4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A new look at Wonderland,
This review is from: School of the Ages: Level Three's Dream (School of the Ages Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Simon, the fourteen year old narrator, and his friends at the School of the Ages start a new year and are asked to help a new student known as Level Three. Level Three is both autistic and a very powerful magician, but there is more to his background that makes him seriously dangerous. The friends don't find the answer until they travel through the Wonderland world inside Level Three's head. I recommend this book for both the 12+ young adult and adult audiences
The writing style of the story seems so true to how a fourteen year old would think as Simon and friends make those initial steps on their way to adulthood, making decisions about life, friendship, values and sexuality. Simon is also tormented by his own traumatic experiences -- the death of someone dear and being a witness to a destructive event. That is one of the unique characteristics of this book -- it's grounding in reality. The magic the students are learning at the School of the Ages, set outside New York City, comes from Kabbalah, tarot, astrology, medium-ship and divination as used throughout the centuries. Students also must practice meditation and visualization and develop their own techniques. Without it being too heavily laid on, the reader can learn much about magic and history from the facts that pepper this story. For example, that Isaac Newton was an alchemist.
As in real life, there is no clear division in this story between good and evil, no vanquishing the ultimate evil to prevent the destruction of all things good. The characters all seem to have their positive qualities as well as their flaws which is very satisfying to me. Even battling Level Three is done for the purpose of helping him and former foes join together for the task. I loved the diversity of the characters in terms of personalities and backgrounds. This is definitely a multicultural setting and not in a stereotypical way.
Traveling through Level Three's version of Lewis Carroll's classics was fun and not as I expected. Yes, all the characters from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" are there, but twisted by Level Three's perception and his own psychological issues. I particularly enjoyed the parodies of the songs and poems. Posner's ability to not just parody Lewis Carroll, but to do it to fit the personality and motives of Level Three is amazing. I particularly enjoyed "The Walrus and the Carpenter".
It all comes to a satisfying conclusion with promises of more adventures to come. As Alice said, "Curiouser and curiouser!"
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 25, 2012 4:14:16 AM PST
Matthew Posner says:
Isaac Newton WAS an alchemist. I didn't make that up. Just saying. -- Matt
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2012 6:44:43 AM PST
Cynthia Echterling says:
I know! That's one of the things about this book that I liked -- the inclusion of so many facts that add to the reality of the story. Also you mention that Goethe's Faust was based on a real person. From what I understand, that real person told everyone he was an alchemist and could turn lead into gold. Everyone was afraid of him and left him alone, but he actually made his money smuggling Jews out of Spain during the Inquisition. I don't remember his name though.
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