Credit: Courtesy

The best fiction transports the reader to another time and place, and this series opener will whisk you away to a magical 19th-century Paris, where Séverin, a hotelier out for revenge assembles an unlikely group of thieves with unusual talents to pull off a heist for a powerful magical object. The rich cast of characters includes Enrique, a Filipino historian living in exile and fighting for independence from Spain; Laila, a world-class dancer looking for a lost book with the power to save her life; Zofia, a prickly but talented engineer who works in magic; and Tristan, a botanist with supernatural powers. 

With a complex plot, witty banter, an enchanting fantasy world, and a thoughtful exploration of real-world issues of race, class, colonialism, this book is entertaining for all readers looking for an escape, young adult or not.

Molly Wetta is the Library Services Manager of the Santa Barbara Public Library.

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