It’s 5pm on New Year’s Eve in the Villa Nightmare, and as Shadow Sorcery Minister Beelzebub Preposteror’s thumb-striking clock counts down each hour with an Ouch! , Minister Preposteror draws closer to missing his midnight deadline for fulfilling his annual quota of evil deeds and being foreclosed . Up against a tight deadline and threats from His Hellish Excellency, the Minister of Pitch Darkness himself, Preposteror has all but given up when the arrival of an unexpected visitor promises hope: his aunt, the witch Tyrannia Vampirella (also threatened with foreclosure ) proposes that they work together to brew the Notion Potion, a powerful formula that will grant all their evil wishes. As the clock continues to tick, a reluctant team of cat and raven have just seven hours to thwart the plans of their sorcerer masters and save the world from destruction. The Night of Wishes, from The Neverending Story author Michael Ende, anticipates the world of Harry Potter: a world in which magic is not only very real, and wielded by both forces good and evil, but also bureaucratized with its practitioners fitting into a tightly regulated hierarchical system.
New York Review of Books edition, hardback, new