Liesl has been locked in the attic for many months now, ever since her father passed away and she fell into the care of her heartless stepmother. It is a quiet and lonely existence, so when a ghost named Po shows up one day, she welcomes the company. Across town, a young boy named Will routinely carries out errands for his employer, an Alchemist with his sights on creating the most powerful magic in all the land. When Will makes a terrible mistake during a delivery one night, the consequences set he and Liesl off on separate paths away from their jailers. And yet before they know it, their journeys come together for a common purpose.
What fun! The characters of Liesl, Po, Will, and the Guard with Lefty were all so endearing and sweet. The action started right from the start and didn't let up until the very end. There is a lot of sadness in this book, with Liesl and Will living fairly hard and miserable lives, but I still think many readers will be able to identify with the sense of longing and adventure. The villains were simple in their motivations, wanting to destroy the children for their own fame and riches. Oliver has a beautiful, lyrical, story-telling style or writing that would lend itself well to being read out loud. And the end scene is completely worth the trouble for these poor kids (and ghosts)! This is the third book by Lauren Oliver and her first for middle grade readers. If I wasn't already a huge fan of her before, I certainly am now!
Overall Rating: 5 Stars