Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones
Although this complex, fanciful adventure opens in 1968 Hackensack, N.J., it soon launches its protagonists across time and space in a battle between good and evil. When 11-year-old Mattie O'Reilly discovers an antique spyglass among her late archaeologist father's possessions, she thinks it might be good for show and tell. Then the malevolent Uri Gneezy arrives to claim the magical artifact, and Mattie and her friends are catapulted through the years in an attempt to destroy the spyglass before it can be used for evil. As they work through the challenges presented by the Buddhist Path of the Virtuous, they gain glimpses of a much larger conflict at work. From Hitler's Germany and Rasputin's Russia to ancient Babylonia and then-current Vietnam, the children fight mundane and mythological opponents, leading to a cliffhanger ending. Debut author Sreenivasan's work is multilayered, drawing from a wide variety of sources and inspirations, and may be a little too ambitious and overcrowded. The rapidly expanding cast and clash of cultures may make readers' heads spin, even as they marvel at this tale's depths. Ages 11–up.