This week, we're spotlighting a few of our favorite book reviews from 2013. We tossed a coin, and I won with tails, so I get to go first! Here's my top pick for the year. Tomorrow, we'll find out what book Lizzy's decided on. : ) ~ F
"There is a danger in small enchantments, my boy. Small enchantments make us dream of big ones." ~ Master Malcolm from The Real Boy
Oscar is just a magician's hand. He's nothing special. Certainly not worth paying any mind to. He doesn't care, though. In fact, he couldn't feel luckier. Grinding herbs and packaging potions for Master Caleb, the most respected magic peddler in the Barrow, is a fine lot in life- better than the orphanage, that's for sure. Even though his memory of the boys' home is foggy, he's positive it wasn't a pleasant place to live. Oscar enjoys his routine of running to Caleb's spectacular gardens, gathering herbs, and learning how to draw out their natural attributes, like: raspberry leaves to protect a relationship or walnut leaves to break one up. It's very important to get the ingredients right, as you can see. Especially for the Shining People from the city, Asteri. They're Caleb's most valued customers. Asteri sits on a hilltop above the Barrow, which is a tangled, dark swath of magic soaked land that surrounds it like a moat. Asteri's residents visit the market in the Barrow to shop for spells, find cures, brew love, create luck, find lost items, etc. Their every fancy can be filled by the shop owners, who keep the land that survived the plague of death. It survived thanks to a hundred wizards, who rooted themselves into the ground and became magnificent trees that protect the city and feed the land with magic. When Master Caleb is called away to the continent, he leaves his apprentice, Wolf, in charge. Wolf enjoys reminding Oscar how worthless and non-magical he is, so Oscar isn't thrilled about this turn of events. On top of that, something strange has been going on in the forest. The animals are anxious, and the people seem nervous. The only confidants Oscar has are the cats that live in Caleb's shop with him, and they don't seem very happy about what's happening either- though, it's extremely hard to tell what cats are thinking at all.
"Most animals do not like magic-other than the ones native to forest, of course. But in the case of cats, I believe magic does not like them." ~ Master Malcolm
When the healer's apprentice, Callie, enters Caleb's shop, Oscar's life is changed forever. What will happen while Caleb's away? Will Oscar be able to take over the magical shop? Can Callie help Oscar figure out what's wrong with him? What is happening in the forest? You must read this spectacular book to find out!
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu speaks of the truest and oldest magic- that of the heart. Just like Breadcrumbs, this book will whisk you away on a unique, fairy tale adventure. I found myself caught up in Oscar and Callie's web of worry- so much so, that it inspired a little fan art, and now I know where Bookworm Stew was being brewed ; ) I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a touch of magic and a spoonful of whimsy!
Has anyone else read The Real Boy by Anne Ursu? What did you think?
* Check out our author interview with Anne Ursu and find out what she has to say about her stories!
Happy reading ~ F