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Stella Byrd and the Silver Shadow (The Otherworldly Adventures of Stella Byrd and Carolina Finder) (Volume 1) (Paperback)
I loved this book. Stella Byrd and the Silver Shadow is a thoroughly enjoyable, well-crafted fantasy tale about a girl’s adventures in a very different world. It’s full of fascinating creatures, including giants, ratspies, tree bears, and rogue shadows, as well as magical objects and family secrets.
While it’s a fine adventure and a battle of good against evil, it’s also a story of discovery – of Stella herself and her wonderful friends.
What sets this story apart from other fantasy tales is its clever use of language. For instance, early on, when Stella is captured by a giant, “She hung there by the hood of her sweatshirt, like the world’s most furious and frightened piñata.”
She tries to figure out why her father tried to rob a bank with an old Swiss Army knife. “She assumed that normally a loving, dependable father like Billy Byrd doesn’t just go around sticking knives in people’s face and robbing banks. And normally, when people do actually go out and rob banks, it’s because they’re desperate for money. They rob banks because they don’t have a job and they have nothing to eat. Maybe they have a cat, but they can’t pay for cat food. Or kitty litter. They’re dirty and they’re hungry and the cat is mad and the house stinks, so what do they do? They put on a mask and try to take money out of the bank the old-fashioned way – by stealing it. Once they’ve escaped with their big bags full of cash they can buy shampoo, new socks, cat food, and all the rest. They can change the kitty litter so the cat stops pooping on the carpet and the house doesn’t stink anymore. But the thing is, the Byrds weren’t desperate for money. Not at all, And they didn't even have a cat.”
When Aunt Joan (who turns out to be far more complex than she first appears) enters the house, Stella hears the familiar sounds: “the slow plodding of squishy sneakers, the squat plopping of a limp body collapsing on the squeaky living room couch, the six televisions, the four tablets..” and the readers know they are in the capable hands of a fine wordsmith.
My only complaint is that the story ends at the half-way point, but I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it!