In his debut YA book, Yeaman creates an action-packed adventure focused on a young girl named Chloe who’s unexpectedly summoned to save the world from the reign of an evil maharajah with magical powers.
Chloe is just a normal 9-year-old girl, coping with the recent tragedy of losing both of her parents to unexpected and unexplained causes. Her aunt and uncle take her to live with her grandmother Jen in the secluded woods of California, where she learns of enchanted animals and animate objects living in the attic. She makes the acquaintance of Mr. Oppum, a friendly opossum with a perfect British accent who explains that her grandfather, during his travels in India, acquired a magical purple jewel that grants household objects and animal friends the power of human consciousness and speech. Much to the dismay of Mr. Oppum, Chloe and some animate objects, part of the jewel is in the possession of the evil maharajah Rasheem, who’s abusing its powers to rule the world. In the company of Mr. Oppum, a mouse named Monty and a magic flying carpet appropriately called Mr. Carpet, Chloe travels across the globe to take the jewel from Rasheem and give power back to the people of Earth. On the way, she collects two orphan companions, Onri and Ayla, who want to kill the maharajah. This action-packed adventure starts off slow, with lengthy, uninteresting stretches describing Chloe having meals with her grandmother, sleeping and being upset about her dead parents. However, once the action kicks off, the story transforms into a fairly engrossing read with a violent climax and utopian moral. Dialogue can be repetitive and predictable, though the story’s strength lies in its well-laid adventure, which sticks close to the structure of a hero’s journey. Yeaman’s first novel doesn’t have much diversity in word choice and sentence structure, but it’s nonetheless a fine attempt at encapsulating the classic YA trope of saving the world, with some spirituality and environmentalism thrown in for much appreciated intellectual fodder.
Not revelatory YA, yet an engrossing, easy read that should appeal to young readers ready for a fantasy adventure.