I read this book on my Nook about a month ago and absolutely adored the story. It was one of the rare books with delightful characters, an uplifting story, and a happy ending. I don’t even remember where I heard about this book but I’m thrilled I found it.
The book is set in an alternate reality where magic exists. Unlike the world of Harry Potter magical youth aren’t granted entrance to delightful schools–they must register as magical beings and submit to being tracked by the government. Ick. Magical youth without parents are shuttled off to orphanages to live with other magical beings. The first character we meet in the story is Linus Baker who is essentially a social worker for magical youth. Linus is very good at his job, cares about the children, and is a stickler for the rules. And the rules are immense. HIs organization’s leaders (Extremely Upper Management) wrote a giant tome called Rules and Regulations. If often seems like Linus has memorized all the rules. One day, Extremely Upper Management informs him he’s being sent to a far away island for a month to investigate a mysterious orphanage. Linus is given no information about his investigation. Only when he arrives does he discover anything about the children–one of them is possibly one of the most dangerous beings in the world. He’s six years old. Upon discovering the truth about this child, Linus promptly faints. We then meet this terrifying child and the other unique magical children on the island, the master of the orphanage (Arthur Parnassus), and a sprite named Zoe who helps care for the children.
The writing and the dialogue are hilarious. Linus often says “Oh dear!” Linus is initially terrified the children are going to kill him, but his relationship with the children, Zoe, Arthur, and himself changes during the course of the book. After enjoying the book so much I decided I had to listen to the audiobook, mostly because I wanted to hear how the terrifying children sound when they say things like “I am evil incarnate! I am the blight upon the skin of this world. And I will bring it to its knees.”
This is one of the most delightful audiobooks I’ve ever listened to. The narrator, Daniel Henning, is an actor and amazing with voices. He gives each character the perfect voice–especially the children. Linus and Arthur are equally delightful and absolutely perfect. Especially Linus when he says “oh dear.”
I usually listen to audiobooks when I’m driving and I laughed continually while listening to this book. The author weaves in hilarious dialogue into a delightful story that does have something to say about how we treat those who are different.