Possessions Volume 2: The Ghost Table
The first Possessions book, Unclean Getaway, was a pleasant surprise for me last year. I didn’t expect to like a kids’ book about a demon possessing a little girl and its ghostly friends, but the story was told with such energy and humor by Ray Fawkes that I was charmed.
Where the previous book was done in black, white, and “sickly green”, The Ghost Table is highlighted in bluish turquoise. The demon Gurgazon is an inhabitant of the House for Captured Spirits and Ghostly Curiosities, Ms. Llewellyn-Vane’s collection that’s maintained by Mr. Thorne, the butler. Gurgazon only wants to escape — although, honestly, everyone’s happier with things the way they are, since there, Gurgazon has other spectral friends and can do whatever it wants (except leave).
The humor of the story comes fundamentally from how very like a child the demon’s behavior is. It rages, throws itself around, hits others, doesn’t want to do as it’s told, and throws up frequently. On top of that are the many creative and unusual ghosts Ray Fawkes has created. The cast nearly doubles here, as a competition forms between Ms. Llewellyn-Vane and another lady and her collection who visit for a dinner party.
The events are funny, as are the new personalities, but there’s also a mystery underlying it all. Fawkes is slowly revealing the background of his other spirits plus hinting at a lot of questions regarding the unflappable Thorne. He’s incapable of being beaten by any of the ghosts who want to escape, he always appears at just the right moment, and he seems to have been working with them a very long time. The cartooning is deceptively simple, which makes it approachable, and keeps the spirits cute instead of horrific. My favorite is the haunted old-style jukebox that plays songs to communicate even though it’s not plugged in.
The first book was enjoyable; this volume is, too, plus it sets up a lot more depth and possibilities for the series. A third book, The Better House Trap, is planned for Spring 2012. I’m left pondering the implications of a prison that helps its inhabitants. Or perhaps the forced socialization of daycare is a better comparison, given the lead character.