4 out of 4 stars
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Young Savaric was given a special gift that could be considered both a blessing and a curse. The gift of magic.
Though many find him odd and his mother is wary of him, the one person that has always been there for Savaric is his grandmother, Nana. One day, his magical talent of invisibility leads him to a mysterious and intriguing map. Where this map takes him is on a journey that he never would have thought possible.
Now racing time against an angered man, a suspicious sheriff, and untrustworthy fairies, Savaric and his companion, Elias, must find out where the map leads before anyone else does. Encountering both royalty, perhaps a legendary one, and danger, Savaric learns his true place in the world in Michele Angello’s young adult historical fantasy, The Secret Key of Pythagorum.
Written in the third-person omniscient point-of-view, readers can expect to not only follow Savaric and others on following the map, but to dip into the fifth century. The fifth century storyline is brief and sporadic, but eventually, the older timeline does connect to the present one. In reality, it is unclear if the fifth century story beat is truly necessary, but it was interesting to read.
When diving into Savaric’s life and journey, it was extremely easy and realistic to imagine this young boy’s quest to find answers. The author created a character that was easy to sympathize with and feel a sense of victory for when the book ended. His loyalty, bravery, and friendship are characteristics one looks for in a strong protagonist.
The plot moved extremely well and never seemed rushed. Though I wished there was more to Savaric’s magical ability, I never found myself bored. When looking for an area of improvement, the only one I can find is to better explore the motivation for Savaric’s expedition. Was it purely out of curiosity? Did his grandmother know more than she let on? Knowing more of the motivation would have made the plot even stronger.
Themes of multi-generation relationships, domestic abuse, discovery, friendship, and bravery can easily be found within these pages. Nana and Savaric have such a unique and loving bond that filled my heart with warmth while his mother, Nicola, filled me with sadness. When looking at the domestic abuse here, it was neither graphic nor lengthy, but there were scenes when Nicola would hit her son toward the beginning of the novel. One of the aspects that I loved was how Savaric fumbled with his sense of bravery. He didn't always know the answers and sometimes made the wrong choices, but in the end, he was a person with a good heart.
Overall, this historical fantasy was a tale that was well-written and flowed well. It was one that featured a likable and realistic character which many young adult readers could relate to his uncertainty and his eventual growth. Therefore, I give The Secret Key of Pythagorum a 4 out of 4 stars.
The Secret Key of Pythagorum
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