‘I love reading new books that are written for children who are ready to sink their teeth into longer more complicated stories. As you can judge from the cover this is no fairy story, but it is a great book for mature kids who want to read something of substance. The characters are realistic, and it is so important for young readers to have characters which they can love and others they wonder about. It’s part of their growing ability to learn to accept their own feelings and trust their instincts within the safety of a book’s pages … The plot is amazing and I’m sure kids won’t want to put this book down until they have finished it. So, expect an argument if they have started reading this just before bedtime! Once hooked, I’m sure your children will want to read the whole series.’

Susan Day, author and illustrator

Whirling sand ghosts, secret potions and a furious firebird… The adventure continues in The Howling Sands.

I’m not sure if you get much better than this for a teaser. It offers the suggestion that you are being drawn into a continuing saga and at Book 4 in the series, this is most certainly the case, with further instalments planned for 2018 and beyond.

I need to preface this review by admitting I would have benefitted from reading Emerald Child, The Shaman’s Secret and The Sorrow of the Waters, before embarking on The Howling Sands. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be read as a stand-alone adventure but there is a great deal of assumed knowledge in Book 4, as with any good fantasy saga. I’d suggest that you either start collecting the books from the beginning, if you know you have a mature and engaged, young reader of fantasy on your hands. Or, dip your toe in the water with Hughes’s latest tome and if your child loves it, they can play an exciting game of catch-up, before Book 5 is released.

‘Kalika’ has been likened to many fantasy classics and the first thing that came to mind for me was Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series. This legendary writer and his books represent what the fantasy genre is all about – an extraordinary web of characters, the presence of mythical creatures, complex worlds, societies, cultures and languages, the threat of impending battle and good vs evil.

In just the space of one 360-page book, Hughes employs and manipulates all these classic ‘totems’ of the genre; no mean feat in terms of storytelling. And by all suggestions, the continuing narrative that has come before, establishes the never-ending quest, to no lesser a degree.’

Brydie Wright, children’s author