cover image Hatter Madigan: Ghost in the H.A.T.B.O.X.

Hatter Madigan: Ghost in the H.A.T.B.O.X.

Frank Beddor, with Adrienne Kress. Automatic (PGW, dist.), $17.99 (408p) ISBN 978-0-9912729-2-1

Fans of Beddor's Looking Glass Wars novels will delight in this first book in a prequel series focusing on Hatter Madigan, the Mad Hatter–inspired bodyguard from the earlier books. As the book opens, Hatter has just turned 13, and tradition dictates that he enter the Millinery Academy to train to become one of Wonderland's guardians. Hatter's class is the first to use a state-of-the-art training simulator built by combining science and the imaginative power of caterpillar thread. Code-named H.A.T.B.O.X., it provides tangible holograms for cadets to fight. As Hatter moves up the ranks, he begins to notice cadets acting oddly and holograms appearing where they shouldn't. Not knowing whom to trust, Hatter and his friends work together to find out what's behind the aberrations and save the day. Beddor and Kress introduce a wealth of entertaining new characters and keep things moving with fight scenes and fascinating worldbuilding. Readers new to the larger world of Beddor's series might be a bit lost, but both new readers and existing fans should be left anticipating the next book. Ages 9–12. (Apr.)