Rose Corcoran, author
Mad bombers, matchmaking, magic spells—what's a butler to do? Meet Bostwick von Dogsbody, a sardonic door-to-door magician, and his white rabbit, Emmaline, who just happens to be a cursed human princess. The two are traveling through the goblin-run continent of Ataxia in search of the legendary Domino of Nonpareil—a mask that allows the wearer to become anything he desires—in order to return Emmaline to normal. Their journey has finally led them to Styx Castle, where they meet Millicent, a human maid who wound up in Styx due to mysterious (and embarrassing) circumstances, and Delilah, a goblin queen with a taste for the chaotic. But Bostwick’s theft of the Domino does not go unnoticed. To avoid a harsher punishment, he agrees to be Delilah’s butler for a hundred years. Before he can escape the queen’s clutches, he’ll have to face mad bombers, an all-bugbear police force, romantic schemes gone awry, and a mysterious goblin-turned-cat named Sebastian who also has designs on the Domino. And as if that wasn’t enough, he soon learns that Millicent is also a magician—and needs him to teach her!
Corcoran’s fantasy debut is equal parts thrilling and ridiculous. In a world populated by old-school magicians, Princess Emmaline Camellia encounters her first goblin and is immediately turned into a rabbit. Pessimistic court magician Bostwick von Dogsbody volunteers to travel the land with her to help find a cure. Their search leads them to Castle Styx, home of Queen Delilah Glossolalia, who’s rumored to possess the Domino of Nonpareil, a mask that allows wearers to become anything they wish. After getting caught trying to steal the mask, the eccentric Delilah forces Bostwick to become her butler under threat of a curse if he tries to leave. Though the story lacks greater worldbuilding, what it does offer is imaginative: a wide array of magician’s tricks, a knockoff-antiques shop whose magical items don’t quite work the same way as the originals, and clever puns. Readers will look forward to the sequel. Ages 8–12. (BookLife)