Part of the series ‘The Tall Tales of Dracula’s Daggers’, this book tells the tale of the dastardly Count Arnold Krinkelfiend and his quest to find the legendary dagger. It fails in its attempt to be funny and its plot fails to be engaging. It is packed with one-liners that are more irritating than amusing and the proliferation of characters with ridiculous names is confusing and off-putting.
With suggestions of magic, a nasty villain and a good cop, the blurb leads you to believe that fans of Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket might be impressed by this book, but a couple of chapters later, very little had happened and I struggled to stay with the story. Young readers today have demonstrated an impressive level of ability, staying power and comprehension as well as an appreciation of wit, sarcasm and humour, as the popularity of Potter and Lemony Snicket has illustrated. This book seems to be targeting similar readers yet fails to acknowledge this competency.
Having failed to build up any sense of excitement or anticipation as the story unfolds, it abruptly informs the reader that the Count has found the dagger and plans to take over the world. But his half-vampire/half-human son foils him in his attempt at world domination and he suffers the usual vampire fate as daylight reduces him to a pile of rags.
The reader is advised to look out for the sequel The Return of the Count, which promises decomposing corpses, disgruntled ghosts and bat-like apparitions. Well, ghouls and the rotting undead are likely to entice more than a few young readers and Morecombe might redeem himself. Suitable for readers of 8+ years.