Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Elsa is a scripted being. She was called into existence as subtext by a scriptologist, a maker of worlds who made Veldana, the place where she lives. Elsa's mother is a scripted being who was trained to be a scriptologist herself. She continues the work of creating Veldana, and she has trained Elsa to do the same. When her mother gets kidnapped, however, Elsa's life is thrown into chaos. She follows the trail of the kidnapping back to Earth, where she finds refuge with a secret society of pazzaerallone-people with gifts in scriptology, mechanics, alchemy, or all three. With their help, she eludes assassins, tracks down her mother, and stages a rescue that is successful in every way except for one. This entry is clearly the first in a series about a team of teenagers who have to save the world from greedy, wrongheaded adults. Set at the end of the 19th century, the novel samples historical figures the way a hip-hop album might sample a classic riff: it opens a window to European history, lets in fresh air, and sends facts flying. An author's note sets the historical record straight. In the meantime, Clare spins an entertaining adventure tale that also addresses colonialism, inclusion, and musings on the nature of being. VERDICT This novel is a source of serious fun; a must-have choice for YA collections.-Sheri Reda, Wilmette Public Library, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Elsa's home world of Veldana was written into existence by her mother, Jumi. Jumi is a scriptologist, capable of creating new worlds through words alone. When Jumi is kidnapped, Elsa must put her own scriptology skills to work, traveling to a steampunk-style version of Victorian Italy, where she meets a group of pazzerellone, young people with an aptitude for one of three disciplines: mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology. Elsa, a rare polymath skilled in all three, tries to keep a low profile as she searches for her mother. Despite herself, however, she's drawn into friendship with three pazzerellones, including Leo, a mechanic who has a tragic family past of his own. Elsa and Leo are linked in more ways than they know, and the mystery of Jumi's disappearance is more tangled than Elsa ever would have guessed. Clare's debut is built upon an intriguing premise, and a measured beginning soon gives way to a more action-packed second half. A solid series starter featuring a competent, flawed heroine that's built for sf fans.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2018 Booklist