Friday, June 7, 2013

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: The Wizard of Dark Street by Shawn Thomas Odyssey


ABOUT THE BOOK

**A 2012 Edgar Award nominee** and **A 2011 Agatha Award Nominee**
Oona Crate was born to be the Wizard’s apprentice, but she has another destiny in mind.

Despite possessing the rare gift of natural magic, Oona wants to be a detective. Eager for a case to prove herself, she wants to show her uncle—the Wizard of Dark Street—that logic is as powerful as magic. But when someone attacks the Wizard, Oona must delve even deeper into the world of magic to discover who wanted her uncle dead.

Full of magic, odd characters, evil henchmen, and a street where nothing is normal, The Wizard of Dark Street will have you guessing until the very end.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR (see website


For eight mysterious years Shawn Thomas Odyssey labored extremely long hours in a 140-seat (and rumored to be haunted) professional theatre in Santa Barbara, California. There he worked as an actor, a musician, a stagehand, a set builder, a scenic painter, casting coordinator, and was the person they sent into the dank, dark underbelly of the theatre to find rusty old props and spider infested wigs.
Upon his perilous escape from this life of daring stagecraft, he began an equally death-defying career as a music composer for film, television, and video games, creating scores for HBO’s Deadwood, and the Activision/Dreamworks video game Kung Fu Panda.

As if these daunting careers were not enough, he sought out even more fearsome territory by writing all kinds of treacherous stories, plays, and books, and acquired a tireless obsession for research into a subject he likes to call “the Dark Street phenomenon.” He is married to a mysterious dancer whom he met while working at the haunted theatre, and along with a passion for collecting magic wands, he enjoys playing unusually dangerous music in a band whose name to this day remains a tightly held secret.
Shawn lives in California.

REVIEW

A determined heroine, check. A devastating loss, check. Mysterious happenings, check. Oona wants to be a detective, but after a close call with a guillotine, her uncle makes her promise to avoid 'deadly criminals.' And she tries hard to do so, but when her uncle disappears while choosing a new apprentice, Oona wonders if she made the right choice in giving up magic.  I found Oona a delightful character and really enjoyed reading about her. In spite of the tragedies in her life, she continues to fight to find her place on Dark Street.  Unlike many other child characters she prefers to avoid magic and gives up her role as apprentice to her uncle, the wizard of Dark Street.  But can she find her uncle without using magic? With the help of her walking encyclopedia of a pet, a raven, and her uncle's fairie servant, Oona sets out to rescue her uncle and solve the mystery of who attacked him and why. 

Perfect for middle graders who aren't quite ready for the more intense, difficult fantasies such as Harry Potter.  The author uses a light-hearted touch that makes the book easy to read even when the tragedies in Oona's past are brought up.  The book provides plenty of humorous moments along with an interesting mystery.  I found it fascinating to follow Oona's methodical but entertaining efforts to solve the mystery. But her strong spirit stands her in good stead when she faces the culprits. A fun story that I thoroughly enjoyed.


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