The thrilling finale of Wexler's exciting fantasy adventure series featuring a strong heroine who grows from reader to leader in a world where magic is contained and controlled through books. 5 1/2 x 8 5/16.
When Alice defeated her uncle Geryon and declared war on the totalitarian ways of the Old Readers, she knew she would have a hard fight ahead. What she didn't anticipate was the ruthlessness of the Old Reader-who can control magic and enter worlds through books. All the creatures she promised to liberate and protect are being threatened, and slowly all of Alice's defenses are being worn away. So when Ending (the giant cat-like creature who guards the magical labyrinth in Geryon's library) hints at a dangerous final solution, Alice jumps at the chance, no matter the cost to her life. She and her friends-a fire sprite, Ashes the cat, and the other apprentice Readers she met during her previous adventures-go on a quest to free the one creature possibly strong enough to overturn the Old Readers once and for all.
But before it's all over, Alice will be betrayed, her true identity will be revealed, and she'll have to be willing to give up the person she loves the most.
This is beautifully written, classic, bold historical fantasy-brave, bloody, action-packed and adventurous-with a girl at the center.
Django Wexler is a self-proclaimed computer/fantasy/sci-fi geek. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in creative writing and computer science, worked in artificial intelligence research and as a programmer/writer for Microsoft, and is now a full-time fantasy writer. Django is the author of The Shadow Campaigns, an epic fantasy series for adults published by Roc (an imprint of Penguin), and The Forbidden Library, a classic fantasy series for young readers published by Kathy Dawson Books (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group).
"Three cheers for a female protagonist who demonstrates strong leadership skills without losing the prospect of love or friendship."--Kirkus Praise for The Palace of Glass "Readers will appreciate following an astute heroine whose ultimate ambition . . . [is] to remake the entire cruel and corrupt world around her. A busy continuing saga filled with fantastical drama and feisty finagling."--Kirkus
"The world of the Forbidden Library continues to deepen, adding new magical creatures, new relationships, and new adversaries to an already solid fantasy franchise founded on an appealing heroine, a deft plot, and gripping adventure sequences."--Horn Book
"Centers on serious lessons about power and corruption but doesn't skimp on fast and furious battles or small moments of humor. Alice remains a spirited, kind heroine with a noble goal and interesting, loyal characters to support her. More adventures are to come in this enjoyable fantasy series."--Booklist Online
Praise for The Mad Apprentice "Wexler is an able builder of magical worlds and creatures, with labyrinths, an enchanted library, and a feisty, swashbuckling heroine at the center. A story rich in action and allegory--fantasy fans will want to hang on for what comes next."--Kirkus
"Full of action and adventure, this tale will enthrall fans of the first novel."--School Library Journal
"With an original concept, a brave and spirited heroine, and tantalizing incipient relationships among the apprentices (including Alice's hot-and-cold friendship with Isaac, who tricked her in the first volume), Wexler's series grows stronger by the book."--Horn Book
Praise for The Forbidden Library "Working in the grand tradition of children's fantasy, Wexler's off to a promising start."--Kirkus
"A charming, adventuresome fantasy from a promising new author."--Booklist
"Reminiscent of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and Neil Gaiman's Coraline."--School Library Journal
Praise for The Palace of Glass : "Readers will appreciate following an astute heroine whose ultimate ambition...[is] to remake the entire cruel and corrupt world around her. A busy continuing saga filled with fantastical drama and feisty finagling."-- Kirkus "The world of the Forbidden Library continues to deepen, adding new magical creatures, new relationships, and new adversaries to an already solid fantasy franchise founded on an appealing heroine, a deft plot, and gripping adventure sequences."-- Horn Book "This third in the Forbidden Library series centers on serious lessons about power and corruption but doesn't skimp on fast and furious battles or small moments of humor. Alice remains a spirited, kind heroine with a noble goal and interesting, loyal characters to support her. More adventures are to come in this enjoyable fantasy series."-- Booklist Online Praise for The Mad Apprentice : "Wexler is an able builder of magical worlds and creatures, with labyrinths, an enchanted library, and a feisty, swashbuckling heroine at the center. A story rich in action and allegory--fantasy fans will want to hang on for what comes next."-- Kirkus "Full of action and adventure, this tale will enthrall fans of the first novel."-- School Library Journal "With an original concept, a brave and spirited heroine, and tantalizing incipient relationships among the apprentices (including Alice's hot-and-cold friendship with Isaac, who tricked her in the first volume), Wexler's series grows stronger by the book."-- Horn Book Praise for The Forbidden Library : "Working in the grand tradition of children's fantasy, Wexler's off to a promising start."-- Kirkus "A charming, adventuresome fantasy from a promising new author."-- Booklist "Reminiscent of Cornelia Funke's
In this thrilling conclusion to Alice's adventures in The Forbidden Library she must lead her band of friends, magical beings, and creatures against the collected might of the Old Readers-perfect for fans of Story Thieves , Inkheart , Coraline , and Harry Potter.
CHAPTER ONE: MIDNIGHT SNACK In the darkness behind the mirror, something stirred. It was an eye, cat-slitted and silver. Though it hung alone in the emptiness, Alice knew it was enormous, as big across as she was tall. It focused on her, the great pupil narrowing, and in its gaze she felt something inscrutable and alien. And yet she felt no fear. Instead, staring back into the abyss, she felt . . . warmth. Kindness. Love. A voice in her mind, strange and familiar all at once. Alice. She sat bolt upright in bed, sheets tangled around her feet. Her cheeks were slick with sweat, and her heart pounded. She was in the room that her master Geryon had given her when she''d first arrived on his estate, a dingy third-floor bedroom fit for a servant. It felt like home, now, if anywhere did. She knew every crack of the peeling paint, the smell of old wood and freshly laundered sheets, and the endless creaks and groans of the ancient building. Two stuffed rabbits, all that she''d been allowed to carry away from her father''s old house, sat on the windowsill like sentinels. She didn''t have to stay in this room if she didn''t want to. Geryon was right where Alice had put him--bound inside The Infinite Prison, lost in an endless sea of mirror images. There was no one to tell Alice where to sleep, where to go, what to do. It should have been freeing, but she felt more hemmed in than ever. Instead of Geryon''s orders restraining her, now an iron cage of responsibility squeezed her ever more tightly. There was no chance of getting back to sleep. Alice waited until her heart slowed, then swung out of bed and stretched her aching legs. A surprisingly loud growl from her stomach reminded her that she''d missed dinner, again. If I''m going to be awake, I might as well get something to eat. It was still hours before dawn, but in Geryon''s house the kitchen never closed. Alice shuffled into her slippers and opened the door to her room, carefully. The house, which had felt empty for so long, now had several dozen inhabitants. The rooms immediately around hers were taken by the other apprentices, the friends who''d thrown in their lot with her after facing the Ouroborean. She passed their doors quietly: Isaac, her oldest friend, who''d once stolen the Dragon''s book for his master. Dex, inveterate optimist, who''d fought beside her in Esau''s fortress. Jen and Michael, younger than Alice, devoted to each other, the former fierce and the latter cautious. Down the corridors were others, magical creatures from Geryon''s library who''d begged her for shelter. As the labyrinthine Ending, the library''s guardian, fought back the attacks of the old Readers, the once-peaceful library had become a war zone. Some of the inhabitants had retreated to their books, but many creatures in the library didn''t have that option because their own worlds had become hostile, and had nowhere else to go. These refugees--sprites, the mushroom-people called Enoki, and stranger things--had taken up residence in the empty bedrooms of Geryon''s manor house. The kitchen was built on the same massive scale as the rest of the house, with acres of long wooden tables and ovens big enough to roast an ox. It was normally empty, since all the work was done by efficient, invisible servants who moved only when you turned your back. Tonight, though, Alice wasn''t the only nocturnal visitor. Isaac sat at one of the long tables, in front of a jug of milk and a plate piled high with pastries. "Knock-knock," Alice said, coming through the open doorway. Isaac looked up with exactly the guilty expression she''d pictured, which made her grin. "Oh," he said. "It''s you." "Who were you expecting?" "I honestly don''t know." Isaac sighed. "Half the time I still wake up expecting to find my master--my former master looking down at me." Alice''s grin faded. He looked tired and pale, worn out, the same things she saw in her own face when she looked in the mirror. Wearing only a nightshirt and trousers, without his voluminous trench coat, he seemed smaller than usual, more vulnerable. His brown hair was growing out, flopping in unruly curls down the back of his neck. "Are you going to eat all of those," she said, "or can you spare a few?" "Please." He pushed the plate toward her. "I can''t seem to get this place to understand that I just want a snack." Alice sat beside him. Another cup had appeared on the table the moment she looked away, and a fresh jug of ice-cold milk. She poured, and took a pastry. They were flaky and warm, filled with raspberry jam. If Geryon had died, all of this--everything that made the house work , the hidden creatures who fixed the food and did the laundry--would have ground to a halt, like a watch with its mainspring removed. She''d seen that in Esau''s fortress, the gradual unraveling of a Reader''s domain after their power vanished. By trapping her old master alive, she''d kept the house running. She''d also hoped to conceal what had happened from the other old Readers. That part, unfortunately, hadn''t worked. "You look like you''ve had a long day," Alice said as Isaac drained his cup and reached for another pastry. "You might say that." Isaac yawned. "Michael and I were working with the swamp sprites on our plan to evacuate the house in an emergency." "It''s not going well?" "They don''t seem to be able to grasp the concept of moving in a straight line," Isaac said. "And they kept turning the ground underneath me to mud, which isn''t as funny the fourth or fifth time." Alice winced. "Sorry." "I thought they were getting it by the end," Isaac said, staring at the pastry. "But I just . . . I don''t know." "What is it?" "Is it really going to make a difference?" He looked pained, as though the words were a betrayal. "It''s all well and good to make plans to keep people safe, but in the end what is it going to actually accomplish? It won''t keep the old Readers from coming to squash us flat. It won''t--" He broke off, shaking his head, and looked up at Alice. "I''m sorry. I''m just tired." Alice''s stomach churned. The problem, of course, was that Isaac was right. A month ago, she''d trapped Geryon in The Infinite Prison , hoping the old Readers wouldn''t find out. But they had. Alarmed, they had unleashed the Ouroborean, an ancient weapon, in an attempt to destroy her. With the help of her friends, she''d defeated it, and afterward, she''d told the apprentices and magical creatures that she intended to stand up to the old Readers, to pull down their whole poisonous order once and for all. Only days later, the attacks had begun. The other labyrinthine forced open some portals into the library to bring the creatures of the old Readers through. Since then, defending against these attacks had occupied all of Alice''s attention. The refugees from the library had to be protected, and she''d organized them to help as much they were able. Ending did her best, but the other labyrinthine assaulted her constantly, and she had to conserve her strength. The task of hunting down attackers --beast-like monsters, for the most part, driven into a rage by cruel magic--fell to Alice and her friends. She''d worked hard to make sure everyone knew what to do when an assault came, and so far they''d had only a few injuries among the library creatures. But it couldn''t last. It''s not like the old Readers are going to run out of monsters. They would keep coming until Ending''s strength failed, and something really nasty managed to get through, or until Alice and her little squad of defenders were worn down and tired out. We''re not going to win. She''d hoped . . . I hoped for a lot of things. More time, first and foremost. There has to be a way to take the fight to them, but it''s no good if we can barely protect ourselves. Some of her thoughts must have shown on her face, because Isaac put his hand on the table between them, stretching toward her. "Hey," he said. "It''ll be okay. We''re holding our own." Alice put her hand on his, and their fingers interlocked. She made herself smile. "I know." "I didn''t mean to complain," Isaac said. "It''s--" There was a thump from the doorway. They both looked up, and Alice''s mental grasp automatically went to the threads of magic at the back of her mind, which linked her to her bound creatures. The Swarm for toughness, Spike for strength, and-- "Soranna!" she said, letting the power slip away. The girl was leaning heavily on the door frame. When she pushed away from it and took a stumbling step forward, Alice could see she was filthy, her rough clothes caked with dirt and sweat. A bandage was wound around her thigh, and one side of her shirt was brown and crusty with dried blood. Alice was vaulting the table before she knew it, sweeping past the stunned Isaac and hurrying to the girl''s side. As Alice took hold of her arm, all the strength seemed to go out of Soranna. Alice half carried her to one of the benches, and Soranna leaned back against the table, eyes closed and breathing hard. Soranna was another of the apprentices who''d been with Alice in Esau''s fortress and the fight against his labyrinthine, Torment. Alice hadn''t seen her since--she hadn''t been among the group that had come after Geryon''s imprisonment, and Alice hadn''t figured out how to contact her. Now she was here, and hurt badly. "Soranna, what happened?" "I''ll get . . . someone," Isaac said, lurching to his feet. "Dex," Alice said. "No, g
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