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Review: The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar from Elsewhere by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar from Elsewhere by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar From Elsewhere
Jaclyn Moriarty
Allen & Unwin
Published November 1, 2022

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About The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar from Elsewhere

Let me get this straight. I’m on a trip with the following people:
1) Bronte, a girl who makes magical ‘Spellbinding’ rings,
2) Alejandro, a former pirate/current prince who can shoot arrows and make fire from stones,
3) Imogen, who can read broken maps and is a kickboxing master,
4) Esther, who saved her entire world from some kind of ancient monster,
5) Astrid, a smart ten year old who can read minds, and
6) Gruffudd, a surprisingly speedy (and always hungry) Elf.

And who am I? Just a kid who skips school to ride a skateboard.

The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar from Elsewhere is the account of Monday through Friday of last week. That’s when Oscar found himself on a quest to locate nine separate pieces of a key, held by nine separate people, in order to unlock a gluggy silver spell that had trapped the Elven city of Dun-sorey-lo-vay-lo-hey. The quest was an urgent one. Friday at noon, the spell would become permanent, the Elves would be crushed to death and Oscar would be trapped in this magical world forever. (The account, it should be noted, has been written at the request of a small public school’s Deputy Principal. She wants to know exactly what Oscar considered more important than coming to school last week.)

From the award-winning Jaclyn Moriarty comes an enchanting tale of cryptic challenges, breathtaking danger and 360 kick flips.

My Review

Years ago I read A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty, and I remember really liking her writing style and the way that her characters have a lot going on inside them. It was also a portal book, so I figured another portal book by Moriarty would be a good idea.

And it was. Just like her other book, I found this one to have a great cast of characters. I enjoyed the banter and layered emotions between them. Though it’s the fourth book in the series, I didn’t have any trouble following what was happening. There are some references to events that happened before this book began, some of them from previous books in the series, but they were explained well enough for me to follow. This adventure features characters from earlier books in the series, but it’s a pretty self-contained adventure.

The only thing I wish had been a little different is that the characters had many conversations or arguments. They were always quippy and fun, so the scenes weren’t boring. I guess after a while, it didn’t feel fresh anymore? Despite that, I still enjoyed the conversations between the characters.

I think readers who enjoy portal books, especially books about magical quests, will find a lot to love in this book. The storytelling is pretty gentle, but there’s a lot of humor and fun.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Oscar is Australian. The other characters are from made up places. At least one is described as having bronze skin.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Some characters have the ability to perform magic. Some use it to cause harm, and others use it for protection.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. One battle scene.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of THE ASTONISHING CHRONICLES OF OSCAR FROM ELSEWHERE in exchange for my honest review.

Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White (The Colours of Madeleine #1)
Jaclyn Moriarty
Arthur A Levine Books/Scholastic, Inc.
Published April 1, 2013

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About A Corner of White

In real-world London, Madeleine and her mother are runaways. Together they escaped from a previous life in which they were rich and lived all over the world. At first Madeleine thought their leaving was a lark. The truth is something she may never be ready to accept.

Elliot, resident of the land of Cello, prepares for his next trip away. He’s been searching for his father, who went missing the night his uncle died. Rumors say a purple murdered his uncle and dragged his father and a local woman to its cave as prisoners. If Elliot can catch the right spell, he can find them and bring them home.

When a letter from Cello asking for help turns up in a parking meter in London, Madeleine answers it, believing it’s probably a prank of some kind. As she corresponds with Elliot, who receives her letters in Cello, she begins to wonder if what he says could be real. Could there really be another world, one connected only by a crack the size of a folded note?

As problems swell around both Madeleine and Elliot, they look to each other for confidence as they struggle to sort things out. Madeleine takes refuge in knowledge. Elliot must guard the “Butterfly Child,” a tiny girl who may be able to save his town from ruin.

My Review

Madeleine and Elliot’s journeys are wildly imaginative and fun. From the color attacks that plague the people of cello to the vivid characters of Madeleine’s friends and teachers, the story stays interesting as the conflict grows.

As Elliot explains where he lives and what it’s like, Madeleine responds with criticism for the lack of creativity in the names of the locations and the strangeness of his world. It’s kind of funny because it’s the sort of criticism a reader might give a writer, but within the story, Cello is a real place. I enjoyed that bit of paradox.

I thought I knew where the story was headed, and in part I was right. There were some elements that emerged, though, that I really didn’t see coming. They made for a great set-up leading into the sequel to the story, THE CRACKS IN THE KINGDOM, which came out in March of 2014.

Content Notes

Profanity/Crude Language
Moderate profanity used very infrequently.

Sexual Content
Brief kissing. Vague references to Elliot’s romantic history as a heartbreaker.

Spiritual Content
One of Madeleine’s friends believes in astrological signs and the other believes in reading auras. Both have some minor significance in the plot. In Cello, spells can be captured from a magical lake.

In Elliot’s world, waves of color attack people with varied levels of intensity. His uncle died from an attack by a purple the night his father disappeared. Elliot was the one who found his body (described briefly.)

Drug Content