Titus and his sister Pandora have another new nanny. It’s hard to keep nannies around the Strega-Borgia mansion, but despite the siblings’ best efforts to scare off the latest applicant, Mrs. McLachlan is undaunted. She’ll be taking care of the kids and their scary pets because their dad, Signor Luciano Strega-Borgia, has abandoned the family and their mom, Signora Baci Strega-Borgia, has started witch school.
The Strega-Borgia kids soon turn their attention to more difficult issues when their baby sister Damp is accidentally shrunken and uploaded into the World Wide Web. Soon after, a group of assassins hired by the mafia shows up at their house. Can Titus and Pandora get Damp back and defeat the killers, too?
Pure Dead Magic is the first in a series of children’s fantasy novels by Debi Gliori. It’s dark, zany, and over the top. Inside you’ll find a tarantula who wears lipstick, a dragon with diarrhea, an assassin who wears a bunny suit, a crocodile who eats nannies, a grandmother in the freezer, and a smelly baby whose diaper always needs changing. It’s all rather dark and silly in the vein of the Home Alone movies.
Pure Dead Magic is fun, but if you insist on your plots making sense or your villains being smart, don’t bother. The nonsensical plot was fine with me until the villain ordered his captive to spend hours unattended fixing a room full of computers with Internet access. I would have preferred a little more care with the plotting.
Debi Gliori’s writing style is often clever, but self-consciously so. Its constant attempts to be funny will probably weary some readers, but it worked pretty well in the audio version I listened to by Recorded Books (please note that there is more than one audio version). The way that Ron Keith’s uppercrust accent acted as a foil for the perpetual silliness actually added to the whimsy. If you’re going to read Pure Dead Magic, audio is definitely the way to go. It’s a quick fun read for kids who like a silly plot with a streak of black humor.
Pure Dead — (2001-2006) Pure Dead Trouble has also been published as Deep Trouble and Pure Dead Frozen has also been published as Deep Fear. Publisher: Things are not right at the Strega-Borgia castle. Signor Luciano Strega-Borgia has been kidnapped. Signora Baci Strega-Borgia is struggling with her spells at the Advanced Witchcraft Institute.Titus and Pandora don’t like their suspiciously cheerful and fearless new nanny. Baby Damp has been accidentally shrunk, e-mailed, and lost on the World Wide Web. And to top it off, there’s a gangster in a bunny suit lurking about… This seriously over-the-top, gothic romp is sure to have readers clamoring for the next Strega-Borgia adventure.