Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: R. J. Anderson
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Isaveth’s world is turned upside down when her father is wrongfully arrested for murder. Isaveth and her new friend, Quiz, hunt for the real killer to prove her father’s innocence. As they find and follow clues, their evidence points to several untouchable political leaders. These heads-of-state and Quiz’s hidden identity, almost derails Isaveth’s investigation. But when the two friends give each other another chance, their healed relationship helps them solve the case and free Isaveth’s father.
Anderson expertly mixes suspense, sleuthing, and sorcery for a successful start to her Uncommon Magic series. Readers are introduced to a complex world where a magical hierarchy reigns: the rich have access to all magic to make their lives prosperous and comfortable while the poor must fabricate second-rate magic through common materials. This division during an economic depression makes life incredibly difficult for lower-class families, like Isaveth’s. But when Isaveth’s father is arrested, people think he committed murder as a statement against their social structure. Anderson’s story can be enjoyed from many different levels: her world building, relationships between characters, and insightful narration. A great read for ages 12 and up. The next book in the Uncommon Magic series is A Little Taste of Poison.