I discovered this book at my library. It is the incredible brilliant debut novel of Benedict Mirow who seems to be a master of fantasy. This story takes you into a world full of magic. Where witches ride brittle-brooms and cars avoid cats on the street. For me, one of the best books of 2020 and for sure a big surprise. 

Die Chroniken Von Mistle End-Der Greif Erwacht*
by Benedict Mirow
Die Chroniken Von Mistle End #1
Publisher Thienemann on July 16, 2020
Genre Fantasy
Pages 414
Format Hardcover
Source Library

A car that hopes to avoid a cat, flying chocolate witches whizzing back and forth on brittle-brooms, and a boy who threatens to turn into a wolf … At first glance, Mistle End and its residents are striking Cedrik a bit weird, almost eerie. And yet he immediately feels at home there. The rustic houses, the river, and the woods all around give Cedrik a feeling of security. Can he finally feel at home in the village in the middle of the Scottish Highlands? Bit by bit, Cedrik reveals the magical secret of the place. And when the guardian of Mistle End challenges him one night to the gryphon test, he realizes that deep within him lies a gift that he did not even dare to dream of … (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary).
Cedrik is new in town. A boy from the big city who has no clue how special Mistle End is. But he feels that something is different. And when he hears that he is special and that he has some sort of magic he is sure that he will do anything to protect his new home, his family, and friends. But not everyone is happy about his arrival. 

The author and the book were absolutely new to me. Because of the cover and the brief synopsis, I was expecting a story full of magic. And that´s exactly what was presented to me. The author has a fabulous writing style that sparkles with fantastic scenes and great dialogues and takes the reader into a story that is not new in terms of the characters but is retold in a completely refreshing way. 

There is an unbelievable mental cinema playing out while reading, which could not be better. Magical creatures of all kinds, good and bad, come together here and amaze people with so many tricks, skills, and truths. Wonderful action, great characters, and a successful plot ensure the best entertainment.

It is astonishing how the most diverse characters complement each other in the best possible way and encourage top performance – if this is possible with fictional characters. Everything comes together here. A jealous boy, smart siblings, a modest only child, and parents who are sometimes absent-minded and unworldly or almost reminiscent of helicopter parents. A successful mix of reality and completely detached but always lovingly presented. I´m just excited!

This novel is the surprise of the year in children´s books – at least for me. And the appealing cover, a great sounding synopsis, and an author who obviously masters and knows how to use his craft. For me, THE book discovery of 2020 and therefore part of my Best Books of the Year list. 

Happy reading

*This book was, at the time this review was published, only available in the German language.

Deutsche Rezension

Der Autor als auch das Buch waren für mich absolut neu. Aufgrund des Covers und der kurzen Inhaltsangabe erwartete ich eine Geschichte voller Magie. Und genau das wurde mir auch präsentiert. Der Autor hat einen sagenhaften Schreibstil, der von fantastischen Szenen und klasse Dialogen nur so sprüht und den Leser in eine Geschichte entführt, die zwar von den Figuren her nicht neu ist, aber auf vollkommen erfrischende Art neu erzählt wird.

Da spielt sich ein unglaubliches Kopfkino ab beim Lesen, das besser nicht sein könnte. Magische Geschöpfe aller Art, gut wie böse, geben sich hier ein Stelldichein und verblüffen die Menschen mit so manchen Tricks, Können und Wahrheiten. Herrliche Action, tolle Charaktere und ein absolut gelungener Plot sorgen für beste Unterhaltung.

Es ist erstaunlich, wie sich die unterschiedlichsten Charaktere bestmöglich ergänzen und zu Höchstleistungen anspornen, wenn dies mit fiktiven Figuren möglich ist. Hier kommt alles zusammen. Ein eifersüchtiger Junge, ein gewitztes Geschwisterpärchen, ein bescheidenes Einzelkind und Eltern, die teilweise zerstreut und weltfremd sind oder fast an Helikoptereltern erinnern. Eine gelungene Mischung aus Realität und völlig abgehoben, aber stets liebevoll dargestellt. Ich bin einfach begeistert!

Dieser Roman ist für mich die Überraschung des Jahres im Kinderbuchbereich. Ein ansprechendes Cover, eine toll klingende Inhaltsangabe und ein Autor, der offenbar sein Handwerk beherrscht und einzusetzen weiß. Für mich DIE Buchentdeckung des Jahres 2020 und daher Teil meiner Best Books of the Year-Liste.

Benedict Mirow
Benedict Mirow ©Matthias Boch

Benedict Mirow was born in Munich in 1974. The ethnologist and director has been writing, shooting, and producing documentaries in the fields of art and culture for many years and creates film portraits about artists such as Daniel Hope, Lang Lang, and Paulo Coelho. He has won numerous international awards with his films, including a Diapason d´Or, an International Classical Music Award, and a Klassik Echo; as an ethnological consultant, he played a key role in the success of Caroline Link´s OSCAR® winner Nowhere in Africa. After spending time in Africa and Vienna, Benedict Mirow now lives and works with his daughter and two cats in Munich and writes fantasy novels for children. 


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