Illustrator: Tony DiTerlizzi
Series: The Spiderwick Chronicles #5
Also in this series: The Field Guide, The Seeing Stone, Lucinda's Secret, The Ironwood Tree, The Chronicles of Spiderwick: A Grand Tour of the Enchanted World, Navigated by Thimbletack, Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, The Care and Feeding of Sprites
Published by Simon & Schuster on September 7th 2004
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
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Three ordinary kids, Jared, Simon, and Mallory Grace, have entered another world -- without leaving this one! Two remarkable talents, New York Times best-sellers Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, have risked everything to bring this remarkable account to light. Five books -- one thrilling adventure -- the Spiderwick Chronicles!
Their world is closer than you think.
Minor spoilers ahead!
This is the book where it all ends.
It’s a fine ending. This book does seem busier than the ones before it, and this is often the case when you need to wrap up a story. It often takes more work than you anticipate, although it didn’t seem to be actually much longer. But I admit, Mulgarath was properly frightening and cruel. The fight was too short, though. This is because they knew they couldn’t beat him in strength. It is rather sad, though—the reason he wasn’t able to fool Jared was because Jared knew that their father would never come back to them. It’s not the happiest note to end on. But there is a lesson in it: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. So yes, this book is a bit darker than the ones before it. There is more death as well. It is all quite understandable since we’re seeing Mulgarath’s evil close-up. You can’t exactly sugarcoat it. But it’s still a lot for 9-year-old twins and their older sister to go through. Thankfully, they were clever enough, and had help. I can’t even say luck had much to do with it, which is something I’m pleased to realise. It’s mostly cleverness, but still within the realm of reasonableness for people of their age. It just makes sense.
And of course the ending is bittersweet. There are too many unfortunate things that led up to this whole adventure for it to be wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end. I like the realism. I like the idea that things are for the best, even if they are sad. We must be strong and get through them. That is something I believe very firmly. I believe everyone grew from this adventure. I still think it could have been explored a bit more, as in the various magical creatures…but again, that’s what the Guide is for. As well as the spin-off series. The world-building is quite intriguing for a limited-world scenario. The Guide makes it so much bigger.
As for the movie, I think it was a good adaptation. They definitely changed the plot a bit, but kept some important aspects the same. Important as in, important to the overall feeling of the books. Would I have preferred they follow the plots of all five books more or less exactly? Of course. As with pretty much anything. But did I still enjoy it? Of course. I almost want to consider it canon as well because the things they introduced fit very well with the world created. It was also cast very well. Mallory could have been taller and thinner and with darker hair, but she certainly had the attitude. Jared was just as depressed as he is in the books. And the part at the end, where he isn’t fooled because he knows his father isn’t coming back—well, in the movie, it’s rather because his relationship with his father isn’t actually that great. It’s even more depressing. His overall angst is definitely much more tangible in the movie. I’m also not so sure about Mulgarath’s portrayal. It seemed more of a joke, at least in terms of looks. In the books, he actually looks scary, and they should have stuck with that. There are other characters, like Thimbletack and Hogsqueal, who did seem there more for comic relief in the movie, but I actually did like that. It felt somewhat appropriate, especially with Hogsqueal, who is comic relief in the books too. I would also have appreciated more of the faeries being represented in the movie, but the ones that were there, they did a good job with. The sprite scene was properly magical and Byron did indeed look like a griffin. They did a good job keeping both the dysfunctional family dynamic and the overarching malicious-faerie dilemma in the movie. It wasn’t a perfect adaptation but it was pretty good. I would have expected a more memorable soundtrack though. Music doesn’t have much place in the books, but anything magical I feel should have a good soundtrack.
reaction upon finishing
Well…that’s it! But I still want more.
this book in one word