Fourteen-year-old Remmi Clearwater works as a drone in theCavern Lands of Penumbra. Her masters think that they have mind-drained awayher magical talents, but Remmi retains them, keeping them hidden as she plotsher escape. Penumbra is in Dreamearth, the fantastic parallel world toRealearth. Realearth visitors only enter Dreamearth in their dreams. Remmi'sability to create illusions--to disguise herself by temporarily taking on adifferent form--comes from the fact that she is a Halfling, born to a Dreamearthmother and a Realearth father. Such offspring are feared for theirunpredictable powers: 'They can manipulate the surroundings and even hurlpeople great distances with just a thought. They've even been known to crossover into Realearth and convince people they were blasted gods.' Remmi managesto flee Penumbra and put her magic to use elsewhere in the Dreamearth tourismindustry while still attempting to uncover the secret of her origins--and thefates of her parents. Despite people's opinions of Halflings, when a cataclysmthreatens Dreamearth, Remmi may be the only one who can save it. Robb tells herstory with a sense of fun and wonder that is so often missing from contemporaryfantasy. Her prose is elegantly simple, conjuring wondrous images: 'Notordinary clouds, as I'd often seen from the ground. These appeared to beanimals with thick, cottony fleeces. Like clouds, they faintly resembled avariety of creatures.' The author treats the plot seriously even as the worldin which it is set--with place names like the Archetypal Sea and the CollectiveUnconsciousness Forest--winks at the reader. The result is reminiscent of the Ozstories of L. Frank Baum: the reader becomes emotionally invested in thecharacters while still enjoying the frivolity of the setting. Standard tropesof the genre abound, but there is an originality to the premise and vision thatkeeps the story fresh. The ending, in particular, is unexpectedly affecting.
A riveting, old-fashioned fantasy tale with a resilientheroine." - Kirkus Reviews