Ysabeau S. Wilce
Ages 12 and up
Harcourt, 2007, 978-0-15-205433-5
Flora Fyrdraaca has been told many times that she should never use the Elevator in her ancestral home, Crackpot Hall. The Hall – which has eleven thousand rooms - has fallen on hard times and the Elevator is not to be trusted unless Mama is there to keep it in line. But today Flora is running late so she decides to use the elevator to get to her room quickly. The result is disastrous and she finds herself in a large, nay enormous, library. Furthermore she discovers that the library is inhabited by the family Butler who was banished by Flora’s mama before Flora was born. The Butler, Valefor Fyrdraaca, is in a pitiable state and being a soft hearted person Flora decides to give him some of her “magickal essence” for he is terribly hungry. In return Valefor agrees to help Flora out around the house.
From that point on a strange relationship between the almost fourteen year old girl and the magical denizen begins to grow. Flora and her best friend Udo decide that they will do what they can to free Valefor from his banishment and in the process they find themselves getting caught up in the most extraordinary adventure imaginable. This adventure brings them in contact with a captured pirate, a powerful warlord, a very magical butler of another house, Flora’s father Poppy, her mother General Fyrdraaca, weird bird people who rip people’s hearts out, and much more. In addition Flora has to face the very real possibility that she may lose the most precious thing in the whole world – herself.
In this often bizarre and yet strangely compelling fantasy novel a young woman discovers some very important things about herself and her family. She learns to stand up for herself and what she believes in, and at the same time she grows to appreciate that things as not always as they seem. Life is often complicated and it takes hard work and time to sort things out.
Set in a world where magic is a part of everyday life and where the roles of the sexes are sometimes reversed, this is a cleverly written and often amusing tale which fans of fantasy stories will find hard to resist.
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