Pinocchio embarks on a journey to protect the magical island Abaton in Bemis' reimagining of this classic tale.
The automata Pinocchio arrives at San Baldovino in a wooden box, weary from the journey and excited to meet his new master, Geppetto. Geppetto and the magical cricket Maestro notice that the new servant behaves differently. He thinks independently, makes facial expressions, and asks a lot of questions. Who is the mysterious stranger that sent him to Geppetto? Why is Geppetto on the run from the authorities? How will they save Abaton from the magic-hungry Venetian doge? As they journey to the near-mythical island of Abaton, Pinocchio discovers the hidden secrets within Abaton and himself. Bemis successfully renovates Pinocchio's story with layered worldbuilding. Venice’s inhabitants, politics, and history with the island of Abaton form a solid foundation. The various fantastical creatures are explained and revealed at a steady pace, without overwhelming readers. The main characters develop with the story, each propelling the other forward in a natural rhythm. The last few chapters unfurl to a surprising yet satisfying finish, giving readers a real ending but leaving a taste of the adventures to come.
Young readers will find this reimagined adventure an exhilarating and insightful journey, fresh despite its familiar bones. (Fantasy. 8-12)