Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Whisperwicks: The Labyrinth of Lost and Found by Jordan Lees

I'm really excited about today's read. It promises magic, adventure, mystery, a parallel world... in other words, all sorts of goodness!

Note: This one is going onto my possible favorites of the year list!

The Whisperwicks, #1
by Jordan Lees
Illustrated by Vivienne To
Simon & Schuster
Middle Grade Fantasy
384 pages
ages 8 to 12

Doll Bones meets Skandar and the Unicorn Thief in this spooky, illustrated middle grade novel about a boy who doesn’t believe in magic discovering a supernatural world full of danger.

It began with a crack in the wall .

Eleven-year-old Benjamiah Creek believes in science, logic, and the power of reason. He definitely does not believe in magic. But when he receives a mysterious doll in the mail—a doll that can transform into a bird—he is led into an impossible (and most definitely magical) Wreathenwold.

Wreathenwold is dangerous and holds many secrets within its labyrinthine walls—magi prowl, Hanged Men stalk, and at the center of its shifting streets lurks the Minotaur, a beastly creature and object of terror. In no time at all, Benjamiah is swept into a perilous adventure with the fierce and brilliant Elizabella, a girl determined to solve the disappearance of her missing brother, who may be caught up in a decades-old conspiracy that could doom them all.

Will Benjamiah ever find his way home? Or will he be lost forever in the labyrinth?



The other world holds magic, mazes, and dark secrets, promising a fantastical twist of mystery and adventure with the uncertainty of whether everything will turn out okay or not.

Benjamin Creek is a loner and feels alone. His loving parents are on a type of vacation, trying to find a way to work out their relationship or call a divorce. He wishes they’d just fix things and get on with life as it should be. To kill time, he reads books in his Granny’s library. Not fiction but anything that teaches him something. This is also one reason he doesn’t seem to have any friends; no one understands him. When a mysterious package with a doll arrives at the bookstore, he’s convinced its from his parents. But he’s wrong. The doll leads him to a hidden door, and behind it is a world somewhat like his own but dangerously different.

 I’ll admit that it took a me a couple of pages to sink into this one. The first chapter starts out very grabbing as it sets the stage for the adventure to come with magic, danger, and set in a fantastical world. The second chapter shifts gears and lets the reader meet Benjamin as he struggles with his parents’ situation while reading in the bookstore. The worries the possible divorces holds come across clearly, and his loneliness is obvious. This did move a little slower, especially after the opening chapter but when the doll arrives, the pace picks up. After the door appears, it’s hard to put the book down.

 The author has built an intricate world and that without boring descriptions or information dumps. The magic and the maze-like streets carry background and richness…it’s fun and yet a little disturbing to have a city, where people can only wander a few streets before getting lost with little hope of returning home. The reader discovers everything right along with Benjamin, and that while he’s searching for clues, trying not to get lost in the mysterious maze, and faced with one dangerous situation after the next. While there are friendships, there’s also deceit. Trust is only true when given with a coin. But the thing to look out for most, are the hidden intentions behind myth and façade…and this promises more than a few unexpected twists and turns.

There are darker and more dangerous moments as Benjamin helps Elizabella search for her brother, which might be on the heavy side for sensitive readers, but it isn’t gruesome, nor does it tiptoe fully into horror. There is a little humor and spark to keep the characters fun (especially the banter between Benjamin and Elizabella), and the magical red string is cute, but still, the story leans toward the shadows and packs tension with all sorts of villains.

 It’s an engaging read with mystery and fantasy, and is sure to delight adventure fans. It will be fun to see what Benjamin will face next.

No comments: