Any book that’s compared to Harry Potter and Nancy Drew is one that I will *obviously* be reading immediately. In my humble opinion, no book can come close to the Harry Potter series, but it’s nice to read things in that genre in any case. I have to say, both The Apothecary and its sequel, The Apprentices, did not disappoint.
It’s 1952. Janie Scott has to move from Hollywood, CA to London, England, with her parents. She’s not thrilled at the prospect. She soon forgets her homesickness when she stumbles upon a mysterious apothecary, his handsome son Benjamin, and a murder. She’s not the only one in danger; an nuclear bomb is being put to the test. The apothecary, along with the oddest assortment of companions, had been working against Russian spies to stop the bomb. Now, it’s up to Janie, Benjamin, and their pal Pip to save not just the apothecary, but the world. But who can they trust?
I love kid sleuths. It’s always fun to try and puzzle out the pieces along with them. It’s even better when the mystery includes magic. Maile Meloy makes chemistry sound exciting when there’s tinctures and mixes that can turn humans invisible or into birds. What’s better is that every magical change comes with rules and limitations–so nothing is ever ‘easy’ and it always ends with tension!
An aspect that I really noted while reading both books was that while they’re for middle-grade readers, the vocabulary used was terrific. There were words that even I wasn’t entirely sure of, which made for a great learning experience. The Apothecary was awarded the E.B. White Read Aloud Award and rightly so. It’s a great balance of fun, exciting, and instructive. As you progress through The Apothecary and get to The Apprentices, there are aspects that are not for the weak-stomached. That being said, don’t be deterred because it’s nothing but an adventure! If there’s a third book, I cannot wait for it to come out! Sadly, The Apprentices won’t be out till June 2013 so that’ll be a bit of a wait. All the better for reading The Apothecary twice 😉