Amy Thomsett is rather unceremoniously dumped at the Drearcliff Grange School in Somerset after she is discovered sleeping on the ceiling one evening. Obsessed with the study of moths and a far fair distance from an indifferent mother, Amy discovers quite quickly that like a moth she must adapt or die in her new surroundings. Though appearing to be a regular boarding school, not unlike Hogwarts or Miss Peregrine’s School, Drearcliff girls are special. They are the children of outlaws, wicked scientists, magicians and heroes. While some are outcasts, some possess special gifts; the Unusuals. Amy desperately tries to hide her Unusual status when she is placed in Desdemona house. She quickly makes friends with a lightning-swift pick pocket named Light Fingers, a lady with tendencies to speak in cockney riddles named Frecks and Princess Kali, the daughter of the leader of a nefarious organization. After Kali is kidnapped, Amy and the girls develop a secret organization under the unordinary name of Moth Club. With Amy’s abilities to float, the girls rescue Kali. It isn’t long, however, before Rayne, the unremarkable daughter of a wicked Professor, arrives at school and slowly begins to hypnotize the girls at school with chants about ants. Soon, uniforms have gone from gray to black, and teachers begin to fall under Rayne sway. The Moth Club must gather their numbers and stop the madness, even as their own members become sucked into the ant-hill.
Writer Kim Newman is best know for his creepy vampire literature. When the book The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School appeared in my inbox, the black and white cover of a frightening looking building with a girl floating above reminded me immediately of the the Ransom Riggs Miss Peregrine books. For fans of Lovecraft, Harry Potter and the Ransom Riggs books, Drearcliff Grange is the girl’s boarding school equivalent of combining Hogwarts with the Miskatonic University and then having Miss Peregrine teach the courses. I cannot express how sad I was when the book was over and I had to go back to regular life.
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School is dark and creepy, but lovely; much like a moth. I look forward to more.
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School is now available from Titan Books.