Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy - Karen Foxlee

"You have failed in everything you set out to do," she said when they were alone, just the Marvelous Boy and her. "I do not know why the wizards chose you, such a poor, sorry thing. Why did they think you could defeat me?" She did not pause for his answer. "And this charm that is bestowed on you so that I cannot harm you—it is nothing but an irritation. When the charm has worn off, I will run you through with my sword. What are years to me? I shall build a clock to count the seconds and minutes and days and years, and when they are passed, its chimes will sound, yes, and I will harm you greatly."

Thus begins Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy...

The Snow Queen has been waiting over 300 years for the opportunity to ensnare the world in freezing cold and once and for all get rid of the only threat left to her tyrannical overthrow of the world—the Marvelous Boy. 

When Ophelia's father, a world-renowned sword expert, is hired to put together an exhibit for Miss Kaminski, the dazzlingly beautiful curator of the museum, Ophelia's life takes a dramatic turn. While exploring the museum one day, she comes across a hidden door in the mural of room 303; locked inside the small room is the Marvelous Boy. Suddenly Ophelia is part of a much larger story than she ever thought possible, and she must look beyond her scientific way of thinking to save the world as she knows it.

Set against a mysterious and rich museum background, Karen Foxlee's story of magic, mystery, and thrilling chases is a must-read. With the constant ticking of the Wintertide Clock counting down to certain doom, this novel moves swiftly and keeps readers hooked from page to page until the marvelous conclusion (pun intended).

Each character is well-rounded with the exception of the Snow Queen. I felt, in some respects, like I would have appreciated a bit more of her own backstory to give me an idea of what has caused her to become so cold (again, pun intended) and devious. Alice, though flat for the majority of the first part, comes out of her shell in the second and third parts and manages to garner my sympathy before the end. I also loved the museum as a living setting—Ophelia is constantly losing her way, not because of her inability to read the museum map, but because of the tendency for the museum to grow and change around her.

Young readers who are fans of magic and fantasy will find this title enjoyable and compelling. And of course, adults just might get sucked in, too!

Highly Recommended

(Note: This review is from an Advanced Reading Copy - Out January 28, 2014)

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