cover image Snared: Escape to the Above

Snared: Escape to the Above

Adam Jay Epstein. Imprint, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-14692-2

In this engaging middle grade fantasy series opener, 14-year-old Wily is a pro at devising nonlethal traps to incapacitate the unwary. He has never known any home other than Carrion Tomb and no parent other than the devious sorcerer Stalag. But when a valiant trio of dungeon-delvers successfully evades his traps, they claim Wily as their prize. Intent on using his skills to further their treasure hunting plans, they instead find themselves battling the bizarre mechanical servants of the dreaded Infernal King, as well as the vengeful Stalag. To survive, they must all become true heroes. Epstein (coauthor of the Familiars series) delivers a clever deconstruction of popular fantasy gaming elements, while still offering a heartfelt tale filled with whimsy, wonder, and magic. As Wily struggles with the unfamiliar, unpredictable nature of the outside world—“I was always taught, if something moves and you don’t know what it is... it’s probably trying to kill you,” he says, regarding a fallen pinecone—and accepts his new companions as a makeshift family, his journey, both comic and sincere, becomes truly satisfying. Ages 8–12. Agent: Markus Hoffmann, Regal Hoffmann & Assoc. [em](June) [/em]