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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, written by Jonathan Auxier. Penguin, 2016. $22.99 ages 10 and up

"You could have told me the truth." Sophie felt a coldness taking over her body, as if she had used up every ounce of sorrow until only anger remained - anger at her mother for dying, at her father for lying about it, at herself for not somehow being able to stop it. "That book was called The Book of Who, and it contained descriptions of remarkable people all throughout history."

This companion book to Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes (Puffin, 2012), once read, had me scrambling to order a copy of that first book. Now, I just have to get to reading it, too.

Sophie loves books. She loves mending them as well. In fact, she is quite famous concerning those book-mending skills. Peter and his companion, Sir Tode, have been sent to find her. When they do, they learn that Sophie engaged in a battle with Inquisitor Prigg who wants to ban all the books in their town, considering them nonsense and without merit. Sophie is convinced she will not let that happen - she is the perfect Last Storyguard.

The enduring magic that books hold for Sophie becomes even more palpable when she is given a remarkable book meant to change her world, The Book of Who. This book that Peter and Sir Tode bring is one of four ancient books that hold untold power. It is important for one to possess all four in order to save the world. With the two trusty companions at her side, she embarks on a journey fraught with terror, battles and a need to ensure that those responsible for her mother's death are brought to justice. All this while also saving the world! Not too much to ask for such enduring and memorable characters ...  It is a rollercoaster journey. That is putting it lightly.

Every single one of his characters elevates Jonathan Auxier's storytelling beyond any expectations I might have had. The world he creates is endlessly fascinating and believable. The fast-paced plotting, the natural conversations between friends and foes, and the message about word magic will hold readers at the edge of their seats from the opening page until the final scene.

Oh, and I won't forget to read The Night Gardener (Puffin, 2014) either. I think you should try them!

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