“The Riddles of Epsilon” by Christine Morton-Shaw

17 Oct


I have to confess that I'm not a fantasy fan. At all. So when I say I really enjoyed "The Riddles of Epsilon," a fantasy-based tale, it means a lot!

Jess is an ordinary teenager — she gets in trouble at school, loves her dog Domino, and fights a lot with her artist mom and photographer dad. When the family moves to a large house on isolated Lume Island, Jess feels cut off from her old friends. While out exploring one day, she finds an old, abandoned cottage and, at its fence, a bucket buried beneath an arrow. From there, Jess embarks on a clue-filled adventure that brings her in contact with Epsilon, a mysterious being who can appear to her in a ghostly form and even chat with her on the Internet. Epsilon's riddles include old maps, poems, and songs, all of which are in a code that Jess must crack. The more Jess learns about Lume Island, the more she becomes entangled in the life of Sebastian Wren, a boy who lived in her house nearly a hundred years before. And, even stranger, when Jess finds Sebastian's century-old diary entries, she discovers that he has written about her!

The mystery involves an ancient curse, a being named Agapetos, the Lord of Inversion (Cimul), a woman named Yolande, sad songs, black swans, white eagles, a hidden tooth, a porpoise, the Eye of Miradel, a mean old hag, and, eventually, Jess' mom's bizarre, sleepwalking journeys across the island. The riddles are fun to decipher, and the author gives just enough clues for the reader along the way. What's particularly nice is Jess' evolution as a character from a sulky teen to one who has to put aside her very real fears to save her mother. This is a fast-paced, intelligent book, and Jess is such an authentic character that most readers will find themselves cheering her on. Recommended for both fantasy and non-fantasy fans.

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Posted by on October 17, 2006 in Uncategorized


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