"Can a librarian save his grandmother by winning the race that killed his parents?"
A spectacularly imaginative fantasy adventure seems the very least we can expect from the author of the bestselling Explorer’s Club series, but when the story also has an orphaned apprentice librarian as the hero and with the many and varied libraries of this world being fundamental to his chances of winning the famous race and the magical prize which could cure his beloved grandmother, then we have a story to grab any librarian’s heart! But there is so much more to enjoy in this enthralling, page-turning read. We cannot help but love Eli, the unassuming introvert and reluctant mage, but we also care for loyal swashbuckling friend Jeremiah, who had been brought to life by Eli from the pages of a favourite book, with potentially disastrous consequences, and adore Humphrey the poetry-loving, elderly Moon tortoise who becomes his much-ridiculed Magical Beast partner in the race.
Then we meet Raven, the race rival, who with her magical ice hare, becomes an ally and friend during the many pitfalls and perils they all face, including a sinister bounty hunter and the nightmarish joo-joo-bubs. Having a hare and a tortoise cooperating in a race is yet another delicious storytelling element and the way that the friendships between the young protagonists are explored and challenged creates real pathos and tension.
A beautifully crafted, genuinely thrilling story that just begs to be read aloud.