Lisa Nocita's Reviews > The Inquisitor’s Apprentice

The Inquisitor’s Apprentice by Chris Moriarty
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's review
Jun 26, 12

bookshelves: tag-2012-13, ya-2011, young-adult
Recommended for: Maybe adult fans of The Amazing Adventures of Kavilier and Clay. ??
Read from June 25 to 26, 2012, read count: 1

The Inquisitor's Apprentice would appear to be an alternate history of NYC circa the late 1890's/early 1900's wherein NYC is controlled by all varieties of magic/witchcraft with the robber barons (Morgan, Astor, Vanderbilt, etc. --though the names are slightly changed) vying to eradicate real magic so they can replace it with their own version of industrialized "magic,"; in other words, machines. Thirteen-year-old Sasha Kessler can "see" magic so he is apprenticed to a top level police inquisitor who investigates magical crimes. Sasha shares his apprenticeship with Lily Astral, a thirteen-year-old debutante who wants to be more than a socialite. When it appears that Thomas Edison is the target of a dbbyuk, a malevolent possessing spirit that was summoned to assasinate him, Inquisitor Wolf and his team are called to investigate. But Wolf's investigation leads Sasha to some very startling conclusions about himself and his family.

The premise sounds way more interesting than the novel is in the end. Unfortunately, I was goodly confused for a majority of the story, due in large part undoubtedly with my own unfamiliarity with Judaism and Jewish practices. Not to mention my decided lack of expertise in turn of the century NYC. So, while I understood to whom in many instances the author was referencing in pointing an accusatory finger at the robber barons, I was puzzled that he used the real names of others like Houdini and Teddy Roosevelt. Why did he do that? Is there a greater significance that I missed? Is there a deeper theme, a greater moral? Is it an allegory about immigration and being "American?" I felt like that was a big theme throughout the novel but only cursorily addressed in the dénouement. Also, I would have to say the characters are a bit flat and not fully realized. I didn't feel any particular affinity for any of them, even when Sasha was in mortal danger. It leaves off as though it will be a series but I won't rush out for the next one. I'll be surprised if this one gets much circulation in my library. LN

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