So there's this young boy. And he's a magician, but he doesn't know it, until one day…
I know what you're thinking. "But I've read Harry Potter already!" That's fine; this isn't a Harry Potter book. This is something that just might be the next Harry Potter, though.
Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass is the first book in a series that introduces us to a group of magicians in Las Vegas. Yes, there are a lot of magicians and illusionists in Vegas, but these guys are for real. They are spell casting, crystal ball gazing, animal communicating magicians. More specifically, they are magicians who are keepers of magical talismans, protecting those objects from the shadowy figures who would use the magic in those talismans for evil.
Nick Rostov is an average 13-year old boy. Well, average in a living-in-a-hotel-in-Vegas-with-his-stage-magician-father way, that is. His grandfather arrives for his 13th birthday with an announcement – Nick is a real magician. Not an illusionist, like his father; Nick is someone who can do actual magic, if he's properly trained. So he leaves the hotel he and his Dad have been living in and moves to the Winter Palace, with his mother's side of the family. And he begins his training, preparing for the moment when he joins the family act on stage, and preparing to join the family in defending the treasured relics they guard. But things aren't quite as easy as they seem, and Nick very quickly finds himself wondering who to believe, before finally confronting the most evil magician of them all – Rasputin.
Kids will love these books because they are fun, and funny. Nick is an average kid put in an odd situation – he goes from eating cheeseburgers to caviar and beet soup. He goes from reading comic books to Russian history. Kids will laugh at his adjustment (or lack thereof), and parents will love the fact that their kids are learning something (there's a lot of history from Tsarist Russia in this book, including a lot about Nicholas and his family). Parents will also appreciate the fact that their kids are reading, and are enjoying it.
Parents will also enjoy reading the book when the kids are done. It's not a tough read, but it will grab you and pull you in; I sat down to read one chapter, and had finished half the book before I realized it. This is the best kind of book to give to kids; it's one they'll want to read, and it's one their parents will want to read as well.
If you know a young reader (anyone from about eight or nine on up, I would say), get them this book. But be prepared to get them the rest of the series, too, because they will be hooked.