Waxing Lyrical

The world is a complicated place, and it is amazing how multiple lives can work together to achieve a desirable outcome for all. Twelve-year-old Agnes has just had the shock of her life; a magical force has taken over her body without any warning, and she lives in a place that is highly fearful of magic. Luckily, members of the Actum Tempus guild are actively looking for Agnes since the magic she inherited makes her one of the coveted Twelve. Not everyone has Agnes’ best interests in mind, however, which means that she must be particularly careful of whom she trusts and how she moves through her surroundings. Together, Agnes and her companions work to navigate both their world and their inner strengths to discover where they truly wish to be.

This fantasy novel is the second in its series, though the first installment does not need to be read in order for this one to make sense. Humor is a constant thread throughout the book, inserting itself at opportune moments to bring levity to scenes which might otherwise be weighty. The humor within the story is smart and uses puns and turns of phrase to encourage readers to consider recognizable human idioms in a different way. One additional element is the frequent inclusion of the Gnomeopedia, which is a tome that helps both the characters and the reader understand specific references within the text. Footnotes are used throughout the book when certain words or phrases are mentioned, and it is the Gnomeopedia which defines them.

Though this story takes place in a fantasy world, it contains recognizable elements from human existence throughout. The desires for power, acceptance, and success are universal, and while the characters in this story approach them in a different context than might be expected, readers will empathize with their struggles and celebrate their victories. Much of this story is based around the journey each character is experiencing, and the perspective shifts frequently to give readers an understanding of the individual challenges and desires of these characters. This decision helps drive the plot forward and keeps readers engaged. Young adult readers with an interest in humorous fantasy adventures will find this to be a pleasant escape from the rigors of reality.

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