Ghost Knight Review (Kids Paranormal Fantasy)

Title: Ghost Knight | Author: Cornelia Funke | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | Pub. Date: 2012-5-1 | Pages: 352 | ISBN13: 9780316056144 | Genre: Kids Paranormal Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Library

Ghost Knight

From international phenomenon Cornelia Funke, the bestselling author of Reckless and Inkheart.

Eleven-year-old Jon Whitcroft never expected to enjoy boarding school. Then again, he never expected to be confronted by a pack of vengeful ghosts, either. And then he meets Ella, a quirky new friend with a taste for adventure…

Together, Jon and Ella must work to uncover the secrets of a centuries-old murder while being haunted by terrifying spirits, their bloodless faces set on revenge. So when Jon summons the ghost of the late knight Longspee for his protection, there’s just one question: Can Longspee truly be trusted? – Goodreads
Book cover for Ghost Knight

Ghost Knight Review

Cornelia Funke is best known for her Inkworld books. Although I own the first one, I haven’t read them, so I have no idea how Ghost Knight measures up. I liked it, though. It wasn’t quite as atmospheric or engaging as some I’ve read lately, but it was still good.  The action was nicely paced, and the dialogue felt spot on. Funke doesn’t shy away from giving the reader some mildly disturbing scenes with an air of menace. (There’s a scene involving some corpsicles that had me a little grossed out.)

I liked the relationship between Jon and Ella. They’re right at that age where hormones are starting to play up, but it doesn’t really figure in the story. Not beyond a few scenes involving the expected teasing that happens when his friends find out he’s hanging out with a girl. And not just a girl, but the girl that everyone has wanted to plant one on. Jon knows Ella is a girl, and she’s pretty, but he’s definitely got his mind on more important things. Like not dying.

The characters in Ghost Knight travel to some well-known places, but the author keeps the story on point. Locations included Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge. Most of the ghosts involved in the story were real people. William Longespée was the 3rd Earl of Salisbury, and did indeed have a wife named Ela. Charles Stourton really was a jerk who murdered, got caught, and got what was coming to him.

Ghost Knight is a thick but small book (hardcover). It’s easy to read in a couple sittings. Depending on how easily scared your child is, it might be fun to read over a week’s worth of bedtimes.They should be fine, because it’s clear from the outset that everything works out well for the kids. The story is told as Jon is looking back, and he makes references to how things are in his ‘today’. It’s also made clear that the ghosts can’t hurt them, and so on. So they’re creepy, but not truly every scary. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids under eight, though.

Cornelia Funke is a talented writer, and she makes few missteps in Ghost Knight. The only thing that keeps me from raving about it is that it’s a very calm story. It’s not one that has  you on the edge of your seat or anything like that. It’s competently told, but it’s never an exciting read. Overall, though, I’m sure it’s perfect for a lot of middle-grade readers out there.