From School Library Journal
Gr 5-10-Em and Matt Calder, 12, inherited the attributes of their Guardian father, Malcolm, and their Animare mother, Sandie. This unprecedented combination puts them in danger from those who want to extinguish their powers and those who want to exploit them for evil ends. When the twins begin to reveal their Animare ability to turn their artistic imaginings into real-world manifestations, they flee with Sandie to an island off the Scottish coast. There their paternal grandfather, Renard, a powerful Guardian, can offer some protection and explanations of the Animare and Guardian attributes and responsibilities. However, no one explains what happened to Malcolm or what is in the satchel Sandie keeps with her. After she disappears and Renard is severely injured, the siblings use their powers to animate their way out of dangerous encounters. Aided by a deaf teenager with lip-reading ability and technological know-how, they thwart those who want to use the twins to open the door to Hollow Earth, a place where all evil creatures are trapped for eternity. A parallel story set in the Middle Ages reveals how an Animare monk illuminating manuscripts saved the island's inhabitants from Viking invaders. Both past and present victories over dark forces rely on the intervention of a peryton, a fantastical creature. At the conclusion, readers can pause for breath from the plot's heart-pounding pace. Added to the elements of history and myth are references to paintings by artists such as Van Gogh and descriptions of the island. These topics should supply readers with plenty to explore while they wait eagerly for the next installment.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankatoα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Twins Matt and Em can achieve unbelievable realism in their art, animating objects, creatures, or people of their own creation into the real world. But their talent places them in danger from ancient forces set on containing their power to unleash the deadly inhabitants of Hollow Earth. Whisked from London to their grandfather’s home at an old monastery in Scotland for protection, they learn their mother is also an Animare, and their estranged father was her Guardian. Here they meet teenage Zach, a deaf Guardian in training with whom Em can communicate telepathically. (Matt, meanwhile, somehow learns sign language within a few days.) When their grandfather is hospitalized and their mother goes missing, the teens must work together to harness their powers to save those close to them and preserve their freedom. Though the pace lags a bit in the middle stretch, this contemporary fantasy is full of intriguing detail, drama, danger, and excitement. A British television adaption and a sequel are in the works from this brother-sister writing team. Grades 5-8. --Heather Booth