Now on to today's MMGM. For other marvelous middle grade posts, see Shannon Messenger's blog.
The Trilogy of Two written and illustrated by Juman Malouf (Putnam's, November 10, 2015, for ages 10 and up, 416 pages)
Synopsis (from the publisher): Twelve-year-old identical twins Sonja and Charlotte are musical prodigies with extraordinary powers. Born on All-Hallows-Eve, the girls could play music before they could walk. They were found one night by Tatty, the Tattooed Lady of the circus, in a pail on her doorstep with only a note and a heart-shaped locket. They’ve been with Tatty ever since, roaming the Outskirts in the circus caravans, moving from place to place.
But lately, curious things happen when they play their instruments. During one of their performances, the girls accidentally levitate their entire audience, drawing too much unwanted attention. Soon, ominous Enforcers come after them, and Charlotte and Sonja must embark on a perilous journey through enchanted lands in hopes of unlocking the secrets of their mysterious past.
Why I recommend it: Wow! This is a highly imaginative fantasy, with impressive world building by Malouf. It's set in a world that could be Earth in a far future (or an alternate past) when million-mile-high cities have overrun the planet. The author herself described it as a "post-apocalyptic, Dickensian world" in this article from The Daily Beast.
The twins are forced to travel to the Seven Edens, worlds they previously knew only as stories represented by the tattoos completely covering Tatty's skin. Luckily, they're accompanied by an intrepid band of new friends. So it's a classic journey story, a la Lord of the Rings or The Wizard of Oz, but with quite a few dark and startling twists. There is some violence, so I would not recommend this for younger middle grade readers. It's also quite lengthy, so give this to kids who love the longer Harry Potter books, or The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Favorite line: Charlotte ran through the gate and zigzagged among the broken-down railcars. She tried to remember pieces of music she used to play, but they all blended together in a tangle of notes. (from p. 71)
Bonus: Fantastically-detailed drawings by the author are the perfect accompaniment to this unusual story. Before she turned to writing and illustrating children's books, Juman Malouf was the set designer and costume designer for the film The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Readers, please note: After today, I'm taking a blogging break to catch up on my reading and writing, and also get ready for the holidays. I wish you all the happiest of holidays, no matter which holiday(s) you celebrate. Here's a photo of my TBR pile, all spread out. Hoping to get to these (and possibly more) before January. Wish me luck!
What an intriguing story line this new book presents. I can't wait to get a copy and enjoy it for myself. Twins and magical music are a great combination. Enjoy your time away as you have some fantastic reading lined up.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Greg. Happy Thanksgiving!Delete
This sounds really good and, although I don't really read fantasy I might give this one a try. Hope you have lovely holidays with lots of reading time. Thanks for telling me about this book.Delete
The great world building makes this sound really good. Have a good break and Happy Holidays!ReplyDelete
It's most impressive, Natalie. Thank you and happy holidays to you too.Delete
Sounds interesting! My daughter was born on Halloween, so I'm a sucker for characters that share her birthday. :)ReplyDelete
What a great to-read pile! Even though Echo is long, it was a super quick, BEAUTIFUL read. I think you'll love it. Nooks and Crannies is a new favorite, too!
I plan to read Nooks and Crannies next, Faith. And can you believe I've had Echo sitting on the table with all my TBR books since April? I think I was pushing it off because it looks so long. I'll get to it soon, I promise.Delete
Everything sounds interesting about this book, from the title to the characters to the worldbuilding. The combination of futuristic (slightly dystopian, it sounds like?) world with a circus is pretty unique!ReplyDelete
It's a harsh futuristic world, but at the same time, DIckensian. So yes, it's a kind of dystopian novel, but definitely unique.Delete
This sounds like a fascinating book. Interesting world! Thanks so much for sharing your review and wishing you the best of luck with your TBR pile!ReplyDelete
This sounds pretty cool! :)ReplyDelete
You would enjoy this, Erik.Delete
Twin musical prodigies caught my attention before I even read further! Thanks for featuring this one. Another one to look for!ReplyDelete
Yes, always hoping to add to everyone's TBR lists, Andrea. LOL.Delete
Wow! This is a very unusual story about twins. I want to read it! Great review.ReplyDelete
Will have to look for the Barron movie! Those books have been out for a long time. Not sure about The Trilogy of Two. The cover looks like one my students would not pick up. I'll have to see if my public library has it.ReplyDelete
I did wonder if kids would choose it on their own, Karen. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
The Trilogy of Two sounds like an intriguing tale! I love the idea of music playing such a role in the story. I love, love, love the Merlin series by T. A. Barron. I knew about the movie, but it's nice to hear how it is progressing.ReplyDelete
Hope you have wonderful holidays, and I'll look forward to your posts after your break.
PS: Looking at your collection of TBRs, I read Nooks & Crannies. I think you will like it a lot!ReplyDelete
I've since read it, Elizabeth, and you're right! I'll be featuring it in January, with a guest post by Jessica Lawson!Delete
This sounds really fun! I love the combination of the title and cover. I will add it to my TBR list :).ReplyDelete