Horace wrapped his fingers around the box. The world dropped away, and he swooned a little, overwhelmed by the sensation that a question he hadn’t asked yet had just been answered.
“This is it,” he said, though he had no idea what that meant.
Horace F. Andrews is both scientifically minded and terminally curious, and so when he sees a sign from the bus window with his name on it, he is compelled to investigate at once. The sign leads Horace to the House of Answers, a mysterious place full of wondrous artefacts, none more so to Horace than an outwardly unassuming wooden box, that holds a power so great it can only be wielded by a chosen few.
But Horace soon finds that with this power comes the burden of the knowledge that his world is no longer safe. His affinity for the box has brought him to the attention of the dark and terrible Riven, who yearn above all else to steal away his marvellous gift. Horace is suddenly thrust into a battle between darkness and light, and must trust in both his friends and his new found abilities to bring him out the other side.
Now, he heard footsteps, heavy and slow. Breathing. A long shadow slid across the grass in front of him, and Horace turned, ever so slowly, to look.
Less than a chapter in to The Box and The Dragonfly I was already completely hooked. For me, there is little else like the joy of picking up a book that you immediately hope will be part of a series. The writing is descriptive and enthralling, and there is danger, mystery, intrigue and humour, all packaged together to create a story that draws you right in to its magic. I think YA fantasy does a fantastic thing when this exciting new world is revealed to the reader to be lurking just behind our own; just like tiny 11 year old me hoping desperately for my Hogwarts letter, I can imagine scores of children dreaming of being a Keeper just like Horace.
The imagery conjured up by The Box and the Dragonfly is mesmerising and beautiful, reflected wonderfully in the stunning cover art by Chris Ridell. It is a tale of bravery and friendship, and there are hints to a much deeper lore just waiting to be discovered. This book is everything I ever want from a fantasy novel, and I will await the next installment with joyful anticipation.