cover image Heartlight


T. A. Barron. Philomel Books, $18.99 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22180-4

Barron's debut novel is a splendid action-adventure science fantasy filled with deep, resonant emotional and spiritual undertones. When evil powers attack the sun, Kate's grandfather, a famous astrophysicist, embarks on a galaxy-spanning quest to save it from certain destruction. Refusing to be left behind, Kate sets off after her grandfather and is caught up in the ensuing cosmic struggle between the forces of light and darkness. On the surface, Heartlight appears to be an homage to the science fantasies of Madeleine L'Engle, and Barron does consciously tip his hat to her. However, his own imagination is so rich--the novel is filled with brave people composed of snow, mighty butterflies made of pure condensed light and terrifying, ferocious villains--that this book also shines as a bold, original effort worthy of repeat readings. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)