When Harley’s grandparents AND her baby brother, Malcolm, disappear down an exploding toilet, she realises that their rustic caravan is not what it seems. Revealed as the Portal of Doom to the Land of the Dead, Harley has to take a leap into the unknown if she’s ever going to see them again. A family secret is shared as she embarks down the loo towards an uncertain path filled with monsters, mayhem and everything in between.
Once in the Back of Beyond, she is reunited with Ollie, her imaginary friend that got into her into a whole lot of trouble in the past – she is not as pleased to see him as he is to see her. Not only does Harley learn that she is a Visionary AND considered a Legendary Hero to those that have passed on but if she has any hope of getting back home she has to complete The Legendary Twelve Tasks along the Path of Heroes otherwise Harley and Malcolm are stuck down there forever!
With help from those she least expects, Harley travels along a treacherous trail where she fights Beast Guardians every step of the way – legends told by her grandmother of the Many-Limbed Optimugoon and Hallyria the Unrelenting constantly playing in the back of her mind as she conquers each beast. However, actual doubts and regrets cling to her as she navigates her way onwards and it’s only when she begins to understand the true meaning of friendship can she let go of past anxieties and embrace who she really is, preferably back with the living. Can she complete the tasks in time? Can she save her little brother from the wicked Idolicles, the Failed Legendary Hero, or will she miss their exit and end up in eternal damnation forever?
For those who love the quirkiness of ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ with a little splash of the meaning of life/death from ‘Coco’ thrown in for good measure, this book will have you laughing out loud one minute and hiding under the covers the next. A fantastic story of endurance, family loyalty and believing in yourself, no matter what life (or death) throws your way.
Jim Beckett has created a superb edge-of-your-seat story with tremendous illustrations by Olia Muza that will have you hooked from the first page.
This is one of those stories that will stay with me for a long time and I can’t wait to see what Harley gets up to next!