I am the aunt who gives my nieces and nephews books as gifts. I decided several years ago that books would be my go-to gifts for birthdays and ever since I’ve enjoyed finding and sharing books with my two nieces and three nephews. They are a variety of ages which requires a variety of selections and, as they get older, they are all excellent readers on their own. This is, of course, a good thing, but it can make it hard to find a book that I’m sure they haven’t read. For my recently turned 12-year-old niece I searched out new releases and found this fantasy story from Emily J. Taylor. I gave it a quick read myself to make sure it would work and ended up quite enjoying the story.
Jani and Zosa are struggling to get by and when the Hotel Magnifique comes to town it seems like the answer to all their dreams. In a world where magic is dangerous and outlawed, only within the walls of the Hotel Magnifique – a hotel that travels around the world – is it allowed, kept in bounds by the world’s most powerful suminaire. Zosa is quickly hired by the hotel due to her singing ability but Jani needs to sneak in a little more stealthily. She finds an unexpected ally in the doorman, Bel, but quickly finds that the hotel is not exactly what she expected and the contract she has signed may be far more dangerous than she ever imagined.
This is a fun and creative book, perfectly geared for readers about 12-16, I’d say. There are plenty of books about magic out there but Taylor adds some new twists and the setting of the magical hotel also gives the magic a new dimension. What kept me reading though was the characters and the fact that the central relationship, what drives Jani forward, is the one between the two sisters. Jani is a fiercely loyal older sister, striving to keep Zosa safe and with her, no matter what. The surrounding characters – many of them employees of the hotel – are all well and simply written. They’re easy to picture and to keep apart as I read them on the page. Several of them are given some depth as Taylor unfolds their backstories and motivations.
Lots to enjoy here and I would look for Taylor’s work again in the future.