- Ages 9-12
- By Debi Gliori
- Reviewed by Kit
The following are out of 5
Racial Representation: 0
LGBTQ+ Representation: 0
Disability Representation: 0
Body Size Representation: 5
Gender Representation: 5
Socioeconomic Representation: 0
Mental Health Representation: 5
Religious Representation: 0
Own Voice: yes-the author has written about her own depression
The Pure Dead Saga takes place in Stregia-Schloss the home of the quirky Stregia-Borgias and the centre of all magical weirdness in Scotland. It starts off with a “simple” mafia kidnapping and quickly escalates to deranged plots involving homunculi, moody talking dragons, terrorist threats, time travel and plenty of family arguments. The writing effortlessly whiplashes between gross-out humour, poetic prose, moments of badassery and hilarious stupidity from heartwaming sweetness to heartbreaking sadness.
Admittedly there isn’t much going on for it diversity/rep-wise (unless you count the rural Scottish setting and the main family being Scots-Italian) but it has a mostly female cast who get to have a wide range of personalities from magical geniuses, to plucky child heroines, mysterious elders, flaky-but-loving mothers and surprisingly heroic animal sidekicks. They also get to be as comically silly and flawed to the same extent as male characters. Without spoiling too much the biggest badasses in the setting are two elderly, not-Hollywood glamorous women and a two-year-old girl. In one of the later books the Stregia-Borgias suffer a bereavement and several of them suffer depression-like symptoms which are beautifully described and sympathetically portrayed.