On a gray, rainy day in England, 12-year-old Natalie crosses a sodden supermarket parking lot carrying a bag of empty beer bottles for the recycling bin. Her attention is caught by a colorful piece of crumpled metallic paper in a puddle. Curious, she picks it up. From this prosaic opening bursts a story that whirls off on wings of fantasy as the bit of litter turns out to be a spell planted by Hawk (the sinister leader of a band of outlaw spellmages) as bait to trap Natalie into becoming the essential 13th member of their spellclave. Halloween approaches, and, during the 24 hours of the Opening, the outlaws plan an assault on the society of true mages who live within a gigantic spelltree in Unicorn Wood. Four teenagers--Natalie, her stepbrother, Tim, her best friend, Jo, and Hawk's fearful son, Merlin--are catapulted into the conflicts of this magical world that lies just outside of ordinary reality. At the same time, while they deal with kidnapping, black magic, unicorns, animal familiars, and the ultimate chemical weapon, they work out more ordinary problems with parents and each other. Hardcore fantasy fans will enjoy the complexities of this intricate and fast-moving tale. (Ages 10 to 14).|
Source: Patty Campbell, Amazon.com.