The Key & the Flame

Claire M. Caterer. S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4424-5741-6
In this earnest first novel, 11-year-old Holly Shepard, her annoying younger brother, and their overprotective parents relocate from the U.S. to a small town in England. A gift from their caretaker awaits Holly when she arrives: an antique key that hums with secret power and, she soon discovers, opens doorways to other worlds. Soon Holly, her brother, and their new friend Everett are transported to Anglielle, a place very much like medieval England, except that it is also home to magicians, centaurs, shapechangers, and other magical creatures. Holly, who sees herself as someone who “wasn’t very good at anything in particular and ‘didn’t apply herself’ and was a little on the scrawny side,” discovers that she is an “Adept” and that her key is a magic wand. The magical beings are being hunted by tyrannical King Reynard, and only Holly can save them. Anglielle and its magic are fairly generic, but Caterer is especially good at creating believable children in all of their human imperfections. The book’s pace is sprightly, and Holly’s adventures are exciting without being too scary. Ages 8–12. Agent: Chris Richman, Upstart Crow Literary (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/18/2013
Release date: 04/02/2013
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-1-4424-5742-3
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4424-5743-0
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