Ministry of Pandemonium

Ministry of Pandemonium

3.59 (255 ratings by Goodreads)
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When Ben Harvester meets the mysterious Mr October in Highgate Cemetery, nothing could have prepared him for the strange and dramatic turn his life is about to take.

Soon Mr October is leading him towards his true calling - his work at the Ministry of Pandemonium, helping to guide the dead to the afterlife.

But Ben quickly discovers that there are terrifying forces keen to thwart the work of the Ministry and lead the newly-dead astray. And when Ben's mum suddenly becomes seriously ill, he questions whether he can continue with the important job he has been given.

This spine-tingling, magical book is an exciting return for author Chris Westwood and a thrilling read from start to finish.

Follow all Ben Harvester and Mr October's adventures at
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 27mm | 288g
  • Frances Lincoln Childrens Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1847801900
  • 9781847801906
  • 487,198

Review quote

A marvellously well-written thriller for older children || There are some deliciously dark moments in this middle grade fantasy by Chris Westwood and the central idea of a Ministry existing to help ghosts pass on to the afterlife is well executed and very believable. || 'Ministry of Pandemonium' is beautifully realised. A deliciously spooky, supernatural thriller - with real heart. || Ben doesn' t know he' s special until he' s recruited by Mr October, who wants him to help steer the recently deceased towards the afterlife before they can be diverted by the forces of evil. Suitably horrifying creations - like the Mawbreed, " industrial-strength vacuum cleaners of doom [which] suck out the souls of the living" - are balanced by a well-crafted sense of place and excellent characterisation. || What makes this story stand head and shoulders above most horror for kids is the sheer quality of the writing. I could not stop reading and I hold Westwood responsible for many hours of lost sleep. The main characters - Ben, October, Lu and Becky - are all originals, and London itself forms another main actor in the drama. This has to be the first book of the series, since although there is a stonking battle at the end, not all is resolved. And I, to my surprise, can't wait for the next instalment. || 4* - The underlying theme of this unconventional and courageous book is the randomness of fate. We are creatures at the mercy of chance. Parents who want to bring up their children to believe htat good and evil are rewarded and punished on some basis of justice might think carefully before they by Westwood's book. || I liked many things about this book. I liked the cover - silver, black and red and I liked the way the pages are edged with grey, giving a sinister feel to it. I liked the fact that Ben is portrayed as a decent lad. He is moral - it is not a sin to think good thoughts - and although the hero is a boy, it is a book that will appeal equally to girls. I like the fact it is readable and divided into 26 fairly short chapters... And I shall teach the entymology of pandemonium to every new pupil I meet. To conclude, to my surprise, I liked everything about this book. || 'Ministry of Pandemonium' is pretty special itself: an engrossing modern gothic story with subtle nods to Poe. || With a punchy dialogue and intensely portrayed descriptive passages that fire the reader's imagination, the story is written in a style which makes for a gripping, fast read. Westwood's vision is in places quite dark, the atmosphere round and about his Islington setting quite spooky and the transitions he effects between the real and supernatural worlds are handled convincingly. Young readers will love this, though it is not, perhaps, to be taken too seriously, though thee are interesting questions being raised here about mortality, death and the afterlife. || As close to the legend (Stephen King) as any other writer could get to. It is a fast paced action/adventure/horror story which builds up to a thrilling conclusion. The thing that made this book so good is the fact that you could go for hours reading it and not be able to put it down. It's easy to picture and it can even give you dreams which it did for me! I highly recommend buying this book. (Lewis Mitchell, Trinity Academy) || Full of gripping and dark action.
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About Chris Westwood

Chris Westwood was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, the son of a coal miner and a school teacher. His first published writing was for the London music paper Record Mirror, where he worked as a staff reporter for three years.

His first children's book, A Light In The Black, was a runner-up for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. His second, Calling All Monsters, was optioned for film three times by Steven Spielberg. After a break from writing, spending seven years caring full-time for his father, Chris returned with Ministry of Pandemonium, the first in a series of novels set in a secret, alternative London.

He now lives part of the time in East London, and the rest of the time in a world of his own.
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Rating details

255 ratings
3.59 out of 5 stars
5 21% (53)
4 34% (86)
3 33% (83)
2 10% (25)
1 3% (8)
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