cover image The Shape of Time (Rymworld Arcana #1)

The Shape of Time (Rymworld Arcana #1)

Ryan Calejo. Amulet, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5988-8

Fourteen-year-old Antares de la Vega, who experiences panic attacks and whose cartographer parents vanished when he was very young, chafes at life’s mundanity and has a burning desire to explore the unknown. The arrival of intergalactic strangers named Mr. Now, Mr. Minutes, and Mr. Hoursback kicks off a series of events in which Antares is chased by crocodile men and imprisoned in a secret Bermuda Triangle facility. There he meets fellow detainee Magdavellía, a prickly teenage girl who “could’ve been from anywhere in the world”; her robot companion; and Zamangar, an idiosyncratic elderly man with an escape plan. As the group work toward their freedom, Antares learns that the world is flat and far weirder than he ever dreamed, and that he’s a pawn in an age-old quest to uncover a legendary artifact that promises immense power. In this freewheeling series opener, Calejo (the Charlie Hernández series) presents a frenetic adventure that combines classic conspiracy theories with metaphysics and a touch of mayhem. Playful linguistic looseness (“This is wondificent!”) and memorably rendered characters round out this exciting offbeat tale. Antares is multiethnic (“My dad was born in Mexico City and had Cuban heritage. My mom was part Indian, part Irish, and was born in Switzerland”). Ages 8–12. Agent: Rena Rossner, Deborah Harris Agency. (Sept.)