An ancient evil is unleashed in this opener of a prequel series to the 100 Cupboards series.
The Smith family, all white, leads an unusual life. While the patriarch hunts down the occasional supernatural killer (the last one had two mouths!) his kids go along for the ride. Hyacinth, however, is different from her charming brothers and sisters, with qualities that could easily mark her as a witch. When the Smiths inherit a house with evil brewing inside, they have little idea what’s in store. Alas, this interesting family circle is abandoned early on so that Hyacinth and her little brother can join with two strange boys from another world. Together they’ll seek to defeat the undying witch-queen Nimiane, who lays waste to countless worlds and now has her unseeing eyes focused on our own. But how do you destroy something that can’t be killed? Wilson has perfected the art of the high-fantasy novel, creating new ideas and worlds with inventive aplomb. Sadly, however, characterization lags. Aside from her pursuit of the basic heroic quest, Hyacinth’s drive and personality are a bit hazy. Her motivations spring less from any internal needs and wants and more from the evil external forces around her. All this makes for evocative language and exciting action sequences surrounding a less-than-wholly-compelling heroine.
A journey worth more than the characters it contains. (Fantasy. 9-12)