A Box of Gargoyles, by Anne Nesbet

When A Box of Gargoyles, by Anne Nesbet (HarperCollins, May 2013), opens, its young heroine, Maya, is finally enjoying life--her evil ancestor has been defeated (as was told in last year's The Cabinet of Earths), her mother's health is improving, and she has ten days of vacation from school in which to enjoy Paris in the company of her Bulgarian friend, Valko.  But her peace of mind is shattered when she is plunged into a new adventure of magical mayhem.  Unfortunatly, the evil ancestor is not as thoroughly defeated as one might like, and is manipulating Maya with his sorcerous skills into bringing him back to unnatural life. 

The ripple effects of the magic are spreading throughout Paris, and the two gargoyles that have taken up residence on Maya's fire escape are the least of it.   Maya and Volko, with the help of a new character,  Pauline (younger, but prodigiously intelligent), must figure out just what is going on in the midst of all the insanity that is overcoming Paris (starting with the strange affair of the stone wall around the Bulgarian embassy....which has the uniquly fascinting effect of Bulgarianizing the magic that ripples through the city).

And the most interesting, important question of all (to me, at least)-- is the beautiful, fascinating egg the gargoyles give to Maya for safekeeping good or bad? 

The egg was my favorite part of the book, but I enjoyed the book as a whole considerably-- following along with Maya and Valko as they picked their way through a torturous web of magic, wondering if Maya would be able to find choices that could make a difference in the face of a fate that seems almost inescapable.

Real-world storylines--the worrying health of Maya's mother, and the threat that Valko might be taken back to Bulgaria--add further interest to an already rich plot. The relationship between Maya and Valko is a lovely boy/girl friendship, that might develope into something more, but which is very nicely taking its time.

You don't necessarily have to have read The Cabinet of Earths to enjoy this one, but it wouldn't hurt.

In a nutshell-- if you enjoy smart kids, trying to use logic to defeat evil magic, and if you want to visit a Paris in the grip of enchantment, this is a good one.

Here's what Kirkus said, and a meaty blog review at A Wrinkle in the Pages


  1. I feel like a lot of the fantasy I've read lately has combined real life issues with the fantastic story to good effect.

  2. I loved The Cabinet of Earths and can't wait to read Box of Gargoyles!

  3. I read a sample of The Cabinet of Earths and loved it but I still have to read the whole book. This one might be the incentive I needed.
    Thank You. :)

  4. I hope you enjoy this one, Laurisa and Akoss! I think I might actually have enjoyed it more--it was less viscerally tense than the first one.

    1. I agree that it was less tense, which I usually prefer!--but I missed some of the family dynamics in this one (Maya and her mother, and James!).

  5. Oh, that sounds really good! Gotta find a copy of this one!


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