Recommended for readers 10-14
Five siblings investigate a strange, blue window that appears in their home and fall through time and space to a strange world, landing in the middle of a power struggle between a power-crazed dictator and the scholars and exiled magic weavers who push back against him. Susan, Max, Nell, Kate, and Jean discover that they have powers of their own, which puts them right into The Genius’ sights. He wants their power, and he will stop at nothing to get at it. The siblings escape and find themselves among a group of scholars who reveal that the family is part of an ancient prophecy, and separate Max from his sisters, who find another group of exiles who works with them to use hone their magic gifts.
Narrated in the third person, the book is split into five parts, each from a main character’s perspective. There’s a lot of worldbuilding here, but it doesn’t always hold a reader’s interest. There’s a lot of time spent on the siblings’ wandering, with little to no action, and the characters just don’t do all that much. Subsequent books in the series will benefit from stronger, more fleshed-out characters and tighter action sequences. Devoted fantasy fans may give this one a shot if you booktalk it with readalikes: Narnia, Earthsea, and A Wrinkle in Time.