From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-This 1991 title by Anthony Horowitz (issued in paperback 1999) has some similarities to Harry Potter, and Harry devotees will likely be its audience. It, too, is set in a school of witchcraft and magic, although Groosham Grange is less fully realized, peopled with caricature vampires, witches, a two-headed headmaster, and so on. Nickolas Grace reads the story with a most accomplished and sophisticated British style. He provides a vast array of voices and accents to fulfill each character, but a Haitian voodoo specialist who sounds like a stereotypical Igor the Frankenstein lab assistant is rather over the top. As for the story, David Eliot fully expects to win the coveted end-of-term prize for the highest marks: the Unholy Grail. But a disliked challenger and some very strange coincidences cost him the prize. In the course of watching David work out what has happened and why, listeners encounter his bizarre and unlikable family who also have a role to play in the near-destruction of the school as part of an evil plot. Although this tale is more gruesome (the pun in the name is well-deserved) but less interesting than Harry's fans will be used to, the story may appeal to some middle school students with a taste for the macabre. Librarians filling in "what can I read next?" collections could consider this, but it disappoints in its stock characters, pat ending, and lack of depth or true interest.Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
David Eliot was shocked when he first learned that Groosham Grange was a school of magic, but now he's the top contender for the Unholy Grail, the school's highest academic prize. When David starts slipping in points and his rival, Vincent King, starts climbing, David suspects, but can't prove, foul play. The similarities between Groosham Grange and J.K. Rowling's famous Hogwarts can't be denied, but narrator Nickolas Grace gives all to a story that is fun in its own right. Grace knows when to speed up and slacken the pace to keep the listener hooked. He creates distinct voices for an unusually large, and odd, set of characters. A fun listen for fantasy fans. A.F. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine