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Grade 4–7—Lonely Josephine Russing, 12, is ignored by her father and is an outcast at school. One day she follows a strange mute boy into her toolshed and falls through a vortex into an orphan asylum near the medieval-like town of Gulm, where the boy, Fargus, and his brash friend Ida will soon be sacrificed to a boy-tyrant named the Master, who has ruled for decades with two minion beasts, the Brothers, who feed by siphoning energy from children. The plucky threesome escape, evade the Brothers, and are betrayed by a couple who send Ida and Fargus to the Master. Josephine is rescued by the son of a dimensional/time travel scholar, and they must rescue Ida and Fargus and get Josephine and the children of Gulm home. This ambitious fairy-tale adventure takes on time travel, immortality, the importance of family, and, ultimately, the power of love, with many funny foibles, tragic histories, twists, and family secrets revealed. Josephine and Ida are spunky, realistic heroines, but the pacing is slowed by frequent detours into backstory and too many secondary characters. The plot doesn't always hang together, and the fractured narrative sometimes requires a push to get through. The ending, including revelations about Josephine's father, doesn't add up. This is a possibility for nondiscriminating fantasy readers, but it isn't likely to be wholly satisfying.—Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA
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Twelve-year-old Josephine, ignored by her father and scorned by classmates, is lonely until she meets Fargus, who appears (and disappears) from her garden shed. Josephine follows, and is magically transported to the Higgins Institute where Fargus and Ida are orphans. Threatened by beasts (the Brothers) who are controlled by a villain (the Master), the trio escapes, setting in motion a far-flung adventure. Cohagan’s first novel is a time-slip fantasy set in a world in which childhood is threatened yet infinitely prolonged in order to satisfy the Brothers’ hunger and the Master’s desire for total domination. The main characters are well developed, particularly the spunky and plain-spoken Ida, the laconic but loyal Fargus, and Josephine, whose journey uncovers hidden strengths and helps her to understand her enigmatic father. Although the story is wrapped up a little too neatly, Fargus’ secret will especially intrigue. Share with fans of Mary Downing Hahn’s Time for Andrew (1994) for another look at solving family problems through time travel. Grades 4-6. --Kay WeismanSee all Editorial Reviews
I was enthralled from the first page. Carolyn creates an engaging and unique story that's hard to put down. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
Fun book written in a style that is easy to follow and does not get in the way of the narrativePublished 8 months ago by lark mason
Read this book for Book Club, definitely need to use your imagination :)Published 11 months ago by ACP
I found the story line contrived - weak foreshadowing and limited character development. Plot events seem to come from nowhere and left me saying, "What!??!"Published 12 months ago by BARBARA W. VANAUSDALL
I read this book because of a recommendation by my 12 year old granddaughter. We had a lively discussion about the story...I enjoyed that. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Toadgram
I thought the book was very interesting especially all of the twists and turns in it I'm glad to read another book from this author!!Published 16 months ago by Amanda
I did enjoy it but found it to be a little fantasy and I usually don't care for those kind of plots. It was however kind of confusing in the characters.Published 17 months ago by Kindle Customer
a thrilling read for ages 10 and up, i think it had such a great plot and even though it was for slightly older readers it sent the clear mesage even younger readers likePublished 18 months ago by Paige Turner