Review by Booklist Review
While reading a strange book in his father's library, 12-year-old Alex suddenly notices letters flowing off the page and encircling his wrist, marking him with mysterious, shifting words. Though in training as a warrior, he becomes convinced that he must follow a different calling. A few years later, apprenticed to the elderly librarian at a castle, he discovers the man dead (strangled by a malevolent book on vines). Alex soon weasels his way into a new position: Royal Librarian at the Winter Palace. There he gradually wins over the recently crowned 16-year-old queen, while attempting to thwart the schemes of her treacherous uncle and the murderous intentions of the increasing number of books possessed by evil magic. The first in the Lost Books series, this features a number of strong characters, inventive details, and unexpected plot twists. Often impudent to those who disrespect him, Alex has a roguelike quality that will appeal to many readers. A page-turner of a fantasy with elements of humor as well as intrigue, swordplay, and librarian-versus-hostile-book combat.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this lively middle grade fantasy, the start to a new series, an apprentice librarian discovers the true hazards of his chosen profession when he steals his deceased master's identity and takes up the position of royal librarian, despite his lacking age, experience, and proper qualifications. Even so, 15-year-old Alex is determined to prove his abilities, and to discover just why the libraries are kept under lock and key and his fellow librarians are all elderly, secretive, and dying mysteriously. When he learns that certain books are actually alive, malicious, and fatal to the unwary reader, he enlists the aid of his new queen, Kenneret, and her headstrong, dyslexic brother, Charleren, to stop this plague of murderous manuscripts before the kingdom falls to an unexpected threat. Alex and his new allies experience a delightful level of conflict and chemistry in a setting ripe for future exploration. Prineas (The Magic Thief) delivers a fast-paced, engaging adventure in which libraries are as deadly as any dungeon and knowledge can literally kill. Ages 8-12. Agent: Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-8-Alex has been chosen to be a librarian, a caretaker of books. The problem? He's not even 16 and no one will take him seriously. Oh, and the books are afraid while someone-or something-is killing the librarians. Alex has to prove he's capable of saving himself and the information before it's too late. Castles, kingdoms, sword fights, magical pages, and mysterious deaths all are present and accounted for. Alex is snarky and not particularly likable. Queen Kenneret struggles to rule her kingdom and is seemingly oblivious to obvious things. The mystery is intriguing and some of the fantasy elements are engaging, but middle grade readers may find the heavy-handed praise of libraries, reading, and librarians to be a bit too on-the-nose. VERDICT For libraries that have a strong fantasy readership, this title may appeal, despite its flaws.-Maureen Sullivan, Calumet City Public Library, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
Using his dead master's credentials, apprentice librarian Alex becomes the royal librarian. After a book tries to kill him, Alex realizes books are alive and have magical powers. Assisted by the young queen, Alex races to uncover why the books have turned deadly. Though the villain is a caricature, those looking for a mystery with plenty of fantasy adventure will be entertained. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A young librarian discovers that books are living things that must be read and, sometimes, stabbed.Teenage runaway Alexandren not only finds that the realm's long-locked-up royal library where he lands a temporary gig has gone "feral and moldy and restless," but that he too has become a target for certain specially marked and weaponized volumes. Fortunately, thanks to the martial upbringing he has fled, he turns out to be a dab hand with a blade. And, as Alex feels his way toward an understanding of his duties as a librarian, he finds unexpected allies in 16-year-old Queen Kenneret, newly crowned and also struggling to define her role and responsibilities, and Kenneret's dyslexic but extremely bright younger brother, Charleren. Amid alarums and excursions Alex learns that all books and their contents can be commanded by certain Lost Booksparticularly a Scroll of Kings that, it turns out, Kenneret's scheming uncle is searching for as a means of usurping the throne. Along with slipping in many library jokes, Prineas makes sparks fly as Alex and Kenneret, both of whom are intense, prickly sorts, explore common ground and conflicting agendas. By the end, though the immediate crises have been resolved, there's still plenty of unfinished business for future episodes to tackle. Alex is pale, and Kenneret has olive skinin this world, the nobility is dark-skinned.One for the booksand for all who, like Alex, cherish them. (Fantasy. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.