Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Jim West

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2020
ISBN: 979-8-69-179094-2
Publisher: Self

A girl joins the war against evil wizards threatening a magical world in this conclusion to a middle-grade fantasy series.

One day, Alex suddenly found herself in a world of Latin, mathematics, and magic. Since then, she’s made many friends, some of whom she’s sadly lost in the fight against sinister Master Wizards Diades and Demetrius. Power-hungry Diades, in particular, wants to enslave people and kill anyone who defies him. Alex and her winged ally, Daedalus, infiltrate the evil wizards’ Black Castle to steal back her calculator, a device capable of releasing magic spells. Meanwhile, King Nosaj leads people on an arduous trek through the mountains to the Black Castle. This puts everyone, including the world’s Guardians, in danger from avalanches and unbearable fatigue. While more of Alex’s comrades fall in battle, she reunites with a friend she believed had perished as well as one of Diades’ now-liberated captives. Some are certain Alex is the “missing variable” who will help save this realm, though even she doesn’t know how she’ll do it—or how she’ll return to her own world. As in the preceding installments, this fourth and final novel boasts an entertaining narrative populated by Greek historical figures like Aristotle. West’s story begins at full-tilt, with characters either heading into battle or bracing themselves for the inevitable confrontation. Accordingly, knowledge of the earlier books is a necessity. Recurring protagonist Alex is valiant though prone to feelings of guilt over others’ deaths, even when she’s not at fault. She and the rest of the cast populate vivid, concisely written action scenes: “The intense heat of a fireball scorched the air around them, burning their already stinging eyes and searing their lungs as they sobbed.” While the ending battle delivers surprises, the denouement is predictable, albeit gratifying.

A brave, winsome hero leads an action-packed, satisfying finale.

(Latin translations, author bio)