The Bootlace Magician

Dial. Oct. 2019. 416p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525552635.
Gr 4-6–This sequel is as magical, fun, warm-spirited, and full of fabulously imagined offbeat magicians as the first book. Eleven-year-old Micah is desperate to prove to his new home that he fits in, that he will master his own burgeoning string-magic abilities, and that he is a good person despite his kinship with the evil Bird Woman. Unfortunately, catching up with beloved characters takes such priority that plot and pacing suffer: the book’s entire first half follows Micah’s visits to magician after magician. Although the seeds for a larger plot are planted early, they don’t actually blossom into a story until the last quarter of the book. Still, the ending is exciting, the world-building is top-notch, and while Micah is a bit of a worrywart goody-two-shoes, he’s a sympathetic and interesting enough protagonist to follow. Micah is assumed white, while other characters are varied. There is also a strong underlying current of female empowerment pushing its way up in this male-dominant world.
VERDICT Lovers of Circus Mirandus will enjoy visiting this world again, but this title doesn’t stand alone.

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