Published by Penguin on June 23rd 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
The lives of Toronto teens Crystal and Becca Hatcher revolve around helping their mother out at the family's used bookstore, The Speckled Muse. It's a relatively uneventful after-school job, until an package arrives addressed to her mother, Julia. Thinking it's nothing more than run-of-the-mill inventory, Becca opens it and removes the book inside, unwittingly triggering an ancient magic and intertwining their fates with the powers that flow from the mysterious leather-bound book. Two parallel worlds collide and Becca is left in a catatonic state after her spirit is snatched from modern-day Toronto back to the ancient world of Mytica. Crys is guilt-ridden, having witnessed the entire event, and vows to do whatever is necessary to save her… but from what? Nothing has prepared them for what’s in store.
Written in alternating perspectives that shift between modern-day Toronto and the ancient kingdoms of Mytica, Rhodes delivers a rich and suspenseful series opener that will leave readers breathless.
“My name is Becca Hatcher. I don’t know what’s happened to me, where I am, or how I got here, but I know one thing. You’re going to help me get back home.”
There are some authors who just know how to hook you immediately and keep you on the edge of your seat. I don’t know exactly what they do – it’s something about the perfect tension, perfect amount of surprises, perfect balance between interesting characters and fast-paced plot – but Morgan Rhodes is one of those authors.
I started out quite liking Rhodes’ Falling Kingdoms series, but I was put off by how derivative the books were (i.e. Games of Thrones, round 2). The need to read on was there, that inexplicable, addictive pull, but I just couldn’t ignore that the plot and characters were “borrowed” from other works. So I tried to get my Rhodes fix from her spin-off series.
And I am so glad I did.
This book is just ultimate fantasy fun. I found myself dragged along from the very first chapter, into a world of parallel universes – namely, our universe in modern day Toronto, and the world of Ancient Mytica. These two places are linked by history, magic and a book – because isn’t the thought of getting pulled into a book and discovering a new world the most exciting thing ever?
There are three different character perspectives, all in third person (which I thought worked well). One is Crystal, a girl in our world, whose sister’s spirit gets sucked inside an ancient magic book, and Crystal is left behind to solve the mystery that will lead her toward family secrets and lies.
Then, again in our world, there is Farrell – a party boy from a rich, important family – who gets dragged deeper and deeper into a magical cult that seems to be changing him.
And finally, there’s Maddox – a boy in Mytica who can communicate with spirits – who will soon find himself caught between the queen’s plans and helping the new spirit girl who has landed in his world.
It’s so exciting. So much is constantly happening. All the characters have engaging stories and I especially enjoyed how Farrell becomes increasingly a kind of antihero/villain who still manages to hold the reader’s sympathy.
I highly recommend this to anyone who loves some fast-paced, drama-filled YA Fantasy.