When your curiosity overpowers all good sense, you will need courage to face the trouble you create for yourself. Gabriel doesn’t have that courage, but maybe he will learn it. He will certainly have opportunity. M. L. Little’s The Book of Secrets imagines fantasy that hovers in a sci-fi setting, playing with magic in industrialized societies and alternate dimensions. Through the eyes of its young heroes, the novel attains a clear view of how love can tangle with pain, and how a family’s support can entwine with its dysfunction. The strokes of world-building are simple, colorful, and bold, although the climax feels unfocused—abruptly bringing back minor characters while remaining disconnected from crisis resolution. Despite this, The Book of Secrets is vibrant fantasy, with an imagination as powerful as its heart.
Best for: Fans of science fantasy and the Wingfeather Saga.
Discern: Several people die violent deaths and one major battle; danger and injuries to children; one character is said to have had a mental breakdown and engaged in acts of self-harm; family tensions hint at a troubling, though unexplained, relationship between a mother and her young daughter.