________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 3 . . . . September 18, 2015


A Book of Spirits and Thieves.

Morgan Rhodes.
New York, NY: Razorbill (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Canada), 2015.
359 pp., hardcover, $24.99.
ISBN 978-1-59514-759-2.

Subject Headings:
Magic-Juvenile fiction.
Imaginary kingdoms-Juvenile fiction.
Secret societies-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Laura Dunford.

**** /4



She slumped down into the chair her mother had abandoned and stared at Becca's face, which was nearly as white as the crisp hospital sheets surrounding her. Her heart monitor let out a soft, continuous beep. When Crys reached over to take her hand, her sister was cool to the touch.

Crys's eyes burned, but she refused to cry. She refused to feel hopeless and helpless and totally alone.

"Please come back, Becca," she whispered. "I'm sorry I've been so lousy to you lately. I didn't mean it, really. It wasn't you; it was me. I know that sounds like something people say when they're lazy and making excuses, but it's the truth." She inhaled shakily. "I always thought I'd hate Dad forever and that if I ever saw him again, I'd spit in his face. But it wasn't like that. He didn't want to leave us. Mom made him. He says he's doing something good for the world with this society of his. So what does that mean? Is this Markus guy some saint who helps people in need? Could he help you too?"

Becca's chest hitched a little, and a soft gasp left her lighter-than-usual lips. Crys's heart skipped a beat, hoping this would be the dramatically wonderful moment she'd been dreaming of, when Becca would open her eyes.

Morgan Rhodes, author of the "Falling Kingdoms" series, branches out in this new novel to envelop present-day Toronto teens in the magical intrigue of Mythica. The "Falling Kingdoms" series presents as historical fantasy; it is host to vaguely medieval technology and dialogue with a population peppered with magical individuals. In A Book of Spirits and Thieves, Rhodes reveals Mythica to be an alternate dimension to our own non-magical Toronto. Markus, a sorcerer who has crossed over to Toronto, has used his powers to begin a secret society.

      The novel opens decades after Markus has arrived in the earth dimension. Sisters Crystal "Crys" and Becca open a codex from Mythica. The book transports Becca's spirit to Mythica, leaving her body behind in a comatose state It is up to Crys to learn the truth of the codex and face the powerful leader of the mysterious Hawkspear Society.

      A Book of Spirits and Thieves has three main protagonists: Crys, the rebellious 17-year-old photographer; Farrell, the 19-year-old playboy son of the elite Grayson family and second generation member of the Hawkspear society; and Maddox, the 16-year-old Mythica boy who is able to interact with the spirit world. These three teens find themselves thrust into life-threatening situations where they must question reality as they have known it and must stand up for themselves and each other.

      Rhodes must have had fun with this project. In comparison with her Mythica narratives, the "Falling Kingdoms" series, this "spin-off" was more focussed and fast-paced, filled with moments of levity amongst the darker scenes that give readers just enough time to prepare for the next dramatic scene. Rhodes knows how to keep her readers entertained and asking for more.

Highly Recommended.

Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children's Literature program at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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