Magic, Mystery & Another Very Strange Adventure
Review posted June 20, 2013.
Sterling Children's Books, 2012. Originally published in Great Britain in 2012 as Big Change for Stuart. 352 pages.
Horten's Incredible Illusions is a follow-up to Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms, and you should definitely read the first book first. I can say with confidence that if you liked the first book, you will also enjoy the second.
In the second book, Stuart Horten has found his uncle's magic tricks, but now he must figure out a puzzle that involves an adventure with each piece of magical equipment. The puzzle leads to his uncle's will, which he needs to prove the tricks belong to him.
The puzzle format works well, and this is simply a fun adventure tale for kids. Here's a sample from when Stuart and April first get to look over the tricks:
They looked at each other. "Once you start using magic, it's very hard to stop," quoted April, her voice breathy. "It's another puzzle, isn't it? Another adventure?"
Stuart closed his hand over the star, and felt the six prongs dig into his skin. His heart was suddenly thumping; he felt both excited and slightly frightened, and he knew from April's expression that she felt the same. The hunt for Great-Uncle Tony's workshop had been a wild and exciting chase, sprinkled with danger and magic, and now another quest was beckoning. But for what? What was the prize this time?
He felt his hand tingle, and he knew that the object he was holding was so full of magic that over fifty years it had bleached the paper it was wrapped in; he could feel its power.