School Library Journal
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Gr 5-8-What if just outside of Earth's known atmosphere there sat another layer that was actually a different dimension? Such is the premise for this novel. For as long as she can remember, orphan Hayley has lived sequestered away with her strict grandmother and mysteriously busy grandfather. A chance meeting on an outing lands her in big trouble and she finds herself shipped off to stay with relatives in the country. Here Hayley meets dozens of cousins who invite her to play a strange game. Its object is to go to different places in the mythosphere and retrieve various items while dodging mythological creatures. The plot thickens when she meets her father and learns that he and her mother are both trapped in the mythosphere as punishment for their illicit marriage. Hayley frees them and discovers that she, like all of the other characters in the story, is really a mythological figure who can live in either realm. Meanwhile, the frightening family patriarch, Uncle Jolyon, finds out about the game and comes after the girl, her parents, and her cousins. As he prepares to punish them all, Hayley pierces his chest with a star, causing him to transform into the planet Jupiter. While the beginning parallels The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the story takes off on its own midway through. There is a whole lot of plot for such a little novel, and readers unfamiliar with mythology won't fully appreciate it.-Nicki Clausen-Grace, Carillon Elementary School, Oviedo, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Educated at home and sheltered from the world, Hayley has grown up with her unloving grandmother and inaccessible grandfather. She is suddenly sent to stay with a more freewheeling, affectionate aunt in Ireland. There, her many cousins want nothing more than to play the Game, which sends each one off on a separate quest in the mythosphere, a magical yet easily accessible place peopled by characters from myths and legends. Events grow stranger and more dreamlike as Hayley, introduced as an orphan, discovers that her parents still live in the mythosphere and, perhaps, she can reunite with them there. The strength of this story is the finesse with which it draws readers into a realistic story that gradually becomes more and more fantastic. What appears at first to be reality becomes increasingly unreal until readers question their own assumptions as well as the narrative's reliability. Though teachers may find this short novel of interest for its references to Greek and Roman mythology, its main audience will be Jones' enthusiastic fans. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2006 Booklist
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Celestial intrigue and the nature of storytelling are just two of the strands woven together in Jones's (the Chrestomanci books) inventive novella. Sent from her grandparents' London home in disgrace, Hayley arrives in Ireland to stay with her aunts and cousins in their rambling castle home. The girl takes to her new life almost immediately, especially the thrilling game her cousins play, in which they venture into the mythosphere-a mysterious realm where they perform various tasks drawn from the worlds of fairytale, myth and legend. In the course of her own quests, Hayley discovers the truth about her own unearthly nature. She gets the chance to rescue her long-lost parents from dreadful fates, to which they've been condemned by domineering Uncle Jolyon, a power-hungry god thinly disguised as an unpleasant business man. Readers less familiar with classical mythology will be helped (and may well find their interest piqued) by a note at story's end that clearly links the original Greco-Roman characters with their modern-day avatars. A sparkling treat. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved