Several months ago I reviewed the first book in the Delilah Dusticle series, and the author, A. J. York, approached me with an offer of a Kindle copy of the sequel, Delilah Dusticle’s Transylvanian Adventure, in exchange for an honest review.
I confess to having had some issues with the first Delilah Dusticle novel. There was the basis of an excellent story there, but it was a tad confusing as to what age group the book was aimed at, and it could, given its short length, really benefitted from illustrations.
The sequel is more coherent. The first book sees Delilah discovering herself and finding her unusual talent for removing dust from any surface, come into its own instead of isolating her and making her seem like a freak. It deals with quite deep emotional issues and is very much a story of loss and redemption, which is one of the reasons I thought it might struggle to appeal to younger readers.
In this book, there is less introspection and more action. There is also more humour. Delilah is now co founder of a supernatural cleaning firm who are incredibly successful and have a world wide reputation for excellence. She is contacted by Count Dracula who wishes her to come to his castle and help her make it ready for his annual Halloween ball. Along the way, Delilah finds out more about her past and the scene is set for another adventure.
The language in this book is less taxing for younger readers. The action is fast and furious, although, as an adult reader, not always logical or satisfying, and the humour really helps the book appeal more to younger readers. As do the illustrations, which I am really pleased to see in this book.
As an adult reader, my only criticism is that the time frame jumps and hops about, which makes it a little disconcerting. This book is set almost immediately after the last book, which happens in and around the Second World War. The second book refers quite often to the war, and has a sub plot which revolves around pertinent war time events, but there is also references to things like discos and zen gardens and other things which are too modern for the setting.
Given that this is a fantasy book in which fairies and vampires exist amongst humans and their existence is so every day it’s not even worthy of comment by the other characters, it probably doesn’t matter that events are jumbled up. This is, of course, a fictional universe. I suspect that for child readers it won’t matter at all and they probably won’t even notice – so don’t let it put you off if you think this kind of book would appeal to a child you know. It just bothered me.
I would recommend the book for children between the ages of six and ten, maybe slightly younger. It will appeal to both boys and girls, as the action sequences and humour in this book definitely make it more appealing to boys than Delilah’s first adventure. The language can be a little tricky so for the younger end of the spectrum it might be advisable to read it to or with them.
Delilah’s third adventure is due to be published later in the year.