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The Wooden Prince
Cover of The Wooden Prince
The Wooden Prince
Out of Abaton Series, Book 1
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The automa Pinocchio has always been duty-bound to serve in the floating palace of Venice's emperor. So when Pinocchio finds himself locked in a trunk and delivered to a new master—a wanted criminal and alchemist named Geppetto—he is curious about everything around him. But most curious is the way Pinocchio seems to be changing from a wooden servant into a living, human boy. Before Geppetto and Pinocchio can uncover the mystery surrounding the automa's transformation, Pinocchio is stolen away. Determined to find Geppetto again, Pinocchio begins a harrowing journey across the Empire, where danger in the form of half-beast outlaws and winged airmen abounds for a lost automa. Meanwhile, Princess Lazuli, the daughter of the ruler of a magical kingdom called Abaton, is also on a quest through the emperor's territory. Her father, Prester John, has been captured by the Venetian Empire, and Lazuli is desperate to rescue him. With the emperor's airmen closing in fast, Lazuli learns the only hope for saving her father—and her beloved home—lies in Pinocchio and Geppetto. In a masterful reimagining of Pinocchio, John Claude Bemis weaves an enchanting, thrilling adventure for middle-grade readers in the first installment in the Out of Abaton duology.
The automa Pinocchio has always been duty-bound to serve in the floating palace of Venice's emperor. So when Pinocchio finds himself locked in a trunk and delivered to a new master—a wanted criminal and alchemist named Geppetto—he is curious about everything around him. But most curious is the way Pinocchio seems to be changing from a wooden servant into a living, human boy. Before Geppetto and Pinocchio can uncover the mystery surrounding the automa's transformation, Pinocchio is stolen away. Determined to find Geppetto again, Pinocchio begins a harrowing journey across the Empire, where danger in the form of half-beast outlaws and winged airmen abounds for a lost automa. Meanwhile, Princess Lazuli, the daughter of the ruler of a magical kingdom called Abaton, is also on a quest through the emperor's territory. Her father, Prester John, has been captured by the Venetian Empire, and Lazuli is desperate to rescue him. With the emperor's airmen closing in fast, Lazuli learns the only hope for saving her father—and her beloved home—lies in Pinocchio and Geppetto. In a masterful reimagining of Pinocchio, John Claude Bemis weaves an enchanting, thrilling adventure for middle-grade readers in the first installment in the Out of Abaton duology.
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  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2016
    Pinocchio embarks on a journey to protect the magical island Abaton in Bemis' reimagining of this classic tale. The automata Pinocchio arrives at San Baldovino in a wooden box, weary from the journey and excited to meet his new master, Geppetto. Geppetto and the magical cricket Maestro notice that the new servant behaves differently. He thinks independently, makes facial expressions, and asks a lot of questions. Who is the mysterious stranger that sent him to Geppetto? Why is Geppetto on the run from the authorities? How will they save Abaton from the magic-hungry Venetian doge? As they journey to the near-mythical island of Abaton, Pinocchio discovers the hidden secrets within Abaton and himself. Bemis successfully renovates Pinocchio's story with layered worldbuilding. Venice's inhabitants, politics, and history with the island of Abaton form a solid foundation. The various fantastical creatures are explained and revealed at a steady pace, without overwhelming readers. The main characters develop with the story, each propelling the other forward in a natural rhythm. The last few chapters unfurl to a surprising yet satisfying finish, giving readers a real ending but leaving a taste of the adventures to come. Young readers will find this reimagined adventure an exhilarating and insightful journey, fresh despite its familiar bones. (Fantasy. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2016

    Gr 4-7-Flying lions, fiery salamanders, chimera, sylphs, gnomes, men with wings, and an enormous sea monster all play roles in this fantastical retelling of Pinocchio. Pinocchio, a wooden automaton, has been secretly sent by the immortal ruler of the magical kingdom of Abaton, Prester John, now imprisoned in the Venetian Empire, to serve the alchemist Geppetto Gazza. For failing to deliver the Ancientmost Pearl, source of immortality, Geppetto is on the run from the doge of Venice, who has murdered Geppetto's wife and son. Fleeing with Pinocchio and the musical cricket, Maestro, Geppetto realizes he must return to Venice to rescue Prester John, even as he and Pinocchio are recognizing that the automaton is turning into a real boy. But before they can get too far, Pinocchio is abducted and forced to perform in the Grand Marionette Theater, where his "seven league boots" literally raise him to stardom as the Magpie. With the help of the chimera Wiq, the sylph Princess Lazuli, and Mezmer, a warrior fox, he escapes and begins a perilous journey to rescue Geppetto and Prester John and to find a home in Abaton. Bemis has created an alternative world rich in fantastical detail with a touch of steampunk, filled it with multiple characters both human and otherwise, and devised a complex, nonstop action-filled plot that may challenge and strain credulity in all but the most devoted high fantasy readers. A glossary extends the story, and a sequel is planned. VERDICT A good choice for collections where high fantasy is popular.-Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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