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by Caro King

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4424-2042-7
Publisher: Aladdin

Jam-packed with magic, danger, monsters and mysterious events, this import never quite lives up to its potential.

The problem isn’t a lack of imagination. King has clearly spent a lot of time and thought on worldbuilding, and there are plenty of intriguing details to pore over. There’s also a quest of sorts, which plunks Ninevah Redfern, King’s heroine, into a parallel world known as the Drift. Intent on rescuing her recently abducted younger brother, Nin is aided by the typical stalwart companions—in this case Jonas, a young man who’s been navigating both worlds on his own for a while, and Jik, a creature Nin makes from the powerful mud of the Drift. Then there’s what feels almost like a parallel plot, the story of the eponymous seven sorcerers, whose efforts to defer death inadvertently created the villain, a cruel man who’s been gruesomely mistreated and feeds on misery and destruction. It’s a lot to absorb, and the fact that some characters speak in difficult dialect doesn’t help. Add the facts that several characters change their allegiance for no apparent reason and that Nin’s primary strength is that she’s lucky, and it seems likely that most readers will be more frustrated than fascinated.

Those who do enjoy this, however, will be pleased to know that a sequel has already been published in the U.K. (Fantasy. 9-12)