Well-written yet complex middle grade adventure
Emerson Page is a thirteen-year-old girl who has been through her fair share of tragedies. Her mother died under mysterious circumstances, and her father has gone all-out to hide the truth behind her mother’s death. Emerson’s quest to discover said truth takes her on a magical ride into the world of books, and discovers a legacy that she must embrace, for a battle looms with nothing less than the existence of human imagination at stake.
What I loved:
The world-building, which you can tell was lovingly crafted over time by the author. Emerson is introduced as a fragile young girl but I love the way she powers through the anxiety disorder she suffers from. I think girls that age would definitely relate to her, especially avid readers. The cast of supporting characters is diverse and engaging, from her father Oliver to her best friend Skyler.
What I didn’t love:
As the story went on, the pace seemed to slow down, as more and more characters were introduced and there were times where I lost the plot. For a middle-grade story it is very complex, bordering on convoluted. I do feel that Emerson could have been fleshed out a little more as the book’s heroine, and conversely, Cassandra (the antagonist) could have been better realized.
My Final Verdict:
I would recommend this, but it’s the type of book that one really needs to concentrate on to get the full experience. Otherwise it may take multiple readings to truly appreciate all of its nuances – and it has a lot of that. The author has a gift for imagery, but sometimes the world-building came at the expense of the plot.