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The Grimmelings

Spellbinding middle-grade fantasy adventure of loyalty, courage, and being careful what you wish for . . .

Thirteen-year-old Ella knows that words are powerful. So she should have known better than to utter a wish and a curse on the same day, even in jest.

When the boy she has cursed goes missing, in the same sudden, unexplained way as her father several years earlier, Ella discovers that her family is living in the shadow of a vengeful kelpie, a black horse-like creature.

With the help of her beloved pony Magpie, can Ella break the curse of the malevolent kelpie and save not just her family but the whole community?

Rachael King’s writing is immersive and vibrant, and rich in lore and an appreciation of the natural world that fans of Katherine Rundell, Susan Cooper and Kiran Millwood Hargrave will love.

See what the reviewers are saying here.

Teaching resources from Allen & Unwin can be downloaded here.




A compelling, lovingly-crafted novel about magic, liminal spaces (of several kinds), language and folkloric fusion. Rachael King’s characters live and breathe. Her dialogue glitters quietly… tense and eery with flashes of beauty.

David MitchellCloud Atlas

King writes with the utmost respect for her readers, for the story and for language itself. The Grimmelings is a beautifully written story of old magic, uncontainable, unpredictable, wild and true – I could not put it down. And although the phrase is thrown around a lot, this genuinely is a future classic. I cannot wait to recommend it far and wide.

Zana FraillonThe Bone Sparrow, The Raven’s Song

Exquisitely crafted and thrumming with old magic, The Grimmelings wraps the reader like an heirloom quilt, stitched with glittering folklore, mysterious family secrets and the love of horses.

Rachael CrawSpark trilogy, The Rift

An eerie and beautiful contemporary fantasy full of very real characters—humans, horses and a monster—all grounded in warm and abrasive family life, and the daily surprises and hard grind of making a living from working with horses.

Elizabeth KnoxThe Absolute Book, Dreamhunter

I was gripped until the very end and it left me in tears – which is always the sign of a cracking good book. The writing just sings; it's evocative and atmospheric with the moodiness of Wuthering Heights. And the horse action is epically good! I completely loved this book! Totally genius.

Stacy GreggThe Princess and the Foal

The Grimmelings is set to become an all-time favourite for adults and children alike and, for me, now one of my favourite stories.

Tania RoxboroghCharlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea

The best book I've read this year. Rachael had delivered a story that transcends time and place, playing with old words and mythical creatures in a stunningly original way. I loved it.

Bren MacDibbleAcross the Risen Sea, The Raven’s Song

Splendidly inventive, expertly controlled, full of passion and compassion, and a narrative I would give four fingernails to have thought of. I read it in two big gulps, walking around in the middle and muttering words of admiration mixed with words of envy.

David Hill CNZMBelow

A dynamic new adventure that will reverberate in the reader’s memory... playing with words in the most skilful way, exploring the language of horses, of winds, of landscapes, of relationships

Ann PackerNew Zealand Listener