Today we have a very special guest at Kids’ Book Capers. Ike, the star of the Grim and Grimmer series has promised us an EXCLUSIVE interview.  He is here to talk about his latest adventure, The Calamitous Queen.

Please be kind to him. He’s never been interviewed before and he’s a bit shy so he’s also brought along his best friend, Mellie.

1. Ike, you have been on such a journey throughout the Grim and Grimmer series. Can you tell us how your adventures have changed you as a person?

‘Thanks for asking, Dee, though I’m not sure how to answer that. I’ve never been much good with words and stuff.’ (sighs). ‘Well, here goes. Um, before I came to Grimmery –’

‘And accidentally betrayed the princess,’ Dee says helpfully.

‘I was hoping you wouldn’t bring that up. Before then I was Useless Ike. I never did anything good; never believed I could. I always gave up.’

‘What made you change?’

‘It wasn’t just me in trouble this time. The princess was going to be killed, because of my stupidity, and I couldn’t bear it. I had to make something of myself. I had to save her, no matter the cost.’

‘How did you make something of yourself, Ike? How did you change?’

‘Er, um.’ Ike struggles to remember the details, blushes, stares at his big feet. ‘Sorry, I’m no good at analysing myself.’

Beside him, Mellie groans, rolls her eyes then elbows Ike out of the way. ‘Luckily I’m brilliant. I’ve been trying to work him out ever since we met.’

‘That doesn’t exactly sound like a compliment,’ says Dee.

‘Who’s telling this story?’ Mellie snaps. ‘Ike learned perseverance under Grogire’s tree, when he refused to give up and made that brilliant, though disgusting, dung balloon. And he overcame his fear of heights when he crawled blind across the beam over the abyss to rescue me from Gorm’s hut. He’s overcome all kinds of fears since he met me.’

‘I’ve had to, the way you keep getting me into trouble,’ mutters Ike.

‘Shush!’ says Mellie. ‘What would you know, anyway? When Nocty attacked the demon, Spleen, as she was carrying us away from Gorm, you showed great selflessness by becoming a night-gaunt to save us.’

‘Great stupidity, you mean.’

‘Yes, but selfless stupidity. Need I go on?’

‘I think Dee’s got the point,’ says Ike.

‘You also learned courage, ingenuity, endurance and so forth. And at the end, you sacrificed one of the most important things in your life, your quest to clear your parents’ names – just to save me.’

‘That was the most painful lesson,’ says Ike.

‘To say nothing of the many faults you’ve learned to overcome,’ Mellie goes on. ‘I can list them, if you like.’ She laughs aloud. ‘I once wrote down all your flaws. Took three sheets of paper.’

She looks up, and the smile fades. ‘Ike’s the bravest boy I’ve ever met, Dee. He never gives up. It’s all because of him that Grimmery has been saved. That’s how he’s changed.’

2. Can you tell us what you like most about your best friend Mellie and why you became such good friends?

‘Mellie is everything I’m not,’ says Ike, eyeing her warily. ‘She’s clever and quick, and … and really pretty too, in a pixyish kind of way. She’s warm and generous, but she’s also terribly reckless, and always carrying out outrageous thefts to prove she’s the best apprentice thief as ever was. But she’s got a dreadful temper, and when she’s cranky even Achernix, the terrible Duke of Darkness, runs for his immortal life.’

Ike ducks, as if expecting her to wallop him one, but Mellie is smiling. ‘I’m not the least bit reckless. I call it bold and daring, and since it got me through my Reckoning, no one can argue.’

Ike stirs, as if to say, But I got you through your Reckoning, then smiles and closes his mouth again. He doesn’t need to say anything.

3. What is the worst thing that happened to you on your journey?

‘I don’t know how to answer that,’ says Ike. ‘Was it the competition I had, as Useless Ike, with Grogire the firewyrm (the most brilliant mind in the world) in her stinky lair? Or the contest with that sly, smirking conman, Con Glomryt, to get through the doors of the dwarf kingdom of Delf? Or my dreadful embarrassment after Mellie’s failed spell blew my bottom up to the size of a small airship, and I spent a whole day bobbing around the ceilings of Delf being mocked by angry dwarves?’

He rubs his bony jaw. ‘No, I think it was the time I had to fight the dreadful night-gaunt in Emajicka’s palace, to stop him tormenting Pook and the other Collected children and stealing their nightmares for Emajicka to bathe in. That was the most awful time I can ever remember. Yet I’ll never forget how brave little Pook was, trying to hold off the monstrous night-gaunt all by himself.’ (Ike brushes away a tear at the memories).

4. What is the best thing that happened to you on your journey?

‘Harrumph!’ says Mellie.

Ike grins. ‘A lot of good things happened, too many to count. One of the best of them was when I worked all night to make that balloon fuelled with exploding firewyrm dung, to rescue the princess. Everyone laughed at me, but when I finally put the balloon together, it floated up into the air just the way it should. It was the first time I realised that I didn’t have to be Useless Ike.’

‘Harrumph, harrumph!’

Ike gives her a sly, sidelong glance. ‘But no, the best thing that happened, the very best in my life, was meeting Mellie and plucking up the courage to ask her to help me, after she’d stolen my magical pen. Mellie’s the first real friend I’ve had, and definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me.

‘Though I wish she wasn’t so darn cranky.’

(Mellie boxes his ear, though she is wearing an enigmatic smile).

5. Where to next for Ike?

I’ll answer that, says Ian. (who has fortunately come along too – otherwise the interview could deteriorate into an Ike/Mellie war.)

Well, Ike’s a Gate Guardian now, though admittedly a very young one, and it’s his duty to guard the four gates into Grimmery and protect this brave little country from all the terrible enemies lurking outside. And none of them have given up.

The Fey Queen Emajicka still wants Grimmery back. Grogire the firewyrm still wants revenge for the dreadful humiliations Ike and Mellie made her suffer, and the Demon Spleen, who is now the Duchess of Darkness, still wants to make them pay for Mellie’s stealing the Bloody Baton and Ike’s burning a hole though the wall of the underworld.

Oh, and Nuckl never forgets. He still wants to eat Ike’s liver.

‘Thanks for asking, Dee,’ says Ike. ‘I’ve never done an interview before. I was really nervous. Hope I wasn’t too awful.’

Thanks for visiting us here at Kids’ Book Capers, Ike, Mellie and Ian. Hope you enjoy the rest of your blog tour (see details at the end of this post about where the blog tour has been already and where it’s going to from here.)


The Calamitous Queen is the fourth installment in Ian Irvine’s hilarious Grim and Grimmer series for readers aged 10 +

In this final book everything comes to a head and if Ike doesn’t defeat the evil Emajicka, his good friend Mellie will perish and Grimmery will be destroyed. And even if Ike saves Mellie, has her family been burnt alive by the evil Fey Queen’s minions?

To make matters worse, Mothooliel is out to steal Ike’s eyeballs, Spleen and Nuckle want to eat Ike’s innards, and Grogire the Firewyrm plans a disgusting death for him. Then there’s the ongoing conflict between Lord Monty and his newly reattached head.

Emajicka and her army of a million Fey are marching on Grimmery, and if Aurora isn’t crowned very soon, the kingdom will be lost – possibly forever.

Ike must get the Book of Grimmery to Aurora in time to prevent this from happening, but how can he when he doesn’t even know where it is?

In The Calamitous Queen, Ian Irvine ties up all the loose ends for the reader. We see Ike come full circle and realise how much he has changed and grown over the course of his adventures from the clumsy boy who couldn’t do anything right to the Gate Guardian everyone is relying on to save the world.

Ike finds out who he really is in both the literal and spiritual sense and Mellie faces her Reckoning. There is so much at stake for all the characters in this book. Will Pook free the Collected children and how will Lord Monty overcome the ultimate act of betrayal?

14 year-old Ike has the fate of the world in his hands in this book.

As well as the non-stop action, the humour keeps coming right to the last line of the book, even finishing with a bodily function. The Calamitous Queen is a hilarious and exciting end to the four book Grim and Grimmer series.

You can find out more about the series by dropping in to the other great blogs that Ian is visiting on tour.