A grand finale to a grand adventure, complete with truly startling revelations.
Elliot and Madeleine have come a long way from that first exchange of letters through a crack in a parking meter (and also time and space). Moriarty amps the tension and stakes higher with each volume. Here, the action and cast of characters move to Cello, a brilliantly imagined alternate world that is both like and unlike the world Madeleine and readers know. Peculiar dialogue (particularly Samuel’s Olde Quainte accent and Ko’s strange verbal constructions), just-right quirkiness, non sequiturs that are in fact all critical moments of connection, alchemy, and of course Isaac Newton: in any other hands, this might be a disaster, especially as the whimsy is cut with moments of genuine pathos and serious issues (Holly’s health, Belle’s mother). As Madeleine, Elliot, and Keira (the Royal Youth Alliance member from Jagged Edge) join with a host of motley others to save Cello, it’s hard not to draw parallels to our own world—climate disaster (here in the form of raging color storms); political unrest; cutthroat anti-government groups—but Moriarty infuses the chaos with hope. Love, connection, and clear sight can save Cello, and perhaps the World.
Colorful and madcap, a veritable “whirlshine” of sparkle, with a side of tears: deeply satisfying, perfectly ended. (Fantasy. 12 & up)