In this debut middle-grade fantasy, a girl must protect her newborn twin siblings from evil forces.
Twelve-year-old Makenna Grace Gold of the Los Angeles area can’t wait for school tomorrow. She’s trying to fall asleep but is excited about the Science Fair, where she’ll present homemade sugar crystals. Just as Makenna drifts off, a trio of fairies appears in her bedroom: cousins Bree and Dee Delphine and “Marigold Frith, Fairy Prelate.” They’ve come to initiate Makenna as The Virago, Warrior of Warriors. From braids of light and hope, they summon the Ancient Weapon, which looks like a sword as it bonds with Makenna. The girl wakes, assuming that she’s dreaming, and the fairies explain that her new brother and sister will be born tomorrow. They are hope incarnate, and Makenna must protect them against villainous forces, namely Sir Seaton, war profiteer and head of Natasi Industries. He sends his beautiful but deadly associates, Ms. Chevious and Ms. Creante, from their London headquarters to collect the twins. Luckily, Makenna can focus the power of the Ancient Weapon as she chooses, and she does so through her new lowrider skateboard. In his novel, Bialys introduces a spunky protagonist who’s fun to root for as she deals with rival classmate (and skating champ) Heather Stern; the twins’ creepy nanny, Ms. Revel; and, later, reptilian demons. Aside from the fairies, Makenna gets help from Fluffy, a talking worm, and Stephen Levine, a dreamy Canadian transfer student. The author reveals that some characters aren’t who they initially appear to be, which should keep middle-grade audiences alert. He also educates as he connects the Virago legacy to King Arthur, the monarch’s sword Excalibur, and the story of David, who felled Goliath with a slingshot. The notion that children can change the world by channeling their passion through an object has broad appeal in reality and further potential as a narrative device. The finale featuring an actual Highway to Hell should amuse anyone who’s driven in Los Angeles. The overall likability of this series opener should secure readership for the sequel.
This zany adventure flaunts a heart of gold and a plucky heroine.