Sunday, April 20, 2014


Kontis, Alethea.  Hero.  Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt Brace  2013  282p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-544-05677-0  elem/ms     Fantasy      VG-BN      

This is a delightful story of Saturday, a girl who thinks she is just too normal when all of her siblings (each named for a day of the week) have magical talents.  “All of the other fey-blessed siblings had been given name-day gifts that complemented their magical powers, which they’d inherited from a grandfather who’d been the Fairy Queen’s consort for a time.”  Saturday’s gift was an ax, which she thought was a ridiculous gift for a child.  However, the ax allowed her to help her father with cutting down trees, and that same ax cut down a giant-bearing beanstalk and became a sword.

When Mama’s sister
is dying, preparations are made for Mama to visit her.  Trix, Saturday’s foundling brother, puts a sleeping spell on the family’s food so that he can get there first.  Saturday’s sword keeps her from feeling the full effects and allows her to race to the tower where she pricks her finger on her name-day mirror.  In frustration she throws it out the window and thus changes the geographical landscape of the world.

Readers will be enthralled as Saturday starts her journey on her sister Monday’s ship, only to be snatched up by a giant bird and taken to the White Mountains, which are higher than time itself.  An evil witch makes life miserable for Peregrine (a boy who is under a spell that only Saturday can fix when she finds her powers) and Betwixt (a shape shifter). Life becomes much easier after a young woodcutter steals the witch’s eyes when he escapes.  Saturday has to deal with an evil witch who puts her through impossible chores and devilish activities.  But the friendship and trust Saturday shares with her two friends give the readers a fast-paced and heart-pumping ending that they will enjoy.

Summary: Saturday comes from a large family in which her siblings all have magical talents.  She thinks her life is boring.  All she has is a fey-blessed sword.  But everything changes when she breaks a mirror and creates an ocean in her backyard.  She sets off to find her brother, only to be kidnapped and enslaved.         

Adventure-Fiction , Magic-Fiction                           --Linda McNeil

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