Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-04-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Having grown up in a world in which magic is used for everything—from whipping up breakfast to traveling (via flying carpet)—12-year-old Abby is distraught after she is declared an “ord,” entirely devoid of magic. Most families either cast out ord children or sell them to conniving adventurers, but, in an inversion of the magical boarding school trope, Abby is enrolled in Rothermere, a school where ords learn how to survive without magic. There, Abby meets friends and finds that, despite widespread prejudice against them, there are advantages to being an ord (“Ords can’t do magic,” explains an instructor. “And magic can’t really do ords either”). The first middle-grade novel from Rubino-Bradway (co-author of Lady Vernon and Her Daughter, for adults) takes its time getting underway; when, in the second half, treasure hunters kidnap Abby and other students, the plot picks up. On the whole, it’s a fairly mild adventure with dashes of humor (characters include Barbarian Mike and King Steve); Abby, as a truly “normal” heroine, is easy to identify with. Unfinished business suggests a sequel is in store. Ages 8–12. Agent: Lauren Galit, LKG Agency. (May)