Author(s): Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Publication: Scholastic Press (May 1, 2011)
Description: A spectacular new middle-grade fantasy series from NYT bestselling authors Garth Nix and Sean Williams, in which two twins find that they must act as wards against a threatening evil.
The Evil has been trying to break into our dimension and dominate the earth for centuries. Unbeknownst to most of us, there are Wardens all over the globe, who protect humanity from the Evil that asserts itself at the Portals, which are the only places through which the Evil may pass into our world.
Jaide and Jack Shield don't know that the world is under attack. They don't know that their dad and their Grandma X, who they move in with, are Wardens, or that they themselves are troubletwisters, young Wardens just coming into their powers.
My Thoughts: Jaide and Jack start this story as pretty conventional pre-teens. Mom is a paramedic and Dad travels a lot. The twins are close but have different personalities and strengths. Jaide is more curious and adventurous. One day their dad comes home from a trip and the twins carry his suitcase to his room. The case falls, breaks open and, when the twins pick up an iron rod from the case, weird things happen culminating in the house exploding.
Needing a place to live, the twins and their mother move in with their father's mother. Their mother Susan is very reluctant and very disapproving of Grandma X. The twins don't know her at all well and and are both resentful of the move and wary of this new unknown grandmother. Things get worse when their mother has to go away to work very soon after they all arrive at Grandma X's strange home. The strange things begin immediately. The kids see a door to a cellar that seems to appear or disappear at random. Their grandmother has a house filled with strange objects. She also seems to be testing them and not answering any of their questions. The kids begin to think that their grandmother is a witch and plan to run away.
At the same time, odd things are happening to the twins. Jaide begins to feel light as air and is in danger of blowing away. Jack seems to be able to hide in shadows and his an affinity for the earth. He also begins to understand what the cat's are saying.
I enjoyed this story but felt that it went a bit long in setting the scene before the adventure parts began. I liked that the Evil was portrayed as attractive and seductive at first and that the grandmother was secretive and confusing to the children. The book was sort of scary. I can see more impressionable readers dreaming about the white-eyed rats and cockroaches that were The Evil's minions. They were really creepy! The world building was interesting. The idea of Wardens with a variety of powers was intriguing. I will be eager to see where later volumes of the series go.
Recommended for middle graders who want a scarier fantasy.
"Is that the only place we can't go?" Jaide asked.I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine program. You can purchase the hardcover or audiobook at Amazon. There doesn't seem to be an ebook at this time.
"Can't go?" said Grandma X. "There are places you should not go, certainly, as I have mentioned. Then there are other places to which you may not yet have found your way."
Jack gave Jaide a what? look, but his sister was only intrigued. That sounded to her like permission to explore, perhaps even a challenge.