Let me start by saying that me telling you something about this book makes my life in danger. And you knowing about this book would make your life in danger too as well. Let me remind you that once you finished reading this review or the book, just keep everything by yourself because we don’t want others to know about this book and what it contains.
Just kidding. That’s just what the book says.
The story revolves around two friends, Cass and Max-Earnest, or collaborators as they would prefer to be called and their adventure in keeping an aged old Secret and saving the lives of the people around them bound to be doomed.
The author describes 11 year old Cassandra, or Cass, as a survivalist. She always carry a backpack with her containing all what she think is needed when a calamity or emergency strikes. Sh always has this predictions that she always tell to people with eagerness but eventually doesn’t happen which always make her be in trouble with her school principal. The author has this clever description of her, as the “girl who cried wolf.” (I know you know that story). Cass lives with her mother (her father died when she was young) but most of the time she likes to stay at the antique shop of her two grandfathers, not biological, who considered Cass as their own grandchild already.
Max-Earnest(A quirky name isn’t it? Read the book to know how his parents got his name :D) is a boy who likes to talk alot. He’s unstoppable unless you interject him. He also likes to tell jokes that are not that funny (however, it’s a work in progress as per the book). He lives with his parents who are separated but still lives together (you have to read the book as their setup is really funny :D). He has no friends until he meet Cass whom he shared the same curiosity with things.
Aside from Cass and Max-Earnest the book also has other interesting characters that made the story even more exciting to read. Max-Earnest’s family for instance and the characters at the school where the two attends are some of the characters that will have you laughing out loud.
The climax of the story started when a package arrived at Cass’ grandfather’s antique shop brought by her grandfather’s friend who is an estate agent who had the box at one of the houses she likes to sell. The box contained the Symphony of Smells, a box containing different vials of different smells, and a notebooks which belongs to a magician, named Pietro. In that notebook, they learned about the history of his magic with the power of the senses and how dangerous it could get if given to the wrong hands. Then they learned about synesthesia, a neurological condition in which one sense is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additioanl sense. For instance, when you see the color green you hear a bell ringing or the smell a vanilla cupcake being baked.
They then encountered the villains of the story Ms Mauvais and Dr L who began pursuing them to get the Symphony of Smells and the notebook. As the story progressed, readers will know how far the villains could go to have what they want which is eternal youth and how far our heroes will go to save their friend who was kidnapped by the villains as part of their evil plans.
Friendship. That’s what’s the foundation of this book. The novel is primarily about the unlikely friendship of the two protagonist and how on their journey they came to understand each other. They went on a journey with a strong bond, quite hesitant at first because they don’t quite know each other. But as the story progressed they came to understand each that there came a time when the other doesn’t even need to talk already to understand for them to understand each other. At the end of the story, you’ll appreciate the frindship that they have and would want to read more to know about their next adventures.
What I enjoyed from the story is how it was narrated. I find it very original since it was my first time to read that kind of book with that kind of narration. It’s like the narrator is directly speaking to the readers and how funny he sometimes get because he wants to have the book to be a secret and the details be a secret but he then eventually gives in and gives you hints. How clever!
The premise of the story is not knew as it tackles heroes fighting and knowing about old magic and alchemy but I like how the author attacked that topic. It was made in a very simple way that is easily understood. As new words were introduced the author made sure that the readers can still follow by giving explanations.
I also like how the book became so interactive in a way that the author let’s you be part of the book making the adventure become surreal. It has codes that needs to be deciphered and brains teasers among others. The ending is a cliffhanger in way but it was done in a very creative way that I myself was satisfied.
If you’re into puzzles, mystery, adventure and wants a good laugh I recommend this book. And definitely I’ll read the next in the series.:)
4/5 for me.