Cope delivers a fanciful adventure set in a magical community, first in a planned series. When 10-year-old Luke Rayburn's father rejoins the military and is sent overseas for a year, Luke and the rest of the family are sent to live with his grandparents in a hidden place called Countryside, where magic and mythical creatures are commonplace. As Luke adjusts to the new surroundings, long-dormant dryads emerge to speak to him, while mysterious strangers offer cryptic advice. It all leads to a search for the long-missing Book of the Wise, a coveted artifact that contains a prophecy related to the return of a great evil. As Luke becomes embroiled in the struggle between light and dark, he must tap into his own unknown potential. Cope conjures up an idyllic setting that feels a bit like an Americanized take on J.K. Rowling's wizarding world (albeit much more modern in attitude); the leisurely approach to the storytelling means the plot can lack urgency. Still, Cope imbues the novel's familiar elements with atmosphere and charm, making for an engaging read. Ages 6–12.
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