I’ll start this off with the official summary:
For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room.
Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world’s secrets, keepers of powerful relics from lost civilizations, and jailers to unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world for millennia.
And that’s all you will find out about this book, either from the dust jacket or the official website.
Oh man. Oh man. This book is so freaking AWESOME. I actually had to put it down halfway through because I couldn’t keep up.
Okay, first, Cyrus and Antigone get inducted into this Fablehaven-Hogwarts place called Ashtown, which is its own hidden city/prison for people who hunt “immortals” and “trans-mortals” and lock them up. Seeing as you can’t kill something that won’t die.
Nobody actually has magic, but they have magical artifacts galore. Like that dragon’s tooth on the cover. There’s also magical creatures, but the magical creatures are all mixed up with genetic enhancements and gene splicing that creates its own kind of monsters. That’s what the bad guy does.
The bad guy’s name is Dr. Phoenix/Mr. Ashes. He’s terrifying. And that’s all I’m going to tell you about him.
Half the book, the heroes get mixed up with a dude with mechanical legs named Big Ben Sterling. Sound familiar? He’s ripped straight from Treasure Island, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that becomes important later in the series.
Except this is the first book and there IS no more series right now. I got to the end, went looking for the next book, and screeched when I realized there were no more.
Anyway. This book is a fan-freaking-tastic read. Do yourself a favor and pick it up. Then wait in eager anticipation for N.D. Wilson’s next book. Maybe I should go read his other series, the Books of the 100 Cupboards …