Embassy of the Dead: Destiny Calling

Authored by Will Mabbitt
Illustrated by Chris Mould
Published by Orion Children's Books

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A creepy adventure of fate and bravery, set in a supernatural world where anything is possible. Jake and Cora have returned for a third adventure. This time, they are juggling the needs of the Embassy of the Dead, assisting ghosts and attempting to navigate their own lives amongst the living. A tall order, particularly without alerting any suspicious adults! Fortune may not be on their side, as the two friends find themselves shouldering a dastardly task. Going against all morals, the mission will make the duo question who they are and their place in the spectral and earthly worlds.

Mabbitt’s narrative is vivid and atmospheric, children will be enthralled by the shadowed political histories lurking in the corners of the ghostly Afterworld. Just enough is left unsaid to maintain an air of mystery and personal intrigue, leaving the reader desperate to explore these histories beyond the page. Comically, this text is a masterpiece, with Jake and Cora left to negotiate a regular stream of absurd and rather unfortunate events. Many interactions between the children and their ghostly associates leave a lot to tickle a child and adult reader. These include hilarious generational contrasts drawn between the behaviour and language of the living and those long dead. This makes for a very entertaining read, striking a perfect balance with the pacy plot.

The Embassy of the Dead would be a go to recommendation for any teachers searching for a series to pique the interest of less enthused readers. Destiny Calling is funny, exciting and spooky, yet beneath this is a skeleton of subtle, thoughtful themes. Jake and Cora’s adventure gently probes the reader to consider questions about responsibility, choice and morality. The core of this story reflects upon the notion of doing the right thing, which offer very valuable lessons indeed. With the added touch of Mould’s gothic illustrations interspersed throughout, Mabbitt’s world is as compelling as it is endearing. Destiny Calling will be sure to get children from Year Four to Year Six coming back for more.