Monday, January 9, 2017

The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers

The Voyage to Magical NorthMy name is Brine, and Peter and I have been "rescued" by a pirate. Cassie O'Pia, the pirate captain, planned to sell us off to repay a debt, but things didn't work out as she thought. The buyer turned out to be Marfak West, the most evil and powerful magician of all time, and the sworn enemy of the Cassie. I guess she hadn't really killed him like she thought. He believes the stories of Magical North are true, and he is the only person who knows the way there. I suppose Cassie allowed him aboard our ship to find the treasure, but Magical North is also the strongest source of magic in the world. Marfak West doesn't care about the treasure, and we don't know what he really wants. We do know he's up to no good and can't be trusted. Peter wants to keep his magical powers a secret, but that's no longer an option. I think he's stronger than he believes, and I know he'll be thrown into the center of the looming fight between Cassie and Marfak West. It's believed a person standing atop Magical North can see the entire world, past and future, and I truly want to find out where I come from.

This book is a finalist for the 2016 Cybils Award in Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction. The plot was creative, as I thought it would focus on Brine's past. It was often on her mind, but the problem revolved around the search for Magical North. The whole concept of Magical North was intriguing, and the "partnership" of Marfak West and Cassie created an interesting conflict. It was obvious Marfak had plans, and it was equally obvious that Cassie knew more than she let on. Peter's character faced a huge internal conflict. He liked that Marfak West took an interest in him and taught him magic, but he feared the knowledge would make him become evil too. It was a neat twist to put limits on the magical power, as it could be used up and needed recharging. The struggle to reach Magical North was complicated by bears, whales, and penguins. They weren't called penguins, but it was strange to view the flightless birds as a dangerous threat. I always appreciate stories that require characters to have faith in each other. Peter and Brine quarreled quite a bit, but they always trusted and cared about each other.

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