Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Apr. 2023. 368p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063225138.
Gr 5 Up–Nic Blake is a Remarkable, but she and her dad Calvin live in the Unremarkable world, never staying in one place long. Calvin is stalling on teaching Nic to use her powers—apparently she’s not mature enough for the immense responsibility. Then, a surprise encounter with someone from Calvin’s past reveals that her entire life is much more complicated than she knew; her dad has been accused of kidnapping her and stealing a powerful magical object. Nic sets off on a quest with her Unremarkable best friend, her new brother, and a pet hellhound. Their goal: to clear Calvin’s name, to find the Msaidizi, the magical object, and to keep it out of the hands of the Manowari, the person destined to destroy the Remarkable world. Thomas has been a force on the young adult scene, and her first middle grade novel proves her range extends across genre and age groups; she weaves complex fantasy stories as deftly as realistic ones. This novel in some ways feels like an homage to some of the best works in the genre, both modern and mythical, but the freshness of the story and characters, along with Thomas’s control of a multilayered, nuanced plot, makes everything feel brand new.
VERDICT A book that will delight young readers and adults alike. Nic Blake is entering the Black fantasy scene with all the confidence and energy of its main character, and we’re so glad it’s here.

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