Anyone with a Hogwarts-shaped hole in their lives can't miss this fantasy series opener. Dive into a secret underground city below London where ordinary objects are capable of extraordinary magic!
Welcome to a world where nothing is quite as it seems....
When their grandmother Sylvie is rushed to the hospital, Ivy Sparrow and her annoying big brother Seb cannot imagine what adventure lies in store. Soon their house is ransacked by unknown intruders, and a very strange policeman turns up on the scene, determined to apprehend them with a toilet brush.
Ivy and Seb make their escape only to find themselves in a completely uncommon world, a secret underground city called Lundinor where ordinary objects have amazing powers. There are belts that enable the wearer to fly, yo-yos that turn into weapons, buttons with healing properties, and other enchanted objects capable of very unusual feats.
But the forces of evil are closing in fast, and when Ivy and Seb learn that their family is connected to one of the greatest uncommon treasures of all time, they must race to unearth the treasure and get to the bottom of a family secret before it's too late.
Debut novelist Jennifer Bell delivers a world of wonder and whimsy in the start of a richly uncommon series.
©2017 Jennifer Bell (P)2017 Listening Library
"An auspicious trilogy opener." (Kirkus Reviews)
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
--this might be a good book, especially for younger listeners. It has short chapters with whiz-bang, ominous cliff-hanger endings that would be good for the younguns to ask, "What next?"
If, however, you, as I was, are looking for an entry into an entirely different world that leaves your imagination singing, well, this might be rather a disappointment. It seems "odd" just for the sake of oddness. Common objects have "Uncommon" uses... and that's about as far as it goes.
There are Invisibility Candles that make you invisible (Invisibility cloaks, anyone?); feather pens that leave threatening messages (Howlers?); Common people are called Muckers (Muggles?); Uncommon people wear "hobsmatch" which is a mishmash of Common clothing (wizards at a muggle campground at the Quidditch World Cup?); and a multitude of other things that'll have you scratching your head because they're soooo familiar.
As far as the story: Grandma Sylvie is a mystery. An accident in the distant past caused amnesia. But there are secrets within that mystery that have Ivy and her older brother Seb racing the future-telling clock (prophecy globe?) through mansions with many doors, battling wolves that talk (werewolves?), wraith moths, and leaning on newfound friends for help in the Uncommon world. It's a decent enough story, esp. with the addition that people of the uncommon world wear gloves that store every single transaction, every move, the wearer has made. Nice Big Brother touch.
Jayne Entwistle turns in a good performance, but she's lacking the enthusiasm, the energy, the verve she had when she narrated "The War That Saved My Life."
There are Trading Seasons, unlike school years at Hogwarts, that Ivy and Seb are promised to come back for, so get ready for a series. But don't get ready for breathless sweeps of imagination. Your kids might like this; you might be annoyed at worst, smiling mildly at best...
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