In this middle-grade sequel to Finding Serendipity (2015), Tuesday McGillycuddy, Baxterr the dog, and the fictional, winged Vivienne Small continue their adventures in the worlds of writerly imagination.
Writers are disappearing and turning up injured far from where they live, and Denis McGillycuddy, the father of Tuesday and husband of famous author Serendipity Smith, decrees no more writing until the cause is uncovered. Like his wife and daughter, Denis knows the secret all writers share: there is a magical place (with a Library, upon whose door lintel is inscribed “IMAGINE” and which is presided over by an inexorable Librarian) where writers go to write, and something there must be wrong. With confidence and a deft touch, Banks’ narrative unfolds a setting in which every writer’s story creates an actual world spinning in space, overseen by the Gardener, whose job it is to keep them separate. But the Gardener is now frail, and the worlds are colliding. This fascinating premise gives a nod to the current fashion for metafictive mashups but delivers so much more, as when the Gardener explains to Tuesday that some new worlds are “key worlds” and with their creation, “become like a sun in a solar system”—a perfect way to describe the effect of a classic story on both readers and writers. Lewis’ spot illustrations present Tuesday and Vivienne as white.
A stimulating read that validates and encourages the creative impulse—highly recommended. (Fantasy. 8-14)