Dark Spell by Gill Arbuthnott

Dark Spell

Written by Gill Arbuthnott
Part of the Kelpies Series

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Selected by our Editorial Experts

A brilliant, engrossing pre-teen fantasy from the author of Winterbringers and The Keeper’s Daughter set in Scotland. Callie Hall has just discovered she's a witch and nothing will ever be the same again. Can Callie control her power and the darkness that threatens to take over her life....and save her friend Josh?

A Piece of Passion from Commissioning Editor for Kelpies, Eleanor Collins:
Dark Spell is Gill Arbuthnott at her brilliant, page-turning best. Callie and Josh feel like people you know, even though they are dealing with something extraordinary – something spine-shiveringly chilling. I got thrillingly scared sometimes when reading the manuscript for the book. There’s a moment when Callie is woken from deep sleep by her cat hissing at the dense darkness under her desk… I can’t say more.


Dark Spell by Gill Arbuthnott

15-year-old Callie Hall has just found out she's a witch, and things keep going wrong. Sometimes her mind seems to make things happen, things she can't control. She can set fire to things without a match, and when she's angry people can get hurt. Josh understands she's a bit weird, but its only on a dark and dangerous visit to the tunnels under the ruins of St Andrews' Castle that he realises just how strange she really is. Something comes back with Callie - in Callie, something she can't escape.


'This is a modern-day Harry Potter set near a Scottish school in St Andrews. The characters of Callie, who has just discovered she's a witch and Josh were brilliant... I cannot recommend this book highly enough.'

'Usually I don't get excited about setting, but this book was set in Scotland near St. Andrews, an unusual place for a YA novel. It was refreshing to read about a locale I've never really heard of besides the golf. All told, a solid 4 stars.'

'Dark Spell is a story about a young girl coming to terms with her new abilities, abilities that make her unique and different from those around her... Making Dark Spell a coming of age story with a paranormal/witchy twist.'

'The characterisation is excellent, and I particularly like the way Callie is shown struggling to get to terms with her powers which read almost as hormonal energy. It is as though teenage frustration or anger flares up inside her and the energy breaks out through her fingertips. This is elegant writing as it reads as an extension of bodily stress that we have all felt at one time or another and it functions as a connection between the supernatural and a reality we can recognise. This is a pacey, thoughtful, scary, exhilarating read and highly recommended.'

About the Author

Gill Arbuthnott

Gill Arbuthnott: "I was born and brought up in Edinburgh, so completely failed to appreciate what a wonderful place it was until I'd lived somewhere else! I studied Zoology at St Andrews University, then did a couple of years medical research in Southampton, but I didn't take to the south of England… When I came back to Edinburgh I took up a biology teaching post, and I've been here ever since.
I'm married, have two children, one cat and occasional use of a snake. I live in the Bruntsfield/Morningside area of Edinburgh, where it now seems to be compulsory to live if you write (or perhaps to write if you live...).
I teach Biology part time, though it often feels like full time, and write whenever I get the chance, which isn't nearly often enough."


What is the maddest thing you have ever done?

Which of the mad scientists would you have liked to meet and why?

Which discovery would you have liked to have made?

What do you think is the best discovery made by a scientist?

It’s not an important discovery, but it has made a lot of people very happy… The discovery of how to make chocolate so that it starts to melt at the temperature of the human mouth!

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Book Info


224 pages
Interest Age: From 11


Gill Arbuthnott
More books by Gill Arbuthnott

Author's Website



Kelpies an imprint of Floris Books

Publication date

25th April 2013




Publisher Profile

Kelpies an imprint of Floris Books is an imprint of Kelpies


Floris Books celebrate quality children’s books with brilliant authors, engaging stories and a Scottish twist! They create books that capture children’s imaginations at all ages. Under 6s will have loads of fun with Picture Kelpies picture books, 9 to 12-year-olds will be whisked away by Kelpies and young teens will be gripped by KelpiesTeen novels.

Follow @DiscoverKelpies on Twitter or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/DiscoverKelpies.

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