Author: Erica Kirov
Published: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in May, 2009
Number of pages: 231
“Technenie reki i vremeni ne ostanovit. Time stands still for no one. Time stands still for no one. Time stands still for no one. He repeated the words over and over again. The Eternal Hourglass stopped time…” (p. 204)
When Nick Rostove, ready to enjoy his skateboard and summer vacation, pizza and cheeseburgers, is suddenly whisked away to the Winter Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on his thirteenth birthday, he does not know anything about Magickeepers and their enemies, Shadowkeepers. But, he is soon to find out more than he wants to know.
Blessed, or not, with the gift of seeing into the past, Nicholai (as Nick is called by his newly discovered Russian family) also possesses a key with strange lettering. This key once belonged to his mother, and it is a key that Rasputin, leader of the Shadowmakers, desperately wants.
In this magical tale, we find jewel encrusted eggs, the Cyrillic alphabet, caviar and borsch, and even such famous Russian characters as Anastasia and Rasputin. These things give a glorious twist to the fairy tale genre, making a story which is both old in the time honored tradition of pursuing good not evil, and new in the exploration of Russian history and culture. I found it a delightful escape into imagination and intrigue.
While living with his new found family, Nick learns skills that are sure to delight the young readers this book is intended for. He is able to gaze into crystal balls and receive images of pictures which illuminate the past. He is able to produce fire, and he’s learning to both throw it and control it. He is taught to ride a majestic horse, Maslow, which thrills the audience watching him perform in the Winter Palace, where he also is seen transforming Sascha, the white tiger, into Isabella, his cousin.
Yet, at the close of the novel the Grand Duchess, Anastasia, reminds him that he has more power than two of his male cousins put together.
“Come closer. I have a secret.”
Nick leaned in. The Grand Duchess leaned close to him, and in a ghostly whisper said, “You are stronger than both of them. You just need to find your destiny.” (p.255)
I, too, am anxious to see Nick’s destiny revealed in the books to come from the Magickeepers series.
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