I wasn’t planning on buying another book. After all, I have six books piled on my desk that need reviews, and another twenty books on my night stand that want to be read. But as I was perusing my favorite book review websites, I found The Real Boy. The cover and review looked interesting, so I caved in and bought the book. I’m so glad I did.
Wow! The Real Boy, by Anne Ursu, is amazing. I’m putting it on my Top Ten Books of the Year list. Though listed as a fantasy for middle grades, this story will be loved and appreciated by all ages and readers. It is skillfully woven with vivid imagery, an interesting plot, and a beautifully created world. The main character tugs at your heart as you journey with him. I predict that The Real Boy will become a children’s classic.
Oscar is an orphaned boy who lives in the dark cellar of a powerful magician. He is content to spend his days collecting and grinding herbs and plants for his master’s shop, even though the magician is austere, and the apprentice bullies him. The only comforts in his small world come from doing his duties with care and exactness, and the affectionate cats who share the cellar with him. But something large and terrible is attacking their island, the children in the walled city are falling ill, and the magical forest where they live isn’t safe anymore. When Oscar is unexpectedly left in charge of the shop while the magician is gone, he takes the first terrifying steps into a strange, dangerous world where he must learn to talk to people, make friends, and find out the truth about what is destroying their world. His growth into a real boy who lives a real life is very touching. I look forward to reading Anne Ursu’s other books.