The magpie is always there, mysterious and manipulating—and perhaps manipulated.
It is at Grandpa’s house and also at the hospital where he doesn’t recognize Silva. It is at the library where Silva goes to find solace. There, the magpie’s magic door leads her to an inner library holding amazing books. The first book is Margaret’s tale. The words move off the page and physically pull Silva into the book, where she becomes Margaret, hearing her thoughts. Thus begins layer upon layer of magic and secrets involving books in which the characters all have their own magic doors. Silva feels comfort and a sense of removal from the tensions and sadness in her modern England. But ultimately she is aware that it is a trap. Silva must fight for her soul and the health and safety of those she loves, for they too are in thrall to the magic. The action is fast paced and constant, but readers are always privy to Silva’s feelings. She narrates her part of the story, but the magpie—or is it Maghew?—narrates his backstory, shown in different typeface, always controlled by the Whisper, the evil force behind it all. Blair releases information about the characters and clues almost grudgingly, deftly hinting at possible patterns and interrelations, while completely surprising readers with the final denouement. The cast is default white.
This intricate and compelling fantasy will pull readers in. (Fantasy. 10-14)