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THE CUP AND THE CROWN by Diane Stanley

THE CUP AND THE CROWN

By Diane Stanley

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-196321-6
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

The further adventures of Molly, the kitchen maid who saved a king (The Silver Bowl, 2011), provide an explanation for her magical abilities and suggest that the future holds even more changes and challenges.

Brief mention of earlier events will remind returning readers of how Molly, along with her friend Tobias, saved the life of King Alaric and helped him to claim his throne. Readers unfamiliar with Stanley’s earlier foray into the kingdom of Westria may feel a bit lost as Molly is charged with finding a special cup for King Alaric, and the action picks up quickly. However characters new and old are effectively drawn, and the plot moves smoothly, ensuring that both sets of readers will follow the ensuing journey with enthusiasm and interest. Mysterious visions, a secret city, a family reunion of sorts and kidnapping all figure into the tale, as do a clever rat catcher and a magical protector. Stanley’s storytelling is polished, her imaginary world clearly constructed. She doesn’t shy away from serious subjects, but her light touch enables readers to ponder them as part of the whole rather than as overt messages about life, love and politics. Savvy readers will suspect (or hope) that Molly’s story will continue, but this section of her saga comes to a satisfying end.

Richly imagined and elegantly conveyed, this is a worthy successor to Molly’s star-studded debut. (Fantasy. 10-14)