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Maddigan's Fantasia


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I'm Garland Maddigan, a true-born Maddigan and part of Maddigan's Fantasia, the greatest circus in the world.

About the Author

Margaret Mahy is the author of over 100 children's stories and groundbreaking novels for young adults. She has won numerous awards and prizes for her writing, including the Carnegie Medal for The Changeover and The Haunting, and the Order of New Zealand for her astounding contribution to Children's Literature. Margaret lives in New Zealand. Maddigan's Fantasia is her first novel for Faber.


Gr 5-8-Twelve-year-old Garland Maddigan's family runs Maddigan's Fantasia, a traveling circus in a postapocalyptic world. Maps are still unreliable and towns are cut off from one another by wilderness and various hazards. After the death of Garland's father at the outset of the tale, her mother, Maddie, must rely on the Fantasia's second-in-command, Yves, to help with the circus. She reveals that the city of Solis has commissioned them to bring back a solar converter from Newton, the town of scientists. If they fail, the power in Solis will fail and the one true city left will be in grave peril. Throughout their journey, Garland struggles with the thought of Yves somehow usurping her father's place both as leader of the circus and as her mother's partner, if not lover. There is still more to the story, though, as two boys and a baby girl appear mysteriously just after Garland's father is killed. Timon and Eden have traveled from the future because bringing the converter to Solis will somehow thwart the evil Nennog of their time. With all of these plotlines and another handful of significant characters, the book sometimes feels overstuffed. The first half is somewhat episodic, but once the Fantasia has the solar converter, the return to Solis is more straightforward, albeit with startling revelations all the way to the final act. Balancing these reservations are the unusual world and characters that Mahy has created. This odd science-fiction tale belongs in most libraries.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Mahy (Alchemy) serves up a post-apocalyptic fantasy, fashioning a world struggling back from near-oblivion. In a land where even the best-marked roads sometimes disappear without explanation, Maddigan's Fantasia, a traveling circus, is one of the few links connecting isolated towns. Their current tour, however, is unusually urgent because the city of Solis, their home, desperately needs a new solar converter, and only the Fantasia can reach the distant city of Newton, purchase the replacement and return in time. Their quest seems doomed almost from the start, however, when 12-year-old Garland Maddigan, the heroine, loses her father, Ferdy, the Fantasia's ringmaster, to an attack by highwaymen. Then three mysterious children appear, claiming to be from the future. They insist that they've come back to help the Fantasia in its mission, but are ruthlessly pursued by the not-entirely-human agents of the Nennog, the monstrous ruler of Solis in their day. A well-drawn character, Garland resembles other Mahy protagonists-cranky, assertive and filled with self-doubt- and her adventures are invariably exciting. The villains, however, are little more than cartoons, while the novel reads as both picaresque and a tad formulaic, each self-contained chapter featuring a new oddball society, a new threat and a quick resolution. The prose has Mahy's customary polish and fans will enjoy the story, but this falls short of the author's very best. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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