- Twilight Hauntings by Angie Sage
2020 [368p] (Enchanter's Child)
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-287514-3 $16.99
Paper ed. ISBN 978-0-06-301072-7 $9.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-287516-7 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-6
Eleven-year-old foster child Alex illegally uses Enchanted cards in a country where Enchanters are outlawed, so when her bitter foster sister rats her out to law enforcement, Alex runs away and must fend for herself. Meanwhile, Alex's foster mother is in trouble with the law for harboring an Enchanter, and Alex has to save her; Alex's biological father, formerly the king's appointed Enchanter, searches for his daughter; and Twilight Hauntings, creatures created to eviscerate Enchanters, shadow Alex every step of the way. Alex is determined to seek out the missing piece of a spell that would rid the world of the Twilight Hauntings forever, but she'll face obstacles from her foster sister, the Hauntings, and the king himself. Sage deftly crafts an endearing and familiar fantasy story, expertly characterizing distinct, extreme personalities (for example, Alex's father, Hagos RavenStarr, is an overdramatic, self-pitying source of comedy). Other appeals include the avoidance of genre stereotypes (Hagos gives baby Alex away in the prologue, so readers are spared a cheesy parental reveal), age-appropriate horror (one of the Enchanter-hunting creatures comes out only at night, making for creepy, suspenseful scenes), and wry humor through dramatic irony (a scene switches between characters congratulating themselves on being clever enough not to fall for the Twilight Haunting faking a victim, while the Haunting is outside the door attacking Hagos). Fantasy fans will highly anticipate the next steps in Alex's journey in the projected sequel of the Enchanter's Child duology.