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Book Review

‘The Real Boy’ brings fantasy and magic back to the heart


bookCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Harriet Leitch

Walden Pond Press

Sept. 24, 2013

Hardcover $16.99


341 pp.

Anne Ursu’s “The Real Boy” is a work of magic and fantasy that revolves around numerous themes of friendship, self-esteem, self-reliance and societal over-dependence on life-saving magic. Oscar is the “hand” for Caleb, one of the few remaining magicians in the Barrow, which is located outside the shining city of Asteri. Oscar’s position is a lowly one, which consists of gathering and preparing the various herbs and flowers for use in the magic created in Caleb’s shop. Oscar is content to work in his small world, as he feels there is something missing in him that makes it difficult for him to function in the larger world.

All is well until the children in the shining city start to fall ill. Sickness is not allowed in the perfect world of that city. Meanwhile, a threatening presence is destroying the magical part of the forest and starting to destroy shops and lives in the Barrow. While Caleb is gone to the mainland, his apprentice is murdered, and Oscar must operate the shop. He and his friend Callie begin their attempts to save the children and prevent the monster from destroying their world.

Though it’s a book for the “middle reader,” ages 8-12, “The Real Boy” is a work of magic and fantasy that is just as engaging for older readers as well. CV                

Harriet Leitch retired to enjoy her grandchildren, garden, dogs, flute and to return to her love of books.

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