We review the book reportedly behind the inspiration for Platform 9 and 3/4s in Harry Potter – The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson
Platform 13 – the blurb
Under Platform 13 at King’s Cross Station there is a secret door that leads to a magical island …
It appears only once every nine years. And when it opens, four mysterious figures step into the streets of London. A wizard, an ogre, a fey and a young hag have come to find the prince of their kingdom, stolen as a baby nine years before.
But the prince has become a horrible rich boy called Raymond Trottle, who doesn’t understand magic and is determined not to be rescued.
From the blurb it’s easy to see where the ‘inspiration behind Harry Potter’ comes from. Platform 13 was first published in 1994, three years before the first Harry Potter. Yet really, the platform at Kings Cross is where the similarities end. Yes there is magic by the bucket load, but it’s more harpie’s handbags and mistmakers than You Know Who and Quidditch. Platform 13 isn’t a story of good v evil, it’s a lost and found, mistaken identity kind of book with a dash of belonging thrown in.
There was plenty of humour and imagination and some great characters, even if the twist was a little obvious. I would have liked to see Raymond and Mrs Trottle get more of a comeuppance. I would have liked the ending to be a little less twee. However this is a children’s novel not an adult one so my opinions do need to be taken with a pinch of old age salt.
Beyond Platform 13
If you like the book, Witch Wars author Sibbeal Pounder has written a follow on – Beyond Platform 13 published THIS MONTH. In it Odge travels to Vienna (the place of Ibbotson’s birth) to investigate why the mist surrounding the Island of Mist is disappearing. Can she discover the reason before the beloved island is lost forever?