Diana Wynne Jones, . . Penguin/Firebird, $11.99 (179pp) ISBN 978-0-14-240718-9
Celestial intrigue and the nature of storytelling are just two of the strands woven together in Jones's (the Chrestomanci books) inventive novella. Sent from her grandparents' London home in disgrace, Hayley arrives in Ireland to stay with her aunts and cousins in their rambling castle home. The girl takes to her new life almost immediately, especially the thrilling game her cousins play, in which they venture into the mythosphere—a mysterious realm where they perform various tasks drawn from the worlds of fairytale, myth and legend. In the course of her own quests, Hayley discovers the truth about her own unearthly nature. She gets the chance to rescue her long-lost parents from dreadful fates, to which they've been condemned by domineering Uncle Jolyon, a power-hungry god thinly disguised as an unpleasant business man. Readers less familiar with classical mythology will be helped (and may well find their interest piqued) by a note at story's end that clearly links the original Greco-Roman characters with their modern-day avatars. A sparkling treat. Ages 12-up.
Reviewed on: 03/05/2007