Synopsis (from back of book): It isn't easy being thirteen ... and being raised by your grandfather ... and having a name like Minno ... and then having to journey through a strange land. But Minno is doing the best she can.
For all her young life Minno believed her parents were dead. Then she learns they're alive, but they're in grave danger.
Her friend Hailey thought she was having a sleepover at her friend's house. Now she's Minno's ally and partner on an incredible quest. Together the girls embark on the adventure of a lifetime, where they face a veritable menagerie of strange creatures, both friendly and unfriendly to their cause.
Oh, yeah, then there's one evil high minister Craveaux, who must stop Minno while he steals all the magic in the kingdom for his own sinister purposes.
Minno has to save her parents, and along the way discover who she really is.
In full disclosure I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.
Whenever I enter a giveaway it normally falls into one of three categories, a giveaway that I REALLY want to win, and in the morning of when the giveaway ends, I rush on to Goodreads to see if I won it. Or it might be a giveaway that I would quite like to win, but I don’t go crazy trying to find out if I won. Or a giveaway I am not sure about but enter anyway. This book was in the third category, as it turned out I am glad I won this book because I loved it.
The story is great, my biggest fear and the reason that I almost didn’t enter was that this book would be girly. It really wasn’t the case, and the book could be enjoyed by males and females of any age.
The pacing is really fast, the exciting scenes and action is almost non-stop. It starts quickly and doesn’t slow for almost the whole book. I thought it was a little too fast paced and never gave me a chance to catch my breath. I found myself sometimes putting the book down simply to let my brain catch up with everything that had happened.
There are lots of great ideas in this book, many of them are original or rarely used, such as giant long-necked ladybugs, musical flowers and warrior bunnies. In fact most sections of the book had at least some original content to it, this was great to see as it is hard for authors to come up with a couple of new ideas in their book, to have so many is very impressive.
One of my few criticisms is that most of what happens in the story doesn’t effect what happens in the long term plot, it is simply the next stage in the journey. Most sections are exciting and interesting but if they weren’t there you would not notice that they are missing or that the story had jumped.
The descriptions have a nice level of detail, there is enough there to conjure up clear images of what the world looks like, but not so much that the story drags. It is very good that the level of detail is high, because the pace is so fast, it is really needed to follow what is happening.
The characters were good and likeable, with interesting personalities. I thought it was a really good idea to have one of the characters be mute, I thought it was brave of the author to keep her mute even when she moves into the magical world. Smallish spoiler she does get her voice later in the book, and I thought it was presented well. The girl acts in a way a person who had just found their voice would act, speaking her mind more often than most people and saying things out loud without realizing it.I also liked that fact (BIG spoiler) that the girls were not sisters/twins. At first it seemed likely that this was going to happen, neither girl has their parents, one lives with a grandfather, the other with foster parents. One girl has never seen or even has photos of her parents. It all seemed set up to reveal that they were twins or sisters, I was actually glad that this wasn’t the case because it would have been an obvious and predictable piece of plot
The friendship is well written, they are kind and genuinely care about each other and their friends that they meet on the way, but and times they can get snippy with each other especially during tense situations.
The kids do sometimes speak in ‘teen talk’, fortunately it is not excessive so doesn’t become annoying and in fact gives it a more realistic feel.
The POV shifts rapidly in this book, it can shift back and forth over a few paragraphs. The rapid changes could get confusing at times. It also made it hard to fully understand and like a character since the POV kept moving around.
The book is also funny, at some points laugh out loud funny.
Overall I would rate this book 4 ½ stars. The story is fantastic, it is interesting and has a lot of originality or at least twists from the norm about it. Even though the main characters are two teenage girls, the book is not ‘girly’ or only enjoyable by teenagers. The pacing is fast, at times it was a little too fast as it made it hard to keep up. My biggest criticism is that there isn’t much of a long term plot, other than journey from one place to another, although as the rest of the story is so well written and the journey exciting it really doesn’t matter very much. Even though I wasn’t sure about this book I am really glad I won it.
Rating **** ½