Brain to Books Blog Tour
Jacob is nine. He’s often hungry, and sometimes cold.
He never knows if his father will return.
We meet Jacob as he’s clutching half a peanut butter sandwich and angling away from the other kids during lunch at school. He doesn’t want them to see his poverty. Jacob despises their judging eyes, but fear eats at him. The fear of being taken away. Of never seeing his father again.
Only one thing makes that day different from any other. The new girl. Her name is Emilia, and when she asks if she can join him for lunch, Jacob gladly agrees. He doesn’t envy Emilia her overstuffed lunch bag, though it contains more food than Jacob sees in a week. Gladly, she shares with him; making it clear that there is no way in the world she can eat it all.
There is something immensely satisfying in seeing a lonely, neglected child fed over the course of two years. For Jacob is fed not just in body, but in mind and soul by his friendship with Emilia and her family. We know from the beginning that what he shares with Emilia isn’t mere friendship. While theirs is the pure, innocent love of children, it promises to blossom into something deeper as they grow older.
Jacob isn’t just different in suffering heartbreaking poverty and being mature well past his years on account of it. He has magical ability. The day he inadvertently heals Emily is the last day he sees her.
For five long years, Jacob copes. He makes money of his own, managing to feed himself and pay the bills. His father is still missing in action most of the time, but Jacob is used to that. Only Emilia’s absence tortures him. That ceases to be a consideration on the day he’s called to the principal’s office and told his father is dead.
Every window in the school explodes. And after five long years, Emilia appears again. Just when Jacob didn’t feel his life couldn’t shatter any further, she informs him of his magical ability. With it come dire implications. Checks and balances apply in the magical world, too.
Unintentionally or not, the magical ability Jacob launched on the school could be construed as an act of magical terrorism. Thanks to the Dragons, a dangerous group of rebel wizards, such acts are becoming distressingly common. Soon, a trial is scheduled to determine Jacob’s guilt or innocence. Before it starts, Jacob gets a taste of a world he badly wants to belong to.
I didn’t want Jacob to go to trial. I wanted him to explore the magic he’d just discovered, pursue the connection he had with Emilia, and form friendships with his peers for the first time in his life. But O’Russell wisely didn’t grant my wish. It is our longing for a great outcome that propels our eyes forward in any given book, and this gifted author parcels out Jacob’s victories and defeats with a stingy hand. O’Russell kept me satisfied, yet always longing for more.
When the Dragons put Emilia’s life in danger, Jacob goes after her. Love compels him, but justice plays its part, too. Emilia rescued Jacob, once upon a time. Jacob owes her. If he must pay with his life to save hers, then that’s exactly what Jacob is prepared to do. It is here, that readers will stumble upon a thrilling twist – several of them, in fact. Twists that left me happy to have inhaled The Tethering in a single night. Twists that led me to eagerly anticipate the next installment in this planned series by this tremendously talented author.
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