Twelve-year-old Milo’s Christmas looks ruined when five eccentric guests arrive at his parents’ inn on the first day of vacation. But his new friend Meddy has other ideas, and soon the pair is investigating a series of thefts and creating alter egos based on the role-playing game Odd Trails. Milo’s new persona allows him to imagine his Chinese birth family without the guilt he usually feels toward his loving adoptive parents when he does so. The mysteries surrounding the guests and their connections to the inn unravel slowly, but Milo—with his resentment of the unexpected, his growing empathy, and his quick powers of deduction—is a well-drawn protagonist. Likewise, the fictional port of Nagspeake, whose daring smugglers face off against ruthless customs agents, makes for a unique and cozy setting, where Milo’s parents’ inn provides a refuge for “runners,” as the smugglers call themselves. The legends and folktales Milford (The Broken Lands) creates add to Nagspeake’s charm and gently prepare the ground for a fantasy twist. Ages 10–14. Author’s agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary.(Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/26/2014 Release date: 08/26/2014 Genre: Children's
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