A 12-year-old white girl discovers she is a witch and sets off to fight forces of evil with her magical animal companion.
When she was 3, Quicksilver’s parents abandoned her at a convent. There, she is made fun of for her squashed nose and gray hair, and she retaliates by stealing and disobeying. She befriends a bedraggled dog, names him Fox, and tells him of her plans to become the best thief in the Star Lands. In one of her early burgling efforts, she meets Sly Boots, a white boy whose parents are ill and who offers Quicksilver a home in exchange for help. Then she meets Anastazia, an ancient witch who turns out to be the older version of Quicksilver herself. They all travel back in time to try to neutralize the First Ones, who are terrorizing witches using the human agency of the Wolf King. Plot inconsistencies aside, it’s a storyline that’s as stale as rolls from Pompeii. Quicksilver is a dim, unappealing protagonist whose emotional range mostly runs the gamut from A (anger) to B (brash). Fox, Quicksilver’s “monster”—a cross between a familiar and a daemon from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy—is an indefatigable vulpine deus ex machina, as all plot obstructions are resolved by his changing into whatever shape is necessary to accomplish the task. Right on schedule, characters turn traitor, die, or sacrifice themselves for the good of all.
Tedious and derivative. (Fantasy. 9-12)