When the improbable road leaves Avery and Zib in the land of Air and at the mercy of the Queen of Swords, escape without becoming monsters may be impossible. But with the aid of the Queen’s son, the unpredictable Jack Daw, they may emerge with enough of their humanity to someday make it home. Their journey is not yet over; the dangers are no less great.
In this third chapter of the A. Deborah Baker books, I found the story memorable and fantastic. The story sets up the narrative in fairy tale style but immediately jumps into action with our main characters. Each step of the way, we learn more about both Avery and Zib as we follow their adventures. The best part of the writing is the real depth to the challenges that face the children and that neither is left untouched by the darkness and dangers they face. Even as you hope they escape unscathed, you know the truth. That childhood and growing up are about facing risks and changing.
These stories’ strengths are in the themes of childhood lost that are explored in the narrative. We see it over and over, not just with Avery and Zib but also with the Crow Girl and Niamh. We see it again with Jack Daw. Even as he helps the children, Jack Daw’s humanity is presented as flawed and the question becomes, will Avery and Zib escape the improbable road and make it home with their humanity intact or will they become monsters in the process? Just like in real life, the choices we make impact who we will become, for good or bad.
If you love fairy tales, adventure, and realistic themes, I highly recommend this novel, especially if you’ve read the first two. If you love A. Deborah Baker or her pseudonym Seanan McGuire, you will love every aspect of this novel. It is memorable and fantastic.
Rating: 5 out of 5 hearts.