Published by Penguin on April 15th 2014
Number of Pages: 384
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Purchase: At Amazon
When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with a relative she's never heard of. Uncle Geryon turns out to be a mysterious old man with an impossibly massive library that is off limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat who sneaks her in and introduces her to an arrogant boy who dares her to open a book, and it's hard to resist. The moment she reads the first line, Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is by conquering the creature imprisoned within. Alice has stumbled into a world where all of magic is controlled by Readers through books -- and she could be one of the most powerful Readers ever.
But all Alice really wants is to find out what actually happened to her father, and if Geryon's the powerful and benevolent Reader he claims to be. The best stories have happy endings. Is Alice strong enough to create one of her own?
Don’t think of this as a middle-grade book. It has so many interesting twists on magic, and the characters and world are so well-written that any age would enjoy reading this.
I especially loved Ashes and Isaac. I want to know what Ashes other half is, since he’s always commenting on how he’s only half cat. Isaac was charming and tricky, a bit of a rogue and I can’t wait to read more about him and Alice in the next book. None of the characters are exactly friends. Friendship doesn’t seem to be encouraged in the Reader world. It’s more about alliances, which seem to change at the drop of a hat the way Isaac describes things. Which is a bit sad for Alice since she’s all alone, and learning she can’t really trust anyone. Ashes and Isaac are the ones she’s closest to, and even they aren’t completely trustworthy.
The Swarmers were pretty neat, and I loved how Alice learned to use them to her advantage. I want to see what other creatures she manages to bind to herself, and how she uses the other 2 she gained in this book in the next book.
It’s fairly unique that going into a book and defeating the creature inside, binds the creature to you. And you can then use their abilities yourself. Unfortunately there are only 2 ways to ‘defeat’ a creature. The one most Readers in this world use, is killing said creature. The other way is getting it to submit to you. Alice uses both ways in this book. She prefers getting the creature to submit, but when it becomes kill or be killed, she does what she has to.
The illustrations were really nice, though I didn’t get to see all of them as my copy was an ARC, and quite a few places had “Art To Come” in the place the picture would be. The ones I did see, were all well-done and fit what was going on in the book at the time.
A friend gave me this copy after she was done with it, some things may have changed in the final version. I’ll be picking up book 2, and I recommend reading this one if you haven’t done so already.