The Wild Huntsboys

Martin Stewart. Viking, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-11613-5
Stewart (The Sacrifice Box) mixes a heady brew of faerie lore, unusual tech, and a setting recalling the London Blitz in this solid speculative middle grade debut. Putting his eight-year-old sister, Elena, on a train to be evacuated from war-torn Bellum City, olive-skinned Luka Maldini, 11, promises that he’ll feed the faeries. Angry at the world and the war, however, he throws away the milk and bread offering when a bombing raid begins, unknowingly bringing a faerie curse on the household. Joined by muscular, pale-skinned Max, who has been placed in Luka’s house by government officials, and Hazel, a dark-skinned tech genius who is hiding from them, Luka seeks to avoid an excruciating death at the hands of vengeful faeries; the kids’ only hope is to ward the home’s windows and doors with iron, which is scarce due to the war effort. In addition to conflicts historical and otherworldly, Luka runs afoul of local gang the Lost Boys, finding an unlikely ally in a ferocious faerie scout. Martin consistently ups the book’s tension, layering discrete characterization, close friendship, modern technology, and uncanny elements to create an action-packed adventure with plenty of room for future installments. Ages 8–12. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, the Bent Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/04/2021
Release date: 03/09/2021
Genre: Children's
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