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INTO THE LABYRINTH by Roderick Townley

INTO THE LABYRINTH

By Roderick Townley

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-84615-0
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Princess Sylvie, the plucky and brave heroine of The Great Good Thing (2001), returns to adventures old and new in this brilliantly imagined sequel. She’s now back in print, and instead of there being only one copy of her story in an old house, there are hundreds of copies with new readers. Actually, it’s wearing out all the characters, since people seem to be reading morning, noon, and night, with barely a pause. When their tale is uploaded onto the web, things get even worse, because the words scroll upwards and the characters have to play their lines differently. Even though Sylvie appears in The Writer’s dreams to suggest they are having a hard time of it, the character who The Writer inserts—a Yoga instructor named Rosetta Stein who’s a silent shepherdess in Sylvie’s story—brings some respite but may cause more trouble, too. Then things get really bad, when first parts of words, then great blocks of text, begin to disappear. Sylvie must negotiate the electronic insides of a computer, complete with bots and cookies, to save her story, and her existence. Besides the parallel tales in and outside of the volume, Townley plays wonderfully with ideas: how does a story happen? Why do characters behave as they do? What is more real, readers who come and go, or characters who live on the page (or on the Web) forever? This is all done in vivid, sparkling language, and knowing readers will see references to everything from TV’s Jay Leno to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. (Fiction. 10+)