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Daniel Perez
Wizards of Arcadia
Evil isn’t born, nor is it stumbled upon. It’s created in the shadows of a person’s soul. It plants itself and evolves throughout one’s journey in life where it culminates in darkness until it consumes the individual. For twins Adrian and Andrew, it’s a journey one of them will take. Book one Andrew and Adrian are catapulted into a world where spells, magical beasts, and wizards exist. A world they now belong to, and their once predictable summer is gone in a blink of an eye. They go visit their grandfather, whom they barely know to learn how to hone their newfound abilities. While training them, their grandfather discovers how effortlessly they comprehend their new abilities. Something that thrills and delights him yet leaves his stomach in knots since it is something he has seen before, a long time ago. While their family does their best to shield them from certain truths, it isn’t long before those lies start to unravel. Hard choices have to be made, no matter how unfair they may seem. Yet in the midst of all that, they find themselves fighting a magical war with an evil that is both new, yet familiar to them. Can they navigate through the chaos around them to help save this new reality of theirs?
In Luna’s world of magic and fantasy, twin teenage brothers Andrew and Adrian discover an exciting family secret: they’re wizards, capable of channeling the waves of energy all around us. But what starts out as a thrilling new adventure into the world of teleportation, potions, and pet Pegasi slowly morphs into something more perilous. Evil lurks in the shadows and their world gets flipped upside down when they learn their father, who has been a mysterious absence from their lives, is not just a powerful wizard—but that he’s been imprisoned for 16 years, and, upon his surprise early release, wants to see his boys. Now, everything the twins love is being threatened. With the help of a large cast of family and friends, the twins team up to battle a darkness that endangers their new magical reality.

Luna boldly pens the trials and tribulations of adolescents, the betrayal of secrets suddenly unearthed, and the courage to fight for a cause, while also dedicating precious scene space to the mundane. The novel is chatty rather than fast-paced, a choice that emphasizes characters and their growth, potentially setting up a series, while the point-of-view bounces from one character to the next, leaving no cast member behind in this wildly large ensemble of family, friends, and foes. Still, some readers may wish that the scenes were more concise, especially once the quest—involving a hunt for a powerful wizard and then three crystals—kicks off.

Still, there are plenty of twists and some legitimate shock as the characters dig deeper into the magical world Luna has created—and it is a world, rich and detailed, crafted by a writer who understands what readers expect from the genre, and how satisfying it is to see those expectations upended. Relationships are tested as exposed secrets threaten to unravel the twins’ family, but loyalty and love reign supreme. Fans of magic, fantasy, and epic quests will find satisfaction in this character-driven adventure.

Takeaway: Heroes are molded and adventure is afoot in this fantasy YA debut filled with magic.

Great for fans of: Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son, Cinda Williams Chima.

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