HarperCollins, 2015. 978-0062104298
Synopsis: In a land embattled over science and magic held together by tradition, Linny does something terribly taboo: she makes her own lourka before the designated age of twelve. So when her best friend is whisked off to Away as a result of Linny’s mischief, she and her father’s apprentice Elias set out to find a way to Away so that their friend doesn’t fade away (quite literally) forever.
Why I picked it up: I’m always on the hunt for a good middle-grade fantasy (among other things).
Why I finished it: The dichotomy between science and magic is a unique aspect of fantasy, exploring the line between what is and what could be. Nesbet’s world is one in which the more a story is told, the more truth it begins to hold, and the more likely it is to become fact. It is a world the deeply believes in the notion of fate and happenstance, no matter if one is from the more magical parts of the realm or the more technological. Linny may be considered an adult at twelve, but to many of the other characters she encounters, she is still seen as a child. However, over the course of the book, she proves to her town, those in the Plain (the non-magic portion of the world), and even her companion Elias that she is much wiser than her twelve years. She struggles with her desire to do what she wants, and to balance this with her desire to do the right thing. So when she becomes caught in the middle of a conflict between the Wrinkled and the Plain and it is revealed that perhaps she is the one to marry the two worlds, Linny begins to realize that there is much more to the balance of the world that she initially thought. A strong heroine, a delightfully and imaginatively crafted world, and a thrilling plot make this book a definite must-read for fantasy lovers of all ages.
Other related materials: The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet; A Box of Gargoyles by Anne Nesbet; The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 1) by Lloyd Alexander; The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 2) by Lloyd Alexander; The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 3) by Lloyd Alexander; Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 4) by Lloyd Alexander; The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain¸ Book 5) by Lloyd Alexander; My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson; The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands; Saavy by Ingrid Law; Scumble by Ingrid Law; Switch by Ingrid Law; Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood; A Dash of Magic by Kathryn Littlewood; Bite-Sized Magic by Kathryn Littlewood; A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder