The Last Chance Hotel (Seth Seppi Mystery, #1)
Seth is a kitchen boy at the remote Last Chance Hotel. His father has long ago left, leaving him imprisoned until he is old enough to set out on his own. If there's any hope he has, it's to be the greatest chef that ever lived... just like his father. One night, a band of magicians begin to arrive to participate in a secret meeting -- a Prospect Selection Procedure to determine the most talented magicians in the world, judged by their leader Dr. Thallonius. Seth has one task: to make Dr. Thallonius the greatest dessert he's ever tasted. Then, maybe he will help Seth find a way to freedom.But when the doors to the private meeting open, and Dr. Thallonius lay dead on the floor, the group blames the dessert, which means that it's Seth who will pay the price. But Seth knows he's innocent, and only has so much time to eliminate each suspect and prove his innocence.

The Last Chance Hotel (Seth Seppi Mystery, #1) Details

TitleThe Last Chance Hotel (Seth Seppi Mystery, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 7th, 2018
PublisherChicken House
ISBN-139781911077671
Rating
GenreFantasy, Childrens, Middle Grade, Mystery, Crime, Magic, Fiction

The Last Chance Hotel (Seth Seppi Mystery, #1) Review

  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    This is the story of Seth, who lives and works at The Last Chance Hotel. He has really quite a miserable life, but enjoys cooking, creating dishes that are wonderful to look at and eat.A group of magicians all come to stay at the hotel. Seth has no clue why they are there, but then one if the group is poisoned and dies and Seth is blamed. He decides that he needs to clear his name by finding out who really did the murder.This was fine. It is a middle grade so is an easy, quick read a This is the story of Seth, who lives and works at The Last Chance Hotel. He has really quite a miserable life, but enjoys cooking, creating dishes that are wonderful to look at and eat.A group of magicians all come to stay at the hotel. Seth has no clue why they are there, but then one if the group is poisoned and dies and Seth is blamed. He decides that he needs to clear his name by finding out who really did the murder.This was fine. It is a middle grade so is an easy, quick read and I thought it was very entertaining.
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  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    This middle grade magical murder mystery was pretty good fun! For me, there was a little too much going on, and Seth isn’t always the best main character as he doesn’t know anything lol. Though that works as a plot device, it means you feel like you always want someone to just tell you what’s going on. He’s also a bit of a push over, and I’m looking forward to how the reveals at the end of the book will (hopefully!) change that. And I loved Nightshade. Talking cat ftw. She helped with the glorio This middle grade magical murder mystery was pretty good fun! For me, there was a little too much going on, and Seth isn’t always the best main character as he doesn’t know anything lol. Though that works as a plot device, it means you feel like you always want someone to just tell you what’s going on. He’s also a bit of a push over, and I’m looking forward to how the reveals at the end of the book will (hopefully!) change that. And I loved Nightshade. Talking cat ftw. She helped with the gloriously spooky feel it had going on. The magic warred a little with the mystery, especially as Seth was trying to sort out both, so it felt a little info-dump-y in places. But the both elements were good on their own, and I especially like the magical elements for how it all seems to work. I’m assuming there will be a follow up, and I hope we get to see more of that. I’m giving this 3.5 stars, as it doesn’t hold up to the magic of Nevermoor or the mystery of The Lost Twin, but it does do both well, and it’s awesome and fun to see them combined.
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  • John Naylor
    January 1, 1970
    A book about a teenager that is thrust I to the world of magic and mystery. I am going to try and avoid comparing it to another series. There are a lot of differences.The author has the ability to produce some brilliant descriptive writing and characters that you invest in. I feel some minor (and possibly one major) characters could have been expanded upon more without losing the story or the mystery. It was a good read for any age but it also did drag in points. It created a world a A book about a teenager that is thrust I to the world of magic and mystery. I am going to try and avoid comparing it to another series. There are a lot of differences.The author has the ability to produce some brilliant descriptive writing and characters that you invest in. I feel some minor (and possibly one major) characters could have been expanded upon more without losing the story or the mystery. It was a good read for any age but it also did drag in points. It created a world and some rules of this world on an intriguing manner. It just lacked magic in some places. I did enjoy the fact that certain cliches were set up and ignored. I expected a few things in the ending and was happy that they didn't happen.A good start to a series that could get better. There is plenty of room for the series and world to grow.
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  • Alice Maton
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed reading this book! It was like a cross between Harry potter and Agatha Christie. There was suspense boarding on frustration as the reader goes through the murder mystery. The main character, annoyingly, doesn't help himself and keeps a lot to himself, a sort of dramatic irony, as we know that information might help him but he doesnt say anything! There are many puzzles and inferences that can be made throughout this book, an interesting read for a key stage 2 class. I really lik I really enjoyed reading this book! It was like a cross between Harry potter and Agatha Christie. There was suspense boarding on frustration as the reader goes through the murder mystery. The main character, annoyingly, doesn't help himself and keeps a lot to himself, a sort of dramatic irony, as we know that information might help him but he doesnt say anything! There are many puzzles and inferences that can be made throughout this book, an interesting read for a key stage 2 class. I really liked the descriptions throughout as i could picture the scene. A slow start as the author sets the scene and background information but worth pushing on, you wont be disappointed. I just hope there is a sequel!
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  • Sarah Hunnicutt
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Scholastic Press for sharing this book with KidLitExchange for me to review! This book is already available for purchase. All opinions are my own.This book was a slow starter! I spent the first 100 pages not know what was going on and it really bothered me. After I pushed through, I really started to enjoy it. The rising action, climax, and resolution made up for it.Seth Seppi is a dishwasher/bellboy/maid/cook at The Last Chance Hotel. He has no memory of his mo Thanks to Scholastic Press for sharing this book with KidLitExchange for me to review! This book is already available for purchase. All opinions are my own.This book was a slow starter! I spent the first 100 pages not know what was going on and it really bothered me. After I pushed through, I really started to enjoy it. The rising action, climax, and resolution made up for it.Seth Seppi is a dishwasher/bellboy/maid/cook at The Last Chance Hotel. He has no memory of his mother and his father left suddenly when he was a child. He works tirelessly for the Bunn family, who run the hotel and make Seth do the majority of the work. The Last Chance Hotel is basically in the middle of nowhere, an enormous forest surrounds the hotel. An interesting group of people arrive at the hotel for some sort of magical conference. Seth is eager to please the guests and goes to the trouble of making a special dessert for the man in charge. But when the man drops dead from poison put in the man's dessert, what is Seth going to do? He has been framed for murder and has also just learned that magic is very much alive and real. His cat, Nightshade, can actually talk and tries to help Seth when she can. Seth has to figure out who to trust, who the murderer is, and what the dark magic around the hotel means. I will probably read the second book. The end ties a lot of things up but it does leave you on a small cliff hanger, definitely room for a sequel.
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  • Daithi-Benji
    January 1, 1970
    Seth is a boy who works in hotel that is own by Bruno family and had special dinner party. A doctor is killed by Aeth’s special dessert and is innocent and a investigation occurs as magic lurksThis book was very fun book to read and I felt I should have read it during halloween the mystery was great and I really enjoyed all the characters and the oacing was great and magical highly reccomend it
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  • Lorraine
    January 1, 1970
    Magical foray into murder mystery for children.
  • Connie
    January 1, 1970
    My homework for October... Our kids book of the month. I loved this, it has everything that kids love. It's an adventure mystery, with a murder and some magic and best of all a talking cat. Hopefully there will be a follow up as there are couple of loose ends. A great read regardless. 😊
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  • Tori Hodges
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*Once you get past the obscure character names it was quite a fun read. Got me very into the Halloween mood 😊
  • Angela Groves
    January 1, 1970
    The great mix of magic and kids cosy crime. Think Harry Potter/Nevermoor meets a Murder Most Unladylike.
  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the boy and I liked the magic counsel meeting for a reason. But an unexpected murder brings more chaos to the mix, not to mention a talking cat! With strange goings on this was a fantastic mix of Harry Potter meeting Agatha Christie for children 9+Will you see who did it?A great jaunt that leaves more questions unanswered and another book 2 to get excited about.
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  • BooksForTopics
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Chance Hotel is an atmospheric murder mystery brimming with magic and mayhem that came to the attention of the publishing world when its manuscript won the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition in 2016. With the plot set up in a classic whodunit style with each of the suspects being guests at a hotel and the murder taking place in a locked room, this is the kind of story that keeps you guessing through its twists and turns and a few delightfully impish red herrings thrown i The Last Chance Hotel is an atmospheric murder mystery brimming with magic and mayhem that came to the attention of the publishing world when its manuscript won the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition in 2016. With the plot set up in a classic whodunit style with each of the suspects being guests at a hotel and the murder taking place in a locked room, this is the kind of story that keeps you guessing through its twists and turns and a few delightfully impish red herrings thrown in for good measure.Seth Seppi is a lowly kitchen boy at the Last Chance Hotel. Unfairly treated by the cruel hotel managers Mr and Mrs Bunn and their vindictive daughter Tiffany, Seth finds he has very little to look forward to except having the chance to practise perfecting new recipes just like his long-lost chef father had done years ago.When an enigmatic cast of new guests arrives at the hotel, Seth is fascinated by the unusual assortment of characters. It soon becomes clear that there is magic in the air and this is no ordinary convention. But when the important magician Dr Thallomius, who had initially been very warm towards Seth, unexpectedly dies after eating Seth’s special dessert, Seth finds that all the fingers of blame are pointing at him.What follows is a fast-paced investigation as Seth desperately attempts to clear his name and solve the mystery. At the same time, Seth discovers more about the existence of magic and finds himself increasingly captivated by the wonderful magical objects and secret histories he unearths. Readers will find themselves rooting for Seth and just as intrigued as he is by the magical world into which he gazes as he stands on its precipice. We leave with the impression there could be more to come from Seth and it would certainly be a joy to read more adventures inside the magical world Nicki Thornton has begun to construct here. I recommend this particularly for readers in KS2 who will enjoy getting their teeth stuck into a good old mystery. Many thanks to the publisher for kindly sending me a review copy of this book.
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  • Emily (a_court_of_bookworms)
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3 Stars-The Last Chance Hotel was a fun, atmospheric, mysterious Halloween read.In terms of the plot, the pacing of the novel ensured for a somewhat gripping book. The characters Nicki Thornton created were interesting, with each character having their own backstory and why they are assembling at the Last Chance Hotel.-I would recommend this novel to predominantly younger readers who are looking for a mysterious novel to read around Halloween.
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  • Lisa Andres
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favorite things to do in Waterstones (the UK equivalent of Barnes & Noble) is wander through the children's section and find new stories. A few weeks ago, when we were in London, this book was *everywhere.* And, after wavering for a long time (and realizing that if I bought it on Amazon, it wouldn't be any cheaper than if I just paid the exchange rate) I picked it up. It was, apparently, the "winner of the Times' Children's Fiction Competition" and was a magical murder mystery. And One of my favorite things to do in Waterstones (the UK equivalent of Barnes & Noble) is wander through the children's section and find new stories. A few weeks ago, when we were in London, this book was *everywhere.* And, after wavering for a long time (and realizing that if I bought it on Amazon, it wouldn't be any cheaper than if I just paid the exchange rate) I picked it up. It was, apparently, the "winner of the Times' Children's Fiction Competition" and was a magical murder mystery. And...it was an interesting read, I suppose. The best way to describe this book is that it'sAgatha Christie meets Harry Potter meets Sherlock Holmes with a dash of Scooby Doo thrown in. No, really: there's a line at the end of the book where one of the characters says, "The Bunns would have got away with it too, if it had been for Miss Squerr and her department checking on these things."--Agatha Christie: it's a murder mystery whodunit, yes, but more than that, it's a cast of people with odd names and murky backstories who assemble together in a spooky hotel in the middle of nowhere and all of them, in one way or another, have a motive or come under suspicion. There's even Inspector Pewter who is quirky, has unique methods, and a self-deprecating sense of humor that seems VERY Hercule Poirot. --Harry Potter: there's an orphan kid whose parents are absent and lives with a mean husband-wife couple and their awful daughter and all three of them treat him terribly. And at one point, he's even locked in a cupboard. (No word on whether it's located under the stairs.) And, spoiler alert, he may (or may not) have magic. --Sherlock Holmes: the climactic scene literally takes place at a waterfall that, for all intents and purposes, may as well be named Reichenbach. So, here's the thing. As far as mysteries go -- and the whodunit plot really picked up the last 150 pages which redeemed the book a tiny bit for me -- I would give it 4 stars. But. [Because there's always a 'but' isn't there?]But. One of the things that makes Agatha Christie murder mysteries so enjoyable to me (I know other people hate them) is that they're very character-driven, and there's really not much going on outside of the murder mystery.Thornton, however, throws a whole second plot in about magic and magical schools (oh, yes. That's right. There's a magical school too that our protagonist, Seth, may be attending. It's called Hogwarts -- no, wait. That's not right...) that just comes out of nowhere. Okay. Not out of *nowhere,* exactly because the jacket summary mentions "a strange gathering of magicians." But, TBH, I thought that meant like, you know, Houdini magicians, not Harry Potter-esque wizards. Because that's what they are. And the whole world building is just...y'all know I'm a stickler for world-building. Here, "magicians" are actually wizards/witches (essentially), and there's magic, but what are the rules? It was frustrating and admittedly a little confusing as a reader because the two stories seemed rather disjointed. I'm not saying it couldn't have worked -- because I think it could have -- but then you'd have to have (IMHO) your protagonist know about magic or at least introduce it earlier so that it didn't seem so disconnected. Bah. Probably a fine reader for Middle-grade readers who don't obsessively care about world building like I do.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    Warning; spoilers aheadThis story had a lot of potential and was generally very enjoyable except for some flaws that really took me out of the story. First of all, there is a strange writing style at times in terms of word choice, interpunction or splitting up sentences. An example would be: ''Immediately he touched it, it started to glow like it had been switched on inside'', or: ''The instant she let go, Seth spun to look and saw all the wooden figures rolling on the ground, all th Warning; spoilers aheadThis story had a lot of potential and was generally very enjoyable except for some flaws that really took me out of the story. First of all, there is a strange writing style at times in terms of word choice, interpunction or splitting up sentences. An example would be: ''Immediately he touched it, it started to glow like it had been switched on inside'', or: ''The instant she let go, Seth spun to look and saw all the wooden figures rolling on the ground, all the shafts of white light simply stopped, as if someone had pulled a switch.'' One more: ''He felt the pain and sweat broke out, his vision blurring for a second, but focused on one thing''. In my opinion these are stylistic mistakes that take the flow out of a story. Sentences that have commas when there should be a semi-colon in my opinion, wrong word choice (''immediately'' would have been better replaced with ''as soon as'', there are also several instances of people falling on the ''floor'' while they're outside - use ''ground'' then), weird run-on sentences with many commas and no linking words as demonstrated above, or the sentence ''he felt the pain and sweat broke out'' which just doesn't flow for me. There are also a few similarities to Harry Potter, for example a mirror and a teleglobe that both have some Pensieve-like mechanisms, and a kindly authoritative figure suspected of having practiced dark magic. The story also felt disjointed at times; there is the murder mystery on the one hand, and the magic mystery on the other. It's too much and distracts from each plotline in turn instead of flowing nicely into each other. And about the magic: there is a cage that is used to trap a sorcerer in order to use their magic, and that cage is used, but it is NEVER discussed who the enslaved sorcerer is whose magic is being used. I for real thought it was going to turn out it was Seth's dad trapped and that's why he ''disappeared'' all those years ago, but it's not even alluded to at all that there must be someone whose magic is being used by others through the cage. Like what? Also, early on Nightshade feverishly digs a hole in the wall revaling the magical book, and it's never explained why she all of a sudden started to do this. Like, did she sense the book? Was she instructed? I don't know. Lots of stuff does not get explained at all. Characters also don't answer straightforward questions: there are at least two instances where a character has to repeat an innocent, straightforward question three bloody times before getting an anti-climactic answer. Despite all that, it was an atmospheric and fun take on a middle-grade murder mystery. I really wish I loved this story as I loved Nevermoor or Malamander, and I think it could have been amazing, because it sounds EXACTLY like my kind of book. Spooky hotel, talking cats (though I didn't really feel any link to Nightshade unfortunately... She just comes across as a prop to add some more magic), murder, locked-room mystery, magic, and all that in the middle of the woods... What's not to love? Well, apparently quite a number of things. It may sound like I didn't like this book at all, but I did! I just think plot-wise and writing-wise there could be some improvements.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    A thoroughly intriguing closed room murder mystery with a magical bent and an entirely unpredictable ending. The atmospheric setting of a crumbling hotel in the middle of nowhere, a sometimes-when-it-deigns-to talking cat (!), the righting of historic wrongs, the development of unlikely allegiances and the settling of old scores- together with the odd subtle nods to the importance and magic of books, reading and knowledge- all add up to a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read. The first in A thoroughly intriguing closed room murder mystery with a magical bent and an entirely unpredictable ending. The atmospheric setting of a crumbling hotel in the middle of nowhere, a sometimes-when-it-deigns-to talking cat (!), the righting of historic wrongs, the development of unlikely allegiances and the settling of old scores- together with the odd subtle nods to the importance and magic of books, reading and knowledge- all add up to a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read. The first in a series and I'm very much looking forward to the next instalment."Seth loved this time of day in the autumn when you could breathe in the scent of fruit ripening in the air. Just for a few fleeting minutes, if you were lucky enough to catch it, the forest would wake under a cloud of sleepy fog that would gradually lift, exposing millions of leaves in a costume so different from their summer green, it felt like a totally new place. But that was the beauty of the forest. Every single day he would see something fresh, it would change hour by hour. Yet still somehow remain the same.""This is the most valuable thing to a sorcerer. However natural your magic, Seth, however good you think you are, no sorcerer should ever stop studying. Magic in the hands of someone who does no study and does not know what they are doing- now that is definitely dangerous. This is a library card.' 'Seriously?' Seth wanted to laugh. A library card?... 'Getting an Elysee library card is a tremendous honour. A ticket to the secret Elysee library of magical texts? How can you not be excited? There is nothing so brilliant and unexpected as the wonders you'll find in a book.' Seth looked back down at the card. It was growing again. He could make out a beautiful old room, vast, seemingly endless, with an arched ceiling, full of shafts of daylight that highlighted ancient maps and globes. But what you noticed most was the books. Shelves and shelves of them, towering upwards, like a skyscraper of books."
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  • Sanja Jenkins
    January 1, 1970
    ”Seth is the downtrodden kitchen boy at the remote Last Chance Hotel, owned by the nasty Bunn family. His only friend is his black cat, Nightshade. But when a strange gathering of magicians arrives for dinner, kindly Dr Thallomius is poisoned by Seth's special dessert. A murder investigation ensues - and Seth is the main suspect.” ☠☠When I first saw this on my recommends list, I have to admit I wasn't sure if this was going to be a simple read as it was aimed for children. However, I read the fi ”Seth is the downtrodden kitchen boy at the remote Last Chance Hotel, owned by the nasty Bunn family. His only friend is his black cat, Nightshade. But when a strange gathering of magicians arrives for dinner, kindly Dr Thallomius is poisoned by Seth's special dessert. A murder investigation ensues - and Seth is the main suspect.” ☠️☠️When I first saw this on my recommends list, I have to admit I wasn't sure if this was going to be a simple read as it was aimed for children. However, I read the first few pages and thought this could be a good read. Yes, the language is simplistic but it didn't talk down to the reader. I found the character of Seth to be okay. I felt sorry for him with the constant bullying from Tiffany and her family and would have very much liked to have punched Tiffany at the beginning of the book. So it was very cathartic to find that Seth was able to punch her towards the climax of the book. The magically world is very subtle in this book. It's not as whimsical as Harry Potter but then there is several books to explore this world, whilst this book I feel that there is more to say in terms of the world. It was interesting that people had to prove their magic to get into the Prospect to join the magical world and the mystery part of the book was very well done. I had an Agatha Christie vibe throughout the book but also a bit of clue due to the layout of the story. I would love to know what happens next as it just sorta ends with Tiffany disappearing and this other character the Red Valerian being the actual big bad in the book. On terms of the ending, it was a tad be obvious but would be good to see if this is developed in a next book. Overall, I thought the pacing was good and the story was interesting. I will give this Four black cats out of five.
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  • Book-Social
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Chance Hotel was our children’s book club’s first exposure to whodunit. But it wasn’t your ordinary whodunit, it was a magical murder mystery!“Seth is the oppressed kitchen boy at the remote Last Chance Hotel, owned by the nasty Bunn family. His only friend is his black cat, Nightshade. But when a strange gathering of magicians arrives for dinner, kindly Dr Thallomius is poisoned by Seth’s special dessert. A locked-room murder investigation ensues – and Seth is the main susp The Last Chance Hotel was our children’s book club’s first exposure to whodunit. But it wasn’t your ordinary whodunit, it was a magical murder mystery!“Seth is the oppressed kitchen boy at the remote Last Chance Hotel, owned by the nasty Bunn family. His only friend is his black cat, Nightshade. But when a strange gathering of magicians arrives for dinner, kindly Dr Thallomius is poisoned by Seth’s special dessert. A locked-room murder investigation ensues – and Seth is the main suspect. The funny thing is, he’s innocent … can he solve the mystery and clear his name, especially when magic’s afoot?”The classic locked room murder was a foot with references to Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie galore. As with this kind of set up, there were a lot of names for the children to remember, some not very easy to get your head, or your tongue around: Torpor Thallomius, Darinder Dunster-Dunstable! There was however a helpful guest list at the start and Thornton provided regular recaps.We supplemented this by each drawing a character from the book to help visualise them. We then held our own mock trials with each character having to argue whether they were guilty or not using the clues we had read so far.We also created our own recipes for a crime and discovered a red herring may not always be a fish! A great way of introducing the conventions of a whodunit.I confess I didn’t get quite as much out of it as I have done with some of the other children’s book club books but I always think it is unfair for an adult to judge children’s literature. The children struggled with the beginning of the book which put a lot of them off but those that persevered thought it well worth their while. Thornton tees it up perfectly for a sequel and overall it’s a good introduction to the genre.If you liked this try The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine.
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  • Kate Waggoner
    January 1, 1970
    @kidlitexchange #partnerThank you to the publishers @chickenhousebooks and @scholasticinc and the author @nicki_thornton for sharing an advance copy of The Last Chance Hotel with the #kidlitexchange network. All opinions are my own. The Last Chance Hotel was released in May 2019. Magic, mystery, murder, and a talking cat--The Last Chance Hotel has it all. A mysterious group of guests has the staff of the Last Chance Hotel (that would be Seth Seppi) busy as a bee in preparation of the @kidlitexchange #partnerThank you to the publishers @chickenhousebooks and @scholasticinc and the author @nicki_thornton for sharing an advance copy of The Last Chance Hotel with the #kidlitexchange network. All opinions are my own. The Last Chance Hotel was released in May 2019. Magic, mystery, murder, and a talking cat--The Last Chance Hotel has it all. A mysterious group of guests has the staff of the Last Chance Hotel (that would be Seth Seppi) busy as a bee in preparation of their arrival. When the VIP guest, Dr. Thallomious, is found dead all signs point to Seth as the murderer. Seth knows he's innocent and with the help of a talking cat named Nightshade and a magical police officer named Pewter, he sets out to prove it. This was a fun and cute read with the just the right amounts of magic and mystery. The book is full of wonder, wit, and humor. Each chapter was intriguing and the characters were quirky and unique. I like that this is a magical world that is different than others I've read about. In this book, magic is dying out and mostly forgotten. When most people think of magic, I think they go straight to witches and wizards a la Harry Potter. The magic in The Last Chance Hotel is more varied and unique. For example, one character has the ability to capture and bottle the sounds of birds while another can form and throw balls of fire. There was just enough suspense throughout the book to keep you turning the page to see what happens. I think this is a great book for those who love mystery.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Chance hotel is a lovely autumn read aimed at those aged 9 to 12 years old whose main character, Seth, is an almost Cinderella character. Seth appears to be an orphan living with a not very nice (unrelated) family who seem to have just inherited him along with the hotel but you aren't being asked to feel sorry for him. Even when he is wrongly accused of the 'locked room' murder of one of a group of VIP guests at the hotel, you get the sense that this boy is going to be just fine while s The Last Chance hotel is a lovely autumn read aimed at those aged 9 to 12 years old whose main character, Seth, is an almost Cinderella character. Seth appears to be an orphan living with a not very nice (unrelated) family who seem to have just inherited him along with the hotel but you aren't being asked to feel sorry for him. Even when he is wrongly accused of the 'locked room' murder of one of a group of VIP guests at the hotel, you get the sense that this boy is going to be just fine while still wanting him desperately to prove his innocence. As well as Seth, we are introduced to a host of other characters and it's with the help of a couple of these that Seth tries to figure out what's going on. Sometimes it seems like nothing makes any sense but it all comes together in the end most satisfactorily. Well....Nicki Thornton has produced a wonderful book that is a sort of children's Agatha Christie murder mystery meets Harry Potter magic world and will prove very popular with children and adults alike. I am hoping that I am right in thinking that the perfect ending of this book sets it up quite nicely to be the beginning of a series as I really want to read more about Seth and the Last Chance Hotel. There's a lot more of this magical world, and Seth's past, to be discovered I think.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Although I was able to predict the identity of the villain from the opening pages, I didn't know how this crime was committed, and I eagerly read on to figure that out. Seth Seppi has a hard life as a kitchen boy at the Last Chance Hotel. Not only does he have no family or money, but the Bunn family mistreats him. The Bunn daughter, Tiffany, delights in poking fun at him and getting him to do her work. Seth loves cooking and dreams of maybe being a chef. When a group of magicians arrives for a m Although I was able to predict the identity of the villain from the opening pages, I didn't know how this crime was committed, and I eagerly read on to figure that out. Seth Seppi has a hard life as a kitchen boy at the Last Chance Hotel. Not only does he have no family or money, but the Bunn family mistreats him. The Bunn daughter, Tiffany, delights in poking fun at him and getting him to do her work. Seth loves cooking and dreams of maybe being a chef. When a group of magicians arrives for a meeting and to dine, Seth prepares a special apricot dessert for Dr. Thallomius, one of the honored guests. Of course the finger of blame is pointed at Seth when the man dies after eating the dessert. Things don't look good for Seth, especially since no one entered or left the room after he brought in the sweet dish. Fortunately for Seth, he has friends and supporters: Nightshade, his cat, and at least one of the guests who suspects someone else. Blending magic and mystery as the author has done here made for an enjoyable, slightly different read. Readers will root for Seth throughout the book but also realize that he faces an uphill battle in proving his innocence while learning the truth about his own ancestry.
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  • Abby Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Seth Seppi dreams of being a chef like his father, but he fears that he'll be stuck as a dishwasher and houseboy in the Last Chance Hotel forever. But when mysterious guests begin to arrive and Seth is tasked with preparing a special, top-secret dinner for them, Seth wonders if his fate is about to change. Preparing a phenomenal dessert for the kindly VIP guest Dr. Thallomius is the first step. But then Dr. Thallomius keels over dead, poisoned, apparently be Seth's masterpiece dessert, and Seth Seth Seppi dreams of being a chef like his father, but he fears that he'll be stuck as a dishwasher and houseboy in the Last Chance Hotel forever. But when mysterious guests begin to arrive and Seth is tasked with preparing a special, top-secret dinner for them, Seth wonders if his fate is about to change. Preparing a phenomenal dessert for the kindly VIP guest Dr. Thallomius is the first step. But then Dr. Thallomius keels over dead, poisoned, apparently be Seth's masterpiece dessert, and Seth finds himself the prime suspect in the murder. There's more than meets the eye here at the Last Chance Hotel, and as Seth starts to learn about the magic community he never knew existed, he must try to figure out who murdered Dr. Thallomius and why. This is a fantasy-mystery that will appeal to young readers who enjoy stories of magic and intrigue. Seth's a likeable character and readers will enjoy learning about the magical community as Seth uncovers it. Hand this to readers of GREENGLASS HOUSE by Kate Mulford for readers who like a fantasy mystery story with an atmospheric sense of setting. Readers of magic and witchcraft books like THE APPRENTICE WITCH by James Nicol may also enjoy this one.
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  • Amy (Golden Books Girl)
    January 1, 1970
    From the moment I heard this existed, I was 99.9% sure I`d enjoy it; a middle grade mystery/fantasy blend combines several of my favourite things, and the book lived up to my high expectations of it. It`s about the Last Chance Hotel`s much put upon kitchen boy Seth, when a group of mysterious magicians arrive for a secretive dinner party, and he is accused of fatally poisoning the VIP, Dr Thallomius. Each and every other person within the hotel is a viable suspect, and this coupled with the fact From the moment I heard this existed, I was 99.9% sure I`d enjoy it; a middle grade mystery/fantasy blend combines several of my favourite things, and the book lived up to my high expectations of it. It`s about the Last Chance Hotel`s much put upon kitchen boy Seth, when a group of mysterious magicians arrive for a secretive dinner party, and he is accused of fatally poisoning the VIP, Dr Thallomius. Each and every other person within the hotel is a viable suspect, and this coupled with the fact we got to get to know each one in quite a lot of detail made it all the more fun to try and be a detective alongside Seth and try and work out whodunit. I`m not entirely sure if I was meant to, but I loved enigmatic Angelique, and I was rooting so much for Seth, who was so loveable I dare anyone to read this and not adore him, to clear his name. His rather critical, gloriously funny cat Nightshade was definitely my favourite though; she was a phenomenal animal companion. The magic system was really unique and clever too, and I hope to learn more about it in a sequel (or possibly several sequels, given the exciting loose ends the ending left). 4.5/5
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  • Christina Reid
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this up from my local library, attracted by the mention of magic and after hearing good things from other bloggers. Mysteries and crime aren't always my cup of tea though, so I was a little cautious going in. There was no need for that - I devoured this in no time! The main character Seth Seppi, is very lovable and his feline sidekick Nightshade definitely deserved even more lines than she had. I liked the variety of characters introduced and the red herrinsg thrown in to make you suspe I picked this up from my local library, attracted by the mention of magic and after hearing good things from other bloggers. Mysteries and crime aren't always my cup of tea though, so I was a little cautious going in. There was no need for that - I devoured this in no time! The main character Seth Seppi, is very lovable and his feline sidekick Nightshade definitely deserved even more lines than she had. I liked the variety of characters introduced and the red herrinsg thrown in to make you suspect each one in turn. Unfortunately, I figured out 'whodunit' fairly early on and did feel like the climax of the story was somewhat rushed. However, I really enjoyed the pace throughout and would recommend this for my pupils in Year 3+.The magical aspect was done well, although I would have liked even more about it! I am intrigued to find out more about the various organisations which make up this secretive world. The ending sets this up as the beginning of a series so (I hope!) that there will be a lot more space in the following books to explore this world more thoroughly and confirm some of the theories/ suspicions I had after reading this book.A perfect read for Hallowe'en!
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  • M.L. Little
    January 1, 1970
    @kidlitexchange #partner: The Last Chance Hotel by @nicki_thornton , @chickenhousebooks, and @scholasticinc. Releases May 28th! ——————-This rollicking, fantasy-filled mystery is like Harry Potter meets The Westing Game. Seth, a young, orphaned kitchen boy at a strange hotel in the middle of nowhere, finds himself in the midst of a murder mystery when magical characters convene at the hotel—in fact, not only in the midst of it, but accused. To clear his name, Seth will have to rely on his t @kidlitexchange #partner: The Last Chance Hotel by @nicki_thornton , @chickenhousebooks, and @scholasticinc. Releases May 28th! ——————-This rollicking, fantasy-filled mystery is like Harry Potter meets The Westing Game. Seth, a young, orphaned kitchen boy at a strange hotel in the middle of nowhere, finds himself in the midst of a murder mystery when magical characters convene at the hotel—in fact, not only in the midst of it, but accused. To clear his name, Seth will have to rely on his talking cat, a secret book, and his new knowledge of the magical world just beyond his own. The descriptions in this book are detailed and absorbing and the large cast of magical characters are each different enough to keep from being confusing. I had fun trying to guess the murderer right along with Seth, and I’m proud to say I narrowed it down to two possible suspects and *somewhat* got it right. Can you do even better than I did? You can try next week when the book goes on sale (5-28)! Thank you @kidlitexchange for providing me with a copy of this book—all opinions are my own.
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  • Niki (nikilovestoread)
    January 1, 1970
    I had to pick this one up because that cover is just beautiful! Overall, the story was a great one, too. It's a middle grade mystery with a magical twist. Seth, a teenage kitchen boy, dreams of becoming a great chef like his father. Unfortunately, he is an orphan stuck serving the horrible owners of the Last Chance Hotel and the target of their bully daughter. When a group of mysterious visitors come to the hotel and one of them is murdered, Seth's life is thrown into chaos as he's the prime sus I had to pick this one up because that cover is just beautiful! Overall, the story was a great one, too. It's a middle grade mystery with a magical twist. Seth, a teenage kitchen boy, dreams of becoming a great chef like his father. Unfortunately, he is an orphan stuck serving the horrible owners of the Last Chance Hotel and the target of their bully daughter. When a group of mysterious visitors come to the hotel and one of them is murdered, Seth's life is thrown into chaos as he's the prime suspect. While trying to prove his innocence, he discovers a part of the world that he could only have dreamed about and he has to figure out where he fits within this new world as well as finding the real killer. The ending is set up to continue the story in future books, which I'm sure will be published later. (There is nothing graphic about the murder and the book is perfect for fans of the Murder Most Unladylike series and the Harry Potter series.)
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  • Gilly
    January 1, 1970
    Seth Seppi is a lowly kitchen boy at The Last Chance Hotel he’s unfairly treated by the owners Mr and Mrs Bunn and their vindictive daughter Tiffany.He hasn’t got much to look forward to in life except for practising his new recipes just like his father the previous chef at the hotel who had died.The story follows Seth and an enigmatic cast of guests who arrive at the hotel. He realises quickly that magic is in the air but when one of the guests dies Seth finds himself nu Seth Seppi is a lowly kitchen boy at The Last Chance Hotel he’s unfairly treated by the owners Mr and Mrs Bunn and their vindictive daughter Tiffany.He hasn’t got much to look forward to in life except for practising his new recipes just like his father the previous chef at the hotel who had died.The story follows Seth and an enigmatic cast of guests who arrive at the hotel. He realises quickly that magic is in the air but when one of the guests dies Seth finds himself number one suspect in a murder mystery as he sets out to clear his name with the help of Nightshade a talking cat, he encounters more magic and unearths magical objects and secret histories.I found myself rooting for Seth and I too was intrigued by the magic world he encounters.I hope Nicki Thornton writes another book around this hotel and Seth it was a lovely, easy read and thoroughly enjoyable too.
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  • Banrion Cruimh Leabhar
    January 1, 1970
    Got this book as I really loved the cover and it peaked my interest. The book is aimed at 8years and up and is based in a hotel and around Seth Seppi a kitchen boy abandoned by his chef father. Seth is working for the Bunns and is treated quite badly in particular by their spoiled daughter Tiffany. This has a ring of Harry Potter to it but is a different story.The story begins with VIP guests who are arriving under mysterious circumstances. Seth wants to make an impression and as he Got this book as I really loved the cover and it peaked my interest. The book is aimed at 8years and up and is based in a hotel and around Seth Seppi a kitchen boy abandoned by his chef father. Seth is working for the Bunns and is treated quite badly in particular by their spoiled daughter Tiffany. This has a ring of Harry Potter to it but is a different story.The story begins with VIP guests who are arriving under mysterious circumstances. Seth wants to make an impression and as he is secretly the chef and not just a kitchen boy he creates wonderful dishes. The lead guest Dr Thallonius dies during a closed door meeting with 7 other guests present. Seth gets pulled into a world of murder, mystery and magic and in the process learns more about his own past.It's a great book for older children and is a very fluid story with interesting characters.
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  • Stephen Connor
    January 1, 1970
    Seth is a put-upon kitchen assistant at the Last Chance Hotel, and is spoken down to Mr Bunn, the chef, and teased and bullied by Bunn’s daughter, Tiffany. When he sees the chance to earn some brownie points for a guest by baking an apricot dessert, he goes for it, and his beautiful creation is presented during a meeting. All is well, until one of the guests drops down dead. Seth is of course suspected - but he knows he is innocent. He learns more about the guests, discovering their magical abil Seth is a put-upon kitchen assistant at the Last Chance Hotel, and is spoken down to Mr Bunn, the chef, and teased and bullied by Bunn’s daughter, Tiffany. When he sees the chance to earn some brownie points for a guest by baking an apricot dessert, he goes for it, and his beautiful creation is presented during a meeting. All is well, until one of the guests drops down dead. Seth is of course suspected - but he knows he is innocent. He learns more about the guests, discovering their magical abilities, their possible motives, and the fact that no one can be trusted. Can Seth solve the mystery of the murder in order to prove his own innocence? A magical murder mystery, like Cluedo by Harry Potter.
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  • Brindy
    January 1, 1970
    What a fabulous children's locked room murder mystery. Seth is a kitchen boy in a remote hotel in the depths of a forest where he is not treated very well by the owners and their daughter, Tiffany. When a group of important guests check-in, he is curious about them and, when he is treated kindly by one of the guests he decides to repay him by preparing a special dessert for him at dinner that evening. And that's where it all starts to go so horribly wrong for Seth as the guest dies at the dinner What a fabulous children's locked room murder mystery. Seth is a kitchen boy in a remote hotel in the depths of a forest where he is not treated very well by the owners and their daughter, Tiffany. When a group of important guests check-in, he is curious about them and, when he is treated kindly by one of the guests he decides to repay him by preparing a special dessert for him at dinner that evening. And that's where it all starts to go so horribly wrong for Seth as the guest dies at the dinner table and the dessert is the cause. Seth must try and identify who the real culprit is so he can clear himself as the main suspect in the murder. A good paced entertaining read, with a magical element that unfolds throughout the story. Very enjoyable.
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