Debut author Shaughnessy skillfully weaves Norse myth, the story of Baba Yaga, and Pru’s pain over her father’s death into an action-packed story full of heart. Pru is relatable and real as she learns to trust people again, not to mention brave as she confronts ancient villains. It’s a moving exploration of the ways people can close themselves off to magic in the world, as well as face grief scarier than any frost giant.
In a vein similar to ‘Percy Jackson,’ the ‘Imaginary Veterinary’ books, and even Men In Black, this strong debut is shaping up to be an intriguing series. Shaughnessy seamlessly blends Norse and Russian mythologies with the genres of mystery, fantasy, and adventure all the while hitting upon some deeper personal issues such as loss and self-awareness. The conflict is satisfyingly resolved by story’s end, giving it the feel of a stand-alone novel. With the current popularity of Norse characters in pop culture this is not only sure to be an easy sell, but also a book with substance—one to satisfy the cravings of more sophisticated readers looking to sink their teeth into a good folkloric story. A creative, fun mystery that combines a variety of genres and deeper themes.
School Library Journal
This debut title in a planned middle-grade series introduces readers to a feisty young sleuth, fantastical realms, and warring Viking gods . . . this story offers pleasing elements, including an authentic boy-girl friendship, fresh musings on the place of magic in childhood, and original, vividly depicted scenes (check out Mr. Fox's henhouse, a tiny shack with nearly infinite possibilities inside). Shaughnessy's imaginings show promise, and his puzzles and plot twists will absorb and intrigue younger readers, as they consider the book's central questions about truth, magic, and adventure.