Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shadows of the Silver Screen by Christopher Edge

Penelope Tredwell is 13, but that doesn't stop her from owning the Penny Dreadful, a magazine filled with horror stories of her own writing.  No one knows the stories are written by Penny, as she writes under the name of Montgomery Flinch and has hired an actor to play the part of the now famous writer.  Talking movie pictures are beginning to capture the population of Victorian Britain's imagination, and a filmmaker has approached the Penny Dreadful for permission to turn one of Montgomery Flinch's stories into a movie.  But as filming begins, strange things begin to happen, and actors seem to be becoming their characters.  Penny must find out what's behind the horror before her own creation is the end of them all.

Shadows of the Silver Screen is the second in a series.  The first was Twelve Minutes to Midnight.  I don't think Shadows of the Silver Screen stands up well on its own.  It felt like all the character development must have been done in the first book, so it wasn't bothered with in this one.  It seems like Penny is suppose to be a plucky heroine,  but in action, she really wasn't that interesting and didn't really do very much.  She was under the spell of the magical movie camera as much as anyone else.  She didn't really do anything on her own.  She planned to, but then couldn't because of one thing or the other and had to be rescued in the end. 

Having not read Twelve Minutes to Midnight I don't know if that holds true in the first book as well, or if Penny is more interesting and more of a character.

The plot of Shadows of the Silver Screen was confusing and contrived.  The filmmaker has a camera that brings ghost into the world by taking the souls of others.  I didn't understand why he went to all the trouble of getting the rights to Penny's story, especially since he changed it dramatically to make it fit his own lost love story.  That was the foundation for the whole thing, and I didn't think that made a whole lot of sense so the story itself was a bit shaky.

I think there are much better, much more exciting middle grade mystery stories.  I would skip this one.

Shadows of the Silver Screen comes out September 1, 2014.

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