Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 320
Published: January 31st, 2017
Why I wanted to read this: That cover and Soman Chainani's description "Part Tim Burton, part J.K. Rowling! A terrific debut-"
Opening line: "Ivy rocked forward as the ambulance turned a corner. Everything inside rattled."
Following their Granma Sylvie's fall at home, Ivy Sparrow (11yo) and her brother Seb (14yo) are riding in an ambulance with her to the hospital. Ivy is concerned for Granma because of a car accident Sylvie had on the Twelfth Night in 1969, that resulted in her having amnesia and a loss of memory for any of the events that occurred to her prior to the injury. While Ivy and Seb wait in the ER for their parents, a suspicious man begins lurking in the hospital, so Ivy and Seb plan to return to their Granma's house just as their parents directed. Once there, they find the house has been ransacked and a mysterious note has been scratched into the wall, "we can see you now." Even stranger are the men who show up in a funeral coach, scaring them and chasing them until a boy (Valian) helps them to escape through a suitcase that sucks them into a secret London. Once in Lundinor, Ivy and Seb are thrust into finding a mysterious item their Granma may have hidden from an ancient sinister guild called the Dirge or risk having their parents killed. But what it is and where to find it are not the only challenges the siblings face.
The first thing that really struck me while reading The Uncommoner's was the cover, I really love the color scheme and how it alludes to some darkness. It's also easy to notice the similarities it shares to the Harry Potter series, invisibility item, a manor that will reveal itself only to a member of the family and maps that show you the location of people to name a few. Yet, there are differences as well. There's no Hogwarts School of Magic, and really no wands or magic per se. There is a world of Uncommon objects that have certain abilities, like a button that can heal you, and bells that can speak and give directions. I also like the premise that uncommon objects hold a piece of a person's soul and certain Uncommon people, Whisperers can sense these uncommon objects. There's also a bit of a mystery to solve linked to Ivy and Seb's Granma's car accident and their families past in Lundinor. Of all the characters, Scratch, the bicycle bell with his back-to-fronted speaking problem was one of my favorites, he adds much of the humor. I also really want to learn more about Valian, and about his scouting abilities and what other uncommon objects are out there in Lundinor. There's even some delightfully creepy characters amongst the Dirge, and action that kept the story moving along nicely. An excellent introduction to this new series.