APR 28, 2020 | 9781510105942 | RRP $16.99
Twelve year old Flick Hudson is really not sure about her family’s move to a village, leaving their rather cramped flat for a much bigger home. Of course their old home wouldn’t have been so squashy if her dribbling, annoying baby brother Freddy hadn’t arrived some time before. With her parents always busy working so hard it seems that Flick’s life has become more and more a case of looking after Freddy, picking up after everyone, house chores and even cooking. Truthfully she’s a bit fed up with it all and spends a lot of time daydreaming of exotic destinations she’d love to visit.
When she wanders down to explore her new surrounds and check out the village she comes across the strangest shop. The Strangeworlds Travel Agency is like no other travel agent she has ever seen. There are no glossy brochures or computers or schedules of any kind, just shelf after shelf of rather battered suitcases and a young man – boy, almost- who says he is the owner.
Jonathan Mercator has, he says, recently inherited the shop from his father and at first, is very reluctant to even talk to Flick but that all changes when she unwittingly demonstrates her innate magical ability.
Flick is astonished when Jonathan reveals the true nature of the travel agency. Each suitcase is a portal to a different world in what Jonathan calls the ‘multiverse’. More than that, as he begins to initiate Flick as a member of the Strangeworlds secret society he also hopes she can help discover how his father disappeared and where he might be.
The pair begin their exploration and Flick is fascinated by the variety and beauty of different worlds at first but when they end up in the City of Five Lights things begin to be not so fun. It seems that this could be where Mercator Senior disappeared and more than that, there are people in the city who are determined to steal their way out of that world and take over another. Flick and Jonathan must find their way out of a grim adventure which threatens not only their own safety but that of the multiverse itself. Their burgeoning friendship is severely tested as events unfold and reveal secrets which compromise their mutual trust.
Any of your readers who enjoy narratives such as the Rondo trilogy, Inkspell or Pages & Co with rich imaginative adventures amid magical surroundings will love this. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read with just enough danger to make it exciting and certainly much to offer about family and friendships.
As it’s a debut novel I’m even more impressed and clearly though there is a satisfactory ending there will, no doubt, be more to come as the intrepid pair continue their mission to find Jonathan’s father and to uphold their sworn Strangelands duty of protecting the many worlds of the multiverse.
Highly recommended for tweens of both genders.