dryad, another human, or something else entirely? Christopher and Mal must locate the new Immortal to save the glimourie from disappearing.
Young readers will be delighted to see all kinds of mythical, magical creatures such as unicorns, mermaids, and manticores. Some of the animals are safe and helpful while others, like the kraken, are aggressive and can destroy ships or eat humans. Christopher and Mal are assisted by a Berzerker whose ship is navigated by a small creature called a ratatoska. Along the way, the kids face a dragon that threatens to eat them but later becomes an ally. The survival of all creatures, both in the Archipelago and the Otherworld, depends on Mal and Christopher succeeding in their quest. Ironically, some of the beasts don’t know that killing the pair will result in their deaths.
What didn’t work as well:
The plot doesn’t have everything work nicely and neatly as in many other books. Young readers might be surprised and upset when some characters are seriously injured or die in the course of events. A couple of main characters are among the casualties. However, the real world doesn’t always work out as people plan and this story is a reminder. The loss of characters helps to stress the importance of the conflict and adds suspense to the book.
The final verdict:
The author develops an imaginative story that blends magical creatures with a dire quest for survival. The narrative is written with highly descriptive, colorful language that adds to the reader's pleasure. This book will be a sure hit and I highly recommend you give it a shot.
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