Featured Fiction, 10/28

The Blackhope Enigma is the first in a trilogy about three children in England, Blaise, Sunni, and her half-brother Dean, who accidentally enter a famous painting and uncover a world of adventure and danger.  Who they trust could mean the difference between life, death, and being stuck in the painting forever.

All Sunni wanted to do was work on her project for art class about the mysterious painter Fausto Corvo, who disappeared without a trace and was rumored to have created magic paintings.  Unfortunately her step-mother made her take her Dean with her.  And there is nothing more obnoxious than a bored younger brother in a museum when you’re trying to do actual work.  Especially when you’ve just discovered that someone else (Blaise) has picked the same topic! But that doesn’t mean Sunni wanted him to disappear after walking the labyrinth in the Mariner’s chamber. So off she goes behind him (and Blaise behind her).

What they discover once they reappear in the painting is beyond their wildest expectations.  But they aren’t the only ones with an interest in the art of Fausto Corvo.  And this painted world they find themselves in is far more dangerous than they could ever imagine.  Will they ever figure out how to return home? Will Dean ever figure out how much easier it would be if he’d think about someone besides himself for once?  And whatever happened to Corvo and his paintings? Read on and find out!

Flavin does some fantastic world-building here.  Paintings within paintings and worlds within worlds, they are all compelling.  Aimed at the intermediate/middle reader level, they are compelling enough that some teens will find it worthwhile despite the 12-year-old protagonists.  The fantastic adventure will probably appeal to younger readers as well, who may enjoy having it read to them.  Overall, a lovely book, I can’t wait to get started on the sequel, The Crimson Shard, which is also available at the Navarro library.