Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

The Apothecary (The Apothecary, #1)This book is the first in a series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Janie's family is forced to leave the United States, so they move to London. She meets a boy, Benjamin, whose father is an apothecary. The apothecary's ancestors have been guarding a powerful book for centuries. The book began as a record of natural healing medicines, but it grew into a record of potions with magical powers. The Russians want the book now, since the apothecary may have discovered a way to stop the effects of atomic bombs. Benjamin's father disappears, a gardener is murdered, and the kids don't know who can be trusted. The British police, Russian government, and spies with German accents are all after them. The apothecary's book will lead them on adventures that they never could have imagined.

The plot moved along nicely, and the potions provided interesting twists. Characters became birds, temporarily invisible, and were forced to tell the truth. The action picked up when the apothecary told the children about the book, and Benjamin's father disappeared. Pip was a nice addition to the characters later in the story. He was a small, charming pickpocket, and he added some humor to the book. Overall, the plot was not overly magical, and the author kept a nice balance between fantasy and the believable.

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