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THE GLASS PUZZLE by Christine Brodien-Jones


by Christine Brodien-Jones ; illustrated by Charles Santoso

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: July 9th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-385-74297-9
Publisher: Delacorte

Cousins Zoé and Ian must find the key to a glass puzzle or risk the destruction of their Welsh town.

Zoé Badger loves summering with her cousin, Ian, at their grandfather’s house in small, seaside Tenby. But things take an unexpected turn when they find an antique glass puzzle and unwittingly release Scravens—evil creatures with a craterous third eye and massive wings—into Tenby. The cousins, in turn, are magically transported to Wythernsea, an island long submerged underwater, whence the Scravens come. There they learn that Scravens are taking over the bodies of Tenby inhabitants—as well as terrorizing Wythernsea—and that they must save both towns from the creatures. To a gratingly earnest third-person narration, readers follow the adventures of Zoé, Ian and their friends as they attempt to defeat the Scravens. Adults either too daft or unwilling to be much help, and who behave in erratic ways, shake the credibility of this far-fetched fantasy. Spot illustrations by Santoso are reminiscent of Mary GrandPré’s art for the Harry Potter series but lack her accurate representation of characters.

The interesting premise is bogged down by narration that doesn’t seem to fully trust readers’ intelligence and by characters who defy credibility, keeping it from rising above the bevy of middle-grade fantasies. (Fantasy. 9-12)