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The Wizard of Dark Street: An Oona Crate Mystery Hardcover – July 26, 2011
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*Starred Review* "Odyssey's lyrical descriptions ("It was a place as ancient as the wind, where candlestick trees replaced light posts, and street clocks told jokes as well as time") and consummate world-building result in a wonderfully fresh fantasy-detective story." -- Publishers Weekly
"This mystery has an intriguing cast of characters and classic detective elements. The concept of a magical street filled with quirky denizens will please readers, as will Oona's independent spirit. Boys and girls will appreciate the protagonist's magical Nancy Drew-type capers and her straightforward style." -- School Library Journal
About the Author
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Oona Crate is the Dark Street Wizard's apprentice and niece, but Oona doesn't want to be the Wizard. She doesn't even want to use magic anymore, not after the horrid accident. So she and her magical talking raven, Deacon (who's more of a flying encyclopedia than a regular old bird), snoop around Dark Street, trying to solve mysteries. When a very big mystery involving stolen dresses, missing cobblestones, and her uncle's apparent murder falls into her lap, Oona hopes she's not in over her head. She must use all of her detective's cunning to solve this mystery before she loses her uncle forever, and before the very fabric of Dark Street falls apart.
It's easy to compare magical young adult literature to Harry Potter, but The Wizard of Dark Street mimics the feel of Rowling's series, for lack of a more precise term. Odyssey's way of describing the setting and the characters is very visual and whimsical, and I had no trouble at all picturing the strange world of Dark Street.Read more ›
Also noticeable was the challenge in consistently conveying the time period. Every so often as you are reading along, something happens that rips you back to remembering that this story is supposed to take place over 100 years ago. Not that characters are using cell phones or anything, but much of it doesn't have the feel of the time period. It is almost as if the author throws in details about the date, or similar reminders, just so people don't forget when this story is taking place.
The other thing that was really apparent to me was the many times the author (intentionally or not) borrowed from other popular children's literature. I am sure it's very difficult to write a children's book, particularly with the popularity of other books in this genre, but it would be advantageous for the author to find an editor really familiar with children's literature who can read for ideas too closely related to another auhor's work, as well as content.
I am sure many children will enjoy the story of Oona, but I hope the author will improve on these areas in future books.
I'm not sure why I didn't this time, to be honest. Maybe it was my mood; don't you, every now and then, just crave something simple and uncomplicated, something that's not going to make you *feel* too much? Maybe a desire along those lines subconsciously pulled me in. Or, I suppose it could've been most excellent cover, too. Or, maybe I was just riding high on my discovery of Jonathan Stroud's Lockwood & Co. series and wanted to keep the winning streak going. Don't know.
And you know, the complaints others have about it? They're not wrong. The story is a bit thin. The bad guy is as stereotypical as Snidely Whiplash. The writing gets a little bit much at times. This book had more than one element that I'd normally find exasperating.
Except...I didn't. Get exasperated, I mean. I don't know whether it really was a mood swing or what, but when I went in NOT expecting fine literature, I freed myself to simply enjoy riding along on Oona's adventures. Sometimes, when you read a book or watch a movie that you liked as a kid, you find the story just doesn't hold up anymore.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Oona was impressive. She is a very interesting charature. Usually I can figure out the ending way before its conclusion but I had no idea what the ending would be. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Great game
very cute story. Took a bit to get into it, but I like the characters. Good read for 11-13 year olds.Published 4 months ago by DNR
Enjoyed the story. A good balance of mystery, magic, and growing up.Published 4 months ago by Philip
Oona Crate is a girl to watch. Natural magician, detective, lives on a street NYC doesn't know exists. Good times. Follow her adventures.Published 5 months ago by S. Sisi
Not really a lover of fantasy or supernatural books, but because this book was also listed under the genre "detective" I thought I'd take the plunge for something different... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Don Kidwell
This tale is meant for children. The style, the characters, the adventures all seemed to have children in mind as the target audience. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Patricia