By Django Wexler
When I stumbled upon this book and saw the title, I had to read the cover summary:
“Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed after she met her first fairy hovering in the kitchen, threatening her father. The next day her father left, never to return.
Poor Alice dutifully goes off to live with an uncle she’s never heard of: a mysterious old man with an impossibly massive library full of books she’s forbidden to read. But when she runs into a talking cat who sneaks her inside and an arrogant boy who dares her to open a book, it’s hard to resist. The moment she reads the first line Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, with only one way out.
It seems Uncle Geryon is much more than he claimed to be. Good thing Alice is too, because she’ll need all her courage and wits to face the challenges to come.”
What library person could walk away from a story about magical books that LITERALLY take you to other worlds? And talking cats are icing on the cake! I really enjoyed Wexler’s unique book-based magical system. “Readers” are the wielders of magic, seeking bits and pieces of magical fragments within their huge collection of books. They then combined the found fragments to create magical books that can contain portals to other worlds and prisons for holding powerful magical creatures.
Alice is a smart, crafty girl who overcomes the many obstacles in her way by thinking outside the box. There is a bit of mystery and intrigue as Alice comes to learn that people’s intentions are not always clear and most things are never simply black and white. A few pictures are sprinkled throughout the book to help illustrate the unusual places and creatures Alice encounters during her adventure.
This book is part of a series which has two more books, The Mad Apprentice and the Palace of Glass, and a fourth expected sometime next year.
I would recommend this middle grade novel for readers who enjoy magic, fantastical creatures, and strong female characters.
Reviewed by: Meredith (Harrington Library)