336p. (Alternative Detective: Bk. 1). ebook available. Tor Teen. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765383426.
Gr 6 Up—Anglet left her humble and poor childhood for the not so glamorous life of a steeplejack. She spends her days climbing high above Bar-Salem's smog to fix the broken bricks of chimneys and towers. When the city's beacon—a stone that shines a bright, everlasting light—is stolen the same day her young apprentice dies, Ang is swept into the folds of the mystery. Torn between family and cultural obligations, she has to decide whom she can trust and depend on to stay alive. Hartley creates a vivid world with wildlife and landscapes reminiscent of those of South Africa in this alternative 19th-century fantasy. Ang is a character readers will care about, even if her persistent adventures (and ensuing injuries) are unbelievable. Extraneous and convenient secondary characters help to create the multicultural world in which Ang lives. The race relations and political atmosphere in Bar-Salem are great catalysts for discussion. Hartley uses a large vocabulary, but the lack of romance and gratuitous violence makes this story a good option for younger teens.
VERDICT A versatile work, appealing to all kinds of readers, especially alternative history and fantasy fans.

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