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Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell

OHMYGOODNESS!  How much did I LOVE this book!  I usually hate when a book has a blurb on the front proclaiming it "*famous book title* meets *famous book title*" but in this case it turne out to be so true.  The Twistrose Key had a blurb saying it was a mash of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass.  So accurate!

Eleven-year-old Lin has had a rough couple of months.  Her family has moved to the city from their farm, and then Lin's pet rat Rufus passes away.  On a cold, wet night, Lin goes exploring in her cellar and finds a magical key, addressed to her.  Next thing she knows, she's in Sylver, just as Lucy passed through the wardrobe to reach Narnia.  This is where I got hooked:  only a couple pages in and I was rearranging my life to make extra reading time!  You see, Sylver is where especially well-loved pets or tame wild animals go after death.  They become larger and more dextrous and gain speech and they live in a little town.  How AWESOME is that premise?!  To think that our beloved pets never truly, completely die, but instead go on to a magical place?  Lin has been "summoned" to Sylver to help solve a mystery.  There's one semi-human (human in shape & form, but very magical) family that lives in Sylver and helps maintain the magic.  Unfortunately, they have disappeared.  If Lin can't solve this mystery and find them in just a few hours, Sylver will start to unravel as the magic unwinds.

Ya'll, this upper middle-grades story was so good that I'm trying to convince the hubby (usually only reads adult nonfiction) to try it!  The writing and pacing were excellent.  I never found myself bored or skimming.  In fact, this book took me a little longer to read than usual because I would find myself lingering over a particularly well-written passage.  It was hard to remember that C.S. Lewis himself didn't write it!  I so enjoyed "walking" around Sylver with Lin and Rufus, and meeting other animals.  When the task grew dangerous, I found myself getting pretty nervous.

The characters themselves definitely added to the book.  The friendship between Lin and Rufus is so sweet.  Neither is perfect, but they complement each other well.  When Lin gets too impatient and impulsive, Rufus is there to force her to slow down and think.  And when Rufus encounters a fear, Lin is there to help encourage him along.  The characters also did most of the heavy-lifting of world building.  Because this is Lin's first (and probably only) visit to Sylver, Rufus continues to explain things to her as they go about town searching for the missing people.  This also clues the reader in on the social mores and infrastructure layout of Sylver.  Super helpful, and meant there were no long paragraphs or sections describing scenery.

The mystery itself was really well done too.  Lin continually uncovers clues throughout the evening, but you'll be guessing until the end!  There's no way anyone could predict that ending.  Don't worry; no spoilers.  Just saying that the clues were doled out often enough to keep me very, very engaged, but not quite enough clues were given for the reader to solve the mystery before Lin does.  I love "group solves" in mystery books!

To sum up:  excellent writing, characters you'll love, gorgeous setting.  I'm adding Tone Almhjell to my "auto-buy" list!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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4 People left their mark' :

  1. Sounds great! Thanks for the review Marie!

  2. Just went on line and placed a hold on this at my local library. Your review sold me!

  3. This sounds amazing! I can't wait to read it!

  4. The blurb brought me in, but your review sealed the deal. Need to put this on my TBR. Thanks! :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews