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Mister Sanamon
Tzia: The Book of Galatéa

Middle Grade; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

In Tzia’s debut title, Galatéa’s story is told through the eyes of her future daughter, Theo, on her fourteenth birthday, when she is approached by a very unusual mouse-like old woman who introduces the unsuspecting Theo to her family history and the quest she must now undertake, as her mother did before her. Toggling between the past and the future, the very remarkable, albeit unbelievable, quest of fourteen-year-old Galatéa on a mythical Greek island that was hidden from the civilized world, unfolds. In fact, the mystical island, Tzia, had been home to generations of sisters, ancestors of Galatéa’s, with one sister in each generation undertaking a fateful journey upon their fourteenth birthday, learning the secret their family has so carefully guarded. An unbelievable world on the island opens up before the young Galatéa, one that is full of wonder and beauty and yet also darkness and doom. As with each “sign bearer” who came before her—displaying identical odd markings on their wrists—Galatéa has been chosen, tasked with taking a treacherous journey through the island to find the powerful lion whose fate is intertwined with that of the girl’s family and who is key to unveiling the secrets that will restore the perilously broken balance of the land. Betrayed by a wicked sister, Galatéa must avoid a coven of witches hunting her, solve difficult riddles to get beyond gatekeepers, and unravel tricky mysteries. Meanwhile, Theo is learning everything she needs to know to prepare herself for her own quest.
Sanamon debuts with a captivating and imaginative fantasy novel that seamlessly blends the realms of dream and reality. Mining the vein of fanciful classics like the work of L. Frank Baum and Lewis Carroll, the story follows Theodora Brondsted on her 14th birthday, as she learns about her mother, Galatéa, and the generations of women in her family who have all fulfilled their destinies to discover and share secrets with a magical lion on the island of Tzia, hidden from the modern world by either a spell or a curse. Sanamon skillfully intertwines Theo's story with that of Galatéa, her mother, and the adventurous tale of her own fourteenth birthday—which involves wonders like PumPum, a bespectacled talking cat, and the teasing possibility that the world shifts and surprises us just when we look away.

Galatéa, a witch and one of four quadruplets, embarks on a journey to find the legendary lion, pitting her against her jealous sister, Agatha, and an ensemble of malevolent witches (known as “The Vicious”) determined to stop her. While Theo's narrative occasionally feels sidelined in favor of Galatéa's, the dual perspectives converge spectacularly, keeping readers invested in the plot. The story falters slightly during Galatéa's extensive quest, which moves rather slowly. However, the rich world-building, immersive storytelling, and imaginative illustrations more than make up for this minor flaw, and readers will likely forgive the occasional drag in the plot because of the captivating nature of the story.

At its heart, Tzia: The Book of Galatéa is a story of family, destiny, and magic. Its unique storytelling format and host of engaging and surprising characters will appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy novels with a lot of spirited invention, a love of language and mischief, and a touch of family drama. The intricate, dream-like plot offers a captivating reading experience that will leave readers eager for Theo's next adventure.

Takeaway: This riveting fantasy is perfect for fans of fairy tales and mystical adventures.

Comparable Titles: Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Sylvia Mercedes’s Of Wolves and Wardens.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-