Saturday, May 23, 2009

children's book review: the night tourist

The Night Tourist is a mesmerizing tale of Jack Perdu, a fourteen-year-old Classics prodigy (seriously, he's helping a Yale professor translate Ovid's Metamorphosis) who takes a mysterious trip into New York City's underworld. Jack isn't initially sure if he's live or dead, but he meets Yuri, a definitely dead young girl who becomes his tour guide. Jack's goal is to find his mother, who died years ago.

The novel is part adventure, part ode to New York (perhaps my favorite city in the entire world), and part reinvention of a classical myth. It is a beautiful, engaging tale of friendship and the level of magic Marsh creates rivals the Harry Potter universe.

While it is not rare for me to delight and enjoy a children's book, it is rare for me to forget I'm reading a children's book. The Night Tourist is so thoroughly engaging, any adult reader (especially sci-fi and fantasy fans) would love it. Despite being filled with intrigue, humor and fun, it's also incredibly wise. There are an ordinate number of illusions to mythology and great literature, many of which I was not as familiar with as I should be.

The follow-up, again featuring Jack, The Twilight Prisoner, was just released, and I can't wait to read it.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5 stars)

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