Reviews for Bone Magician
Booklist Reviews 2008 September #2
This paraquel meaning it takes place in the same world, but follows a different thread to Higgins' excellent Black Book of Secrets (2007) drips with the same lightly fantastical, heavily Dickensian atmosphere. Young Pin Carpue works as a corpse watcher, standing guard in the morgue for three days to ensure that the deceased really are dead and not just sleeping. There, he encounters a bone magician and his pretty young assistant, who claim they can briefly animate the dead so that the living may ask them questions. All the while a madman killer roams the grimy streets, spreading fear among the populace. While the bone magician conceit might not be as clever a device as the secret pawnbroker from her first book, there is still no end of picaresque charms, creepy turns, and beguiling cast members (most hilariously the poetry-reciting dwarf who turns to potato-throwing when he discovers it's a more viable line of work). More stories from this unique world are likely on the way, though there's no telling in what direction they'll bend. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Alone after his father flees a murder charge, Pin Carpue falls in with some hucksters--a phrenologist, a potato-throwing dwarf, and a corpse-raiser. Coincidence and even more curious characters weave intrigue, as Pin survives an attack by the Silver Apple Killer and seeks to clear his father's name in this "paraquel" to The Black Book of Secrets. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 July #2
Loosely linked by references and cameos to The Black Book of Secrets (2007), this "paraquel" spins its wheels through the muck-encrusted streets of Urbs Umida, dropping both corpses and more Dickensian-style characters into the mix. Hired by an undertaker for eerie nighttime vigils, young Pin is amazed to see a cadaver supposedly reanimated by magician Benedict Pantagus and his herbalist assistant, Juno. When heavily contrived circumstances throw Pin and Juno together, Pin becomes as determined to discover her secrets as he is to clear the name of his vanished father, who is accused of murder. Meanwhile, journalist (and freak-show escapee) Deodonatus Snoad gleefully chronicles the crimes of the "Silver Apple Killer," who casts electrocuted victims into the evocatively named River Foedus, and the hideous Gluttonous Beast terrifies paying crowds at the bustling Nimble Finger tavern. Higgins introduces a large cast, proceeds to kill part of it off, then closes by freeing the Gluttonous Beast and setting Pin and Juno on the road out of town. Further episodes may bring some plot resolution--but don't bet on it. (Fantasy. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 January
Gr 6-10--Left to survive on his own in the pestilent and crime-ridden city of Urbs Umida after the disappearance of his father (a suspected murderer), Pin Carpue's trustworthy nature earns him employment as a corpse watcher, assuring his skittish employer that the dead are truly dead. But Pin's seemingly straightforward job becomes more complicated when he is drugged at his post and subsequently witnesses two cloaked figures raise the body in his care for a final communication with a loved one. A series of coincidences leads Pin to seek lodging in the same boarding house occupied by these mysterious individuals--a bone magician named Benedict Pantagus and his troubled assistant, Juno--who also present their corpse-raising spectacle at the city's most notorious tavern. Lonely Pin is soon drawn to Juno and the secrets of her herbs. He strikes a deal with her that they will leave the abominable city together if he is able to divine the secret of bone magic. In tantalizing subplots involving a series of murders, a caged Beast, a dashing phrenologist, a potato-throwing dwarf, and a hideous journalist, Higgins explores the question of spectacle and what constitutes an honest wage. The cast of unusual characters and their interrelated stories carry readers along swiftly to an ending that begs for a sequel. Budding fans of Poe or Dickens will be entranced by this atmospheric novel.--Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI [Page 104]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2009 February
Higgins returns to the world of her first novel, The Black Book of Secrets (Feiwel and Friends/MacMillan, 2007/VOYA February 2008), in this "paraquel" to Ludlow Fitch's story. Pin Carpue is a young lad working for a local mortician as a corpse watcher--someone has to make sure the bodies are really dead. While working, Pin sees the Bone Magician and his young assistant raise a corpse from the dead. What kind of magic is this? Pin befriends Juno, the herbalist expert who helps the Bone Magician, and the two of them meet various mysterious Dickensian characters. Deodonatus Snood, a writer for the local newspaper, believes The Silver Apple Killer is Pin's father, who ran away after murdering his own brother-in-law. But Pin believes that his father is innocent and is not a serial killerWith a faux leather look, ragged edges, and soft burgundy font, this fantasy novel is very appealing to readers. Chapters jump around in time some, so low-level readers might be confused at first. Readers encounter Pin's diary, some local newspaper articles, and even signs from the town of Urbs Umida in the novel. Higgins is a mastermind at creating a creepy world where children still maintain some sense of hope. Pin is surrounded by unappealing adults, but there are always a few to keep Pin fed and loved. Juno and Pin have a complex friendship and the mystery isn't as simple as it seems. The Eyeball Collector is expected in May 2009.--Sarah Hill 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.