Review: the Otherwhere Emporium

This is the final instalment of Ross MacKenzie’s enchanting trilogy about a magical shop and the wonderful worlds within. It sees the Nowhere Emporium’s globe-trotting black brickwork return to Glasgow, where a mother and daughter step through its door, and find their fates as closely entwined with the Book of Wonders as Daniel Holmes once learned that his own was.

But there is dark magic at work, and as Daniel’s own abilities start to fray, he must seek powerful help to protect his home from its oldest foe. Eleven-year-old Mirren might not feel powerful, and she’s more worried about finding her missing mum than saving the store, but that passion leads her to take on the dangers of the Emporium at its wildest. 

Like the first two Emporium stories, this is a richly visual tale, packed with imaginings that spring from the page – an oak tree made entirely of light, a magic key which allows the holder to open doors between worlds – and the welcome return of favourite characters like Ted the ring-master, and Anja the snake-charmer.

There’s no time to relish colourful details though, as impending threats propel Mirren, her friends and the reader headlong from one adventure to the next in a roller-coaster ride of the best kind.

We will be sorry to say goodbye to Daniel and the Nowhere Emporium, but he’s certainly given our imaginations an exhilarating workout, and like visitors to his magical world, we can close its door feeling happier than when we stepped in.   

The Otherwhere Emporium, by Ross MacKenzie (Kelpies)

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