The Child Eater by Rachel Pollack is one of those split world novels. In our reality Jack Wisdom dreams of children in pain, but then puts it all behind him as he grows up and falls in love with Rebecca Vale and they have a son, Simon. Now Rebecca is just a bit witchy and Jack can cope with that, he’s a suppressed psychic himself, but then he catches her apparently bathing Simon in fire. Then its divorce and Rachel’s ultimate death from an aneurysm, as she paints a future warning for Simon on the wall of her apartment.
In a reality far, far away Matyas dreams of becoming a famous wizard and learning to fly. Fortunately, he gets taken in at the wizard school by Viel, who teaches him everything she knows. Still unsatisfied Matyas sets off on a quest to find the secret of flight, a quest that will ultimately stand his mastery of magic off against the Child Eater
Meanwhile Jack is getting the right hump with Simon’s psychic abilities, and Simon is getting pestered by the spirits of dead children asking for help. Perhaps that nice Dr Reina, with his upstate sanatorium can help.
Yes my psychic ability kicked in to say: “No don’t let the Dr take Simon away”, do parents ever listen? Of course they don’t!
Pollack has quite cleverly blended these two quite different worlds through alternating chapters eventually leading up to the final showdown with the Child Eater/Reina. It’s an entertaining read with the odd gory moment and some really imaginative and charming magical beings.
Often fun, but occasionally overlong I give The Child Eater a big 444 out of 666.
The Child Eater is out now in hardback, price £14.99 from Jo Fletcher Books.
Follow Rachel Pollack on Twitter.
Review by Simon Ball
Connect with Simon: @RealShipsCook or here.