Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book Review - Murder At Midnight by Avi

Murder At Midnight Murder At Midnight by Avi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Fabrizio wants nothing more than to please his master, Magnus the Magician. But everything Fabrizio tries to do seems to be the wrong thing. Until Magnus is arrested by the Primo Magistrato Signor DeLaBina for doing magic. Now it is up to Fabrizio to save his master's life. But who can he trust? Prince Cosimo? Count Scarazoni? Or even King Claudio himself? As the clock on Magnus' life keeps ticking, Fabrizio must decide who is telling the truth and who is the traitor.

This is a "quick read" mystery for young readers who are confident in their reading comprehension. The world of Renaissance Italy is confusing in itself, it seems everyone wore a black robe. Then Avi gives us the added elements of magic, treason, and betrayal to deal with. In trying to keep the reader interested in the intrigue, Avi falls short on developing the characters fully. I did not gain connection to any of the primary characters, while the secondary were mere shadows. The progression of the story also slows somewhat due to trying to remember who is who; who is working for whom; and what they have said - between the prince and the count. While these characters in no way physically resemble each other, they seem to be interchangeable. Each claims to be helping Fabrizio and at some point seems to betray him. I am still not sure if I feel this helps the mystery or hinders it, making it too confusing. I would recommend this for readers ages 10 - 12 because it takes a good comprehension level to follow.

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