4 out of 4 stars
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Silent Lee lives with her Aunt Generous, as her mother travels for work. One day, though, her mother takes Silent away to live with her cousins because her aunt is sick. After her aunt dies suddenly, Silent faces a life with the cousins, the attic being her bedroom. However, Sie (pronounced like pie) gets a note from her aunt stating that she isn't dead; she's merely being held captive. Sie must investigate. Along the way, she meets a meddlesome boy named Raahi who would like nothing more than to help. Will Sie and Raahi find Aunt Generous?
From the first page, Alex Hiam drew me into Silent Lee and the Adventure of the Side Door Key. This young adult fiction consists of around 120 pages and is a quick read. Some of the vocabulary is advanced, the word exigent for example. However, the book would still be suitable for middle school to high school children, as there is no profanity or adult content.
Magic is a key component of the story, but this isn't simply a magical book. Silent attends the "Girl’s Academy of Latin and Alchemy—“GALA” for short." Her world is much more simplistic than ours; so, when she must rescue Aunt Generous in the modern world, she gets confused. This created some fun and educational moments.
The little personal touches from the author were my favorite element. For example, Mr. Hiam gives a brief introduction as to what magic is. At the end, he tells us that the places in the book are real. These unique elements made the book more intimate.
In addition, I enjoyed the characters. Sie is standoffish at first, especially when it comes to Raahi. Still, Raahi is persistent, and he makes a great foil for her. Silent's mother is the typical evil villain. Of note, too, is the fact that there's diversity in the book. Raahi's mother is Indian, and Silent is not the usual Caucasian protagonist, which was refreshing and educational for the younger reader. As well, unlike many authors, Mr. Hiam helps the reader know how to pronounce the names. Look how he educates the reader on Raahi's name. “Oh, sorry! I’m Raahi. ‘Rah-hee.’"
Furthermore, while most of the major plot arcs are wrapped up, there is room for a sequel. In fact, the author includes a bonus chapter from Silent Lee and the Oxford Adventure. If incomplete details irritate you, it might be best to skip this.
In summary, I highly enjoyed this book. There were only a few errors and no negative aspects. Therefore, I give Silent Lee and the Adventure of the Side Door Key 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to all ages, including adults, who enjoy clean, magical adventures. I can't wait to read more about Sie!
Silent Lee and the Adventure of the Side Door Key
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