Sunday 17 February 2013

Review: Tales From Lovecraft Middle School by Charles Gilman

Tales from Lovecraft Middle School is the spine-tingling series about a haunted middle school where monsters roam the halls, mysteries lurk behind every door, and strange transformations take place before your very eyes.

Seventh-grader Robert Arthur just wants to fit in at his new school. But the place is crawling with weird spirits and supernatural creatures. What’s a kid to do? Ask a teacher for help? Some of them are monsters in disguise! Find a classmate he can trust? Many of them are transforming too! If Robert and his friends can uncover the truth about Lovecraft Middle School’s secret history, they might find out who—or what—is behind all the mysteries.

I have mentioned on this blog before that my knowledge of the works of H.P. Lovecraft is pretty limited, and yet he has influenced so many writers of teen and children's horror stories. I think I too would have grown into a fan if I had been given these two books as a child. 

Professor Gargoyle and The Slither Sisters are the first two books in Charles Gilman's Tales From Lovecraft Middle School series, and I loved them. Think Goosebumps, crossed with Lemony Snicket and then throw in a truck load of cthulhu and a plethora of Lovecraftian references and that pretty much sums up these books. Yes, much of the references to Lovecraft's stories will be completely lost on young readers (just as they were probably lost on me), but adult fans will delight in spotting these. I can just imagine legions of Lovecraft fans around the world reading these at bedtime with their children, and this creating a whole new generation of Lovecraft devotees.

The first book opens with protagonist Robert Arthur starting a new school after his neighbourhood has been redistricted. Unfortunately for Robert, not only is he feeling lonely and nervous, he very quickly discovers that his nemesis Glenn Torkells, the boy who has bullied him for so many years, has also started at Lovecraft Middle. It soon becomes apparent though that the attentions of Torkells may be the least of his worries, as a number of strange incidents make Robert realise that there is something sinister lurking in the darker corners of the school. 

Charles Gilman has done a great job with these books, and I can't wait to read the planned future instalments. He has created a story that mixes elements of mystery and horror really well, and Robert Arthur is a great main character. Although a victim of bullying, he still retains a burning curiosity for discovery, which naturally leads him into all kinds of danger. With each book focusing on a different monster/villain, the story flows naturally from one volume to the next, whilst also having plenty of exciting new challenges for Robert to face. I don't want to say too much about these monsters as it will ruin the treats in store for you, but just a glance at the above animated versions of the fantastic lenticular covers will give you a few clues. Professor Gargoyle is particularly nasty, and certainly not the kind of teacher any student would like to find leading their science class.

Both books in the series so far end nicely, not quite with a cliffhanger but certainly with revelations that will have young readers clamouring to read the next in the series. Fortunately we do not have too long to wait for this as the third volume, Teacher's Pest, is due to be published in May. You can find out more about the series and its author at

My thanks go to the good people at Quirk Books for sending me copies of these first two books.

1 comment:

  1. This series sounds amazing - those animated covers also have me intrigued, fab review :)