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From the Ashtown Burials series, volume 1

by N.D. Wilson

Age Range: 10 - 15

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0375864391
Publisher: Random House

A wild fantasy romp through a creatively imagined alternative world takes a classic quest format. 

Cyrus and Antigone, siblings ages 12 and 13 1/2, respectively, are thrown into adventure when they must leave the ancient motel in Wisconsin that has been their home in ashes and are driven by a lawyer with very strange speech patterns in a limo to Ashtown, where an alternate world awaits. Might their parents, thought dead, actually be alive? By the use of the third person, the author keeps events rolling and the pace swift, with barely a moment to breathe for the characters. While certain of their foes are immortal, others are just plain old incredible creatures, such as whip spiders and feathered vipers, but all require the courage of the trusty duo, who manages to befriend the right sorts just in time to be saved. Naturally, world dominion is at stake, and the evil Dr. Phoenix at the heart of the plot. The somewhat bombastic prose matches the derring-do required of the heroes, who have a certain winsome charm, and the nonstop action doesn’t allow for any reflection on the absurdity of the premise. For readers who’ve reread all of Harry Potter multiple times, this will be just what the doctor ordered. 

Blissfully free of any deeper message, the adventures will continue in future volumes. (Fantasy. 10-15)