Meet Malice Morbid Malign. She’s from Underland, land of sorcery, spooks and skulduggery. But, she and her family live in Topside and mischief is their business . . . And the business of mischief is a very serious matter!
From Malignant House, Ma and Pa run the Malign Haunting Agency, tormenting Topside families and their homes. After all, it is their responsibility to maintain respectable levels of ghastly amongst the Topsiders. And as Underland representatives, the Malign’s hate books, they hate bathing, and they especially HATE helping.
The problem is, Malice is the exact opposite of her unpleasant, smelly, mischievous family. And when grandad ghosts mysteriously start disappearing, including her own beloved grandad, Malice has no choice but to help rescue him.
Malice partners up with her Uncle Vexatious, Private Investigator of Underland and outcast of the Malign family. Can they solve the case of the missing grandad-ghosts? And will Malice still be a Malign at the end of it?!
I've found it hard to keep on top of my blog for so many reasons this year, but Malice in Underland was too good not to review! It's right up there with my favourite spooky middle-grade reads and is a perfect next read for fangs of Isadora Moon and Amelia Fang.
The creepy Underland setting is gorgeously described and the illustrations by Hannah Peck really complement the tone of the book. I also loved how the characters were brought to life. Malice is a wonderfully relatable protagonist and even the most minor characters are well drawn.
The mystery of the missing grandad-ghosts is gripping and I didn't predict how it would all be resolved! The relationship between Malice and her family also adds another level to the conflict.
Malice in Underland is one of my favourite MG reads of the year, and I'll definitely look out for more spooky reads from Jenny Bayliss.
Thank you to Scholastic for the gifted copy!