Archibald Lox Volume One: The Missing Princess
by Darren Shan
Home of the Damned

"I just can’t believe I had such an advanced locksmith under my nose and didn’t realise it."

Comprised of three previously published works—Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds, Archibald Lox and the Empress of Suanpan, and Archibald Lox and the Vote of Alignment—this young adult middle grades fantasy tells the story of a talented locksmith who is caught unaware of his true nature. When young Archibald first spies Inez Matryoshka on a bridge in his native London, she is fleeing from two men. To his surprise, she seemingly disappears into thin air. Curious about where she could have gone, he follows her path and finds himself in a strange place unlike any he has ever seen. Inez soon reveals to Archibald that they are in a parallel universe known as The Merge, a place that follows none of earth's physical laws yet is closely tied to happenings on earth. Archibald now begins a journey in which he will face many obstacles and learn that he is much more than he imagines.

This fast-paced fantasy is reminiscent of such works as The Chronicles of Narnia, Through the Looking Glass, and the more recent Netflix drama Stranger Things. The characters are well-rounded, with the title character, the lovable and sympathetic young Archibald Lox, one of the most memorable heroes of any genre. Meanwhile, the precocious Inez is his perfect foil. Shan has created an alternative world that is extraordinary and imaginative with fantastical creatures that both delight and horrify. The author presents settings within this realm that are unique with such phenomena as rivers of blood that kill anyone unfortunate enough to come in contact with them. This is likely one of those books that will soon develop a fan base with readers of all ages who are sure to enjoy this soon-to-be fantasy classic.

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