Jackie's Reviews > The Book Without Words: A Fable of Medieval Magic

The Book Without Words by Avi
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's review
Nov 29, 10

bookshelves: historical, alchemy, animals-birds, children-fiction, creepy, magic-magicians, fantasy
Read from November 27 to 29, 2010

A creepy, yet kid-friendly story about an evil (sort-of) alchemist, Thorston, his scullery maid, 13-year-old Sybil, and a talking raven named Odo. The trio lives in a dilapidated, boarded-up stone house while Thorston mixes and measures all sorts of foul, sinister concoctions. Sybil, although she fetches his ingredients in the town, has no idea what he uses them for. One day she meets Brother Wilfrid who tells her that Thurston's magic comes from the The Book Without Words which Thorston stole from him. Brother Wilfrid knows that the magic, while powerful, carries with it dire consequences for its results and he tells Sybil he must have the book back so he can bury it and prevent any catastrophic outcomes. Sybil is frightened and runs back to Thorston. Meanwhile, Damien, a pretentious apprentice to the town apothecary Mistress Weebly, beckons at Thorston's door with the intention of spying for his mistress. Alfric, a gentle, obedient orphan is also at Thorston's house to bidding for others...he has been sent by the town reeve to find the 'gold' that Thorston's alchemy has made. Alfric has the characteristic one needs to 'read' the The Book Without Words,...green eyes and the desire to do so. Little do any of them know, though, that Thorston has more sinister plans...he concocts his brew to steal Sybil's and Odo's life for his own benefit...that is to live forever.

A dark and foreboding fable about wanting something so badly that dire consequences are ignored. Sybil, Alfric, and Odo work together to undo Thorston's evil and return the book to its rightful owner.

Used for Hiawatha School Book Talk- December, 2010.

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