From the moment Horace F. Andrews sees the sign from the bus – literally a sign with his name on it – everything in his normal little life changes. An encounter with the House of Answers, a magically hidden warehouse full of mysterious objects and even stranger people, only leads to more questions. These people think he’s special – a Keeper of an incredible gift – although scientifically-minded Horace isn’t so sure he really believes in that kind of thing. But then a confrontation with an impossibly tall, thin, creepy and undoubtedly menacing man makes him think twice…
Horace must now quickly begin to unravel the mysteries of this hidden world and his new gift, as he finds himself immersed in a battle between ancient forces, where the bad guys don’t pull any punches, even the good guys have their flaws, and where friendship, loyalty and trust turn out to be the greatest powers of all.
The Box and the Dragonfly was everything I love about middle grade fiction and more. It sucked me in and made me didn’t want to stop reading. I was instantly transformed back to the likes of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and other fantasies like that while reading but it was also very unique in its storyline.
Horace is a strange protagonist and not very relatable to me, however I’ve never been a 12 year old boy so that might have had something to do with it. At first this made the book a little more difficult to read but the mystery surrounding the shop he finds and the strange tall man he keeps stumbling across made me carry on reading. Once Horace meets Chloe the story really begins and I definitely warmed to him more and related to Chloe a lot. The friendship they form is the best. Friendship is another feature that really comes through in middle grade fiction and I loved that there was such an understanding built between these two characters that sometimes other characters didn’t really get.
The Box and The Dragonfly is full of mystery and a fair bit of magic. I don’t want to say too much about the storyline because I don’t want to give anything away. However the artefacts that Horace and the other characters have fascinated me. I loved watching Horace learn what his box does and was as excited as he was when he worked it out. The place The Keepers lived was magical too and I wanted to explore that so much more than Horace got to in this book.
The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and I know there are 3 more in the series. I definitely want to grab them but I will say that I think the later ones are harder to get hold of. I can find the second book on most of the usual sites but 3 and 4 seem to only be available on Amazon. I think that’s the hard thing about series’ sometimes when you don’t read them until a number of years after they were published. I think the publishing runs of the 3rd and 4th book were possibly a lot smaller so less independents got them. It is definitely worth reading the books from the first one though if you love middle grade fantasy. You will not be disappointed!
The Box and The Dragonfly is the first of The Keepers Series and was published in March 2015 by Hot Key Books. My copy was supplied to me at the time of publishing by the publishers. All opinions are my own.
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