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The Doomspell: A Battle Between Good and Evil Hardcover – June 10, 2002

Book 1 of 3 in the Doomspell Trilogy Series

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Series: All Aboard Reading Level 2
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (June 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803727100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803727106
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Debut novelist McNish's imaginative if somewhat predictable fantasy begins with evil witch Dragwena kidnapping Rachel and her younger brother, Eric, and taking them to her icy world of Ithrea. There, Rachel cultivates magical gifts with help from Dragwena's kindly assistant, Morpeth, and Eric discovers a power of his own (he can break spells, but not cast them). Rachel also learns of Dragwena's sinister plan: since being banished from Earth, Dragwena has kidnapped children, killing or enslaving them, as she searches for a child with enough magical powers to help her return for revenge. Rachel could be this child, or she could be the "child-hope," a legendary hero amongst Ithrea's slaves, whom they believe can return them to Earth. A final face-off with Dragwena is inevitable, but first Rachel faces a forest of murderous trees, strange half-crowhalf-baby creatures and talking killer wolves as she searches for safety. McNish draws a clear line between good and evil, and there's never a doubt who will win the showdown, but the author will win over readers with his creative descriptions of strange Ithrea, and especially examples of Rachel's magic (in one of her early spells, she creates chocolate sandwiches from nothing; later, she tries to fool the witch by filling the sky with thousands of identical clones of herself). The conclusion hints strongly at a sequel. Ages 9-12.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Rachel and Eric have been having identical dreams about an evil witch on a frozen world, but no one takes their story seriously-until the witch breaks through to their world via their cellar wall, capturing them as their father tries to save them. Plummeting through immeasurable emptiness between the worlds, Rachel discovers that she has new powers to control her descent and the space around her, which she uses to catch Eric and bring them both to a safe landing on Ithrea. The witch Dragwena and her dwarf slave Morpeth are there to greet them. Each of them has awaited their arrival for a very different reason. Dragwena has kidnapped many Earth children with the hope of finding one with powers equal to her own to share her evil reign over Ithrea and feels that Rachel could be the one. Morpeth hopes that she will fulfill an ancient prophesy and free the dwarves from Dragwena's enslavement. The remainder of the story becomes a series of life-and-death battles between the witch and almost everyone else on Ithrea. There is an abundance of both good and bad magic, many spells and transformations, and plenty of blood and gore reminiscent of popular video games. Readers will enjoy the plot and action, and probably won't miss the details of character development and philosophy that are found in more detailed fantasies. There is room for a sequel, as the novel ends with Rachel, Eric, and Morpeth heading back through the cellar wall to Earth and home.
Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"There are spells even more powerful than those: Doom spells. You have no defense against them, child. Doesn't that make you afraid?" The Doomspell, written by Clff McNish is the book I have chosen to review to you.

Let me begin by sharing with you that this book was very hard to put down because the author leaves a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter. For example, "And then Rachel heard someone laugh. The voice was not human. Rachel recognized it instantly: Dragwena (the evil witch)". The doom spell also uses descriptive and gripping language which adds to the suspense. For example, "The Witch reverted to her normal appearance: blood-red skin, tattooed eyes, the four sets of teeth, two inside and two outside the writhing snake-mouth. Morpeth watched as the rows of teeth snapped at each other, fighting for the best eating position. A few purple-eyed, armored spiders swarmed between the jaws, cleaning the remains of her last meal".

The Doomspell is about Rachel and her brother Eric who on a typical Saturday morning are ripped through the wall by a witch called Dragwena to the magical world of Ithrea where Rachel has to decide between being evil Dragwena's partner or the child-hope Dragwena's slaves have been waiting for to free them.

The three most important elements of the plot are, first, when Morpeth, the witches servant, teaches Racheal how to use her magic. This is important because it develops Racheal's ability to destroy the evil witch. The second important element is when the Sarren, the undercover rebellious slave group who are harbouring Racheal are found by Dragwena. The third important element is when Racheal temporarily escapes from the clutches of the evil witch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Cliff McNish, a new British author being published in the US as well as the UK, produces a mixed bag in "Doomspell." On one hand he shows genuine imagination, sense of atmosphere and an intriguingly well-made magical system. On the other hand, his villain is a little too cartoonish, and his story a little too cutesy and cliched.
The hideous, evil witch Dragwena has been pulling children with magical ability to the icy world of Ithrea for a long, long time. The kids always turn out not to be talented enough for Dragwena's purposes, and she allows them to live as aged, abused servants. But when she magically pulls the two children Eric and Rachel to Ithrea, she finds that Rachel possesses powers comparable to her own.
Rachel and Eric are treated well initially by the strange woman with a serpent for a necklace. They befriend her servant Morpeth, who helps Rachel develop her powers in the desperate hope that she can help his enslaved friends. But Dragwena is still stronger than Rachel is -- and determined to transform the girl into a bloodthirsty witch as well.
McNish definitely has a flair for fantasy. While not the best fantasy that I've read, it contained a number of surprises and intriguing elements to keep me guessing up until the climax. Unfortunately the plot is also saddled with a lot of rather cutesy cliches. The magically empowered preteen, the rhyming prophecy, Ithrea and its bizarre wildlife, and the idea of children being turned into broken slaves of the witch were all irritatingly cliched. And every now and then, McNish trots out something so ridiculous that it simply does not belong, such as the bickering bird-baby "prapsies." And often Dragwena becomes too gleefully evil to be convincing.
However, he does have a talent for descriptive writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Kragh on May 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The young girl Rachel and her brother Eric are taken from our world, by the evil witch Dragwena, to the cold world of Ithrea.
Dragwena, the ruler of Ithrea, wants to prey upon the childrens magic abilities - abilites that all Earths' children have, although they are dormant.
But Rachel and Eric are not quite like other children, and soon whispers spread on Ithrea, about the child hope.
But will Dragwena suceed in turning Rachel into a witch? Or will Rachel and Eric be able to find allies on Ithrea and defeat the witch? And how can they return to Earth?
It is true that you notice some inspiration from the Narnia books (though without all the christian symbolism), but I find that McNish uses it in his own context, and I find many of his characters - like Morpeth and the prapsies - both interesting and original.
There are cliches as well, but all in all it's an energetic tale, with some original elements, and a good pace. The descriptions of the main character Rachel, her development and her friendship with Morpeth are good, and there are surprises here and there even for fantasy fans.
So as long as you don't expect and oríginal masterpeice, this book is worth reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read Doomspell last year and now I must brace myself to remember all that happened in Doomspell.If it was possible I'd give this book 90% but unfortunately Amazon does not give those ratings.
Two children get pulled from their world to become property of an evil witch, like many children before them. But unlike those children, these ones have special powers which they use to free themselves and others from the grip of this witch.
This books scores A+ in captivating writing. However, the 10% I take off it is mainly for cliches and not much creativity. With luck, Cliff Mcnish's other novels will have a bit more imagination, but other from that, keep it up!
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