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Foxheart

Review

Foxheart

Written by Claire Legrand with illustrations by Jaime Zollars

In her latest novel, FOXHEART, Claire Legrand tells the tale of a 12-year old witch in a world where magic is forbidden.

"Though at times a little lengthy, and a little clunky, FOXHEART is an overall enjoyable read that will delight most readers who also enjoy Neil Gaiman and Dianna Wynne Jones."

Life in the convent orphanage her parents left her in was rough, but things are looking up for self-named Quicksilver. She fancies herself to be the Best Thief in all the Star Lands, and she’s definitely the best thief in the small, sleepy town of Willow-on-the-River. Her only companions are her faithful dog, Fox, and the clumsy, shy boy, Sly Boots. They live a relatively quiet life, until Quicksilver discovers she can do magic --- real magic --- and the Wolf King, a powerful and revered figure, who is trying to stamp out the witches, descends upon the town. It’s only thanks to the mysterious old woman named Anastazia that Quicksilver and her friends are rescued and transported to the past, where the Wolf King can’t reach them. For now.

In the past, Quicksilver learns that she is a witch, and Fox is her monster, and together with Sly Boots and Anastazia, they must all work to prevent the Wolf King from annihilating witches and, therefore, all magic.

In this epic fantasy, Legrand’s influences are clear. The witches’ monsters (which are essentially familiars) are reminiscent of dæmons from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy, and the tone and writing style will remind readers of Neil Gaiman’s CORALINE and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. The Star Lands also appear similar to the land of Ingary, from Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Movie Castle, as does the matter-of-fact, sometimes snarky dialogue.

While these inspirations from other works will no doubt put a smile on the reader’s face during parts of the book, at other times they will fall flat, due in large part to the lengthy nature of this almost 500 page book. At times, the relationship between Fox and Quicksilver, which is meant to be the heart and soul of the book, does not always pull off the same effortlessness and basic need for each other that Pan and Lyra’s does in His Dark Materials. The Wolf King also lacks the same sinister disposition of Gaiman’s The Man Jack and The Other Mother, though his wolves and The First Ones at times more than make up for that.

Though at times a little lengthy, and a little clunky, FOXHEART is an overall enjoyable read that will delight most readers who also enjoy Neil Gaiman and Dianna Wynne Jones.

Reviewed by Alyssa Cami on October 24, 2016

Foxheart
Written by Claire Legrand with illustrations by Jaime Zollars