Set on an Earth that is either far in the past, far in the future, or perhaps just an alternate reality (it could be any one of these things), the world is a different place from what we are used to. There are two classes of people: those who are immortal and those unfortunates who are not. Immortals control magic and pretty much everything else, but they cannot truly create anything. Normal humans are forced to work for the Immortals and live in terrible conditions. Actually, the entire planet has nearly been ruined by the toxic stuff generated by the magic that the Immortals cast only a small island area is inhabitable and it is kept that way with a magic spell. The poor humans? They, of course, live outside this area.
Anatopsis is a princess and heir to the fortune and power that her mother, Queen Solomon, has built up by running Amalgamated Witchcraft Corporation. Their main (and really, only) competition is with the Georges family, who runs Consolidated Necromantic Industries. But Anatopsis would really rather be a knight errant, like her father.
When Anatopsis (Ana) turns 13, a strange new tutor comes to teach her Mr. Pound, who is a demi-god (and the last living god of any kind, all the rest having been killed some time before). If the chilling Mr. Pound werent strange enough, Barnaby Georges is to be her classmate and her father has been sent away for her own good so that he cant interfere with her education. (No one, and I mean NO ONE, dares disagree with the Queen)
Barnaby is almost the exact opposite of Anatopsis. He has no skill whatsoever at magic, even though he is an immortal. What he does have are clever fingers that can build mechanical items and the last dog in existence, Uno (who can, incidentally, talk).
Theres also Clarissa, a human girl who is supposed to be Anas personal maid, but is really her best friend. When mysterious things start to happen to the prisoners in the Queens dungeon and the children suspect Mr. Pound, the three of them band together to try and figure out just what Mr. Pound is up to.
Now I come to the point where I feel I cant really tell you much more without giving things away. Lets just say that Mr. Pound is up to no good&as in destroying-the-universe no good and that the humans have a few tricks still up their sleeves. It will ultimately be up to Ana to figure out whats best for everyone, because she is the one that holds the key&to everything.
Recommended for readers aged 12 and up, especially if you are looking for a fantasy novel thats a little different. This book will appeal to both girls and boys equally, though girls may get into it a bit more because of Ana being the primary character. There are some dark bits and things to make you think about our own world (the class segregation between humans and Immortals, for instance, or what pollution has done to the planet) and theres not a happy ending for everyone involved (which would have been too pat), so dont go looking for a Disney-type fantasy. I think youll enjoy it.
This novel is a fantastic, exhilirating literary adventure. I give it five stars for its interesting plot, and the author's descriptive use of language and creativity. I recommend this book for those who relish reading fantasy, or any sort of genre.