I nominated this one for the Cybils myself without having read it, because I’d enjoyed Angie Sage’s previous books, and I figured that since it was published the day before the nominating deadline, no one would have a chance to read it and fall in love with it in time to nominate it. Pathfinder. Todhunter Moon Book 1. by Angie Sage. Katherine Tegen Books, 2014. This is a new series set several years later in the same world as Sage’s Septimus Heap series, which begins with Magyk and which my son and I listened to all the way through on audio. As the story opens, our heroine, Alice Todhunter Moon, is experiencing her Pathfinder Ceremony, where she and the other new 12-year-olds of their village will learn the secrets of their small, outcast society. They turn out to be big and very cool secrets, ones that Tod (as she prefers to be called) never guessed. Unfortunately, her nasty Aunt Mitza, who isn’t a Pathfinder, has overheard the secrets, putting the entire Pathfinder community in jeopardy. Soon the people that Tod loves are vanishing – terrifying white t-Rex type monsters are being seen around the village – and it’s up to Tod and her friend Oskar to save the day. Their path will take them to all the beloved characters from the previous book, while introducing new magykal things and creatures. Tod and her friends were characters that I very much enjoyed getting to know, as with the first series. But, as we also meet pretty much every significant character from the previous seven books, this one is a delight best enjoyed by those who have read the first series. Reading this let me ponder on the charm of these books. I had previously noticed the quirky world with a fusion of modern and medieval culture. This time I noticed that the story manages to feel comfortableeven as a lot of dark things happen. People are kidnapped and killed, the tension is high, but it’s balanced by cozy family or wizard tower scenes, beautiful lapis lazuli tunnels, and carefully drawn character studies. With a little something for lots of different kinds of fantasy fans, it’s no wonder this series has been a hit. It was also my first time reading Angie Sage in print – I’d always listened to the books. There’s a lot to be said for both formats, the audio bringing all the characters to life while the book includes lots of black and white drawings and pays attention to the details of book design. I am looking forward to reading more about Alice Todhunter Moon!
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