Amari and the Great Game

by B. B. Alston
First sentence: “I sprint down the sidewalk, flying past designer boutiques, luxury shops, and a fancy art gallery.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Others in the series: Amari and the Night Brothers
Content: There is some bullying by other kids (and some adults) and some intense moments. It’s in the Middle Grade (grades 3-5) of the bookstore.

Spoilers for the first book, obviously.

It’s the start of her first full summer as Junior Agent and Amari Peters is excited. Sure, her brother is still in a magically-induced coma that no one can figure out. and, sure the under-Prime Minister (or something like that) is making a stink about having magicians in the Bureau. But Amari’s going to have a great summer. That is until a time-freeze happens and it doesn’t affect her. It’s so powerful, though, that it has to be a magician’s doing, and it’s left the entire Magical council frozen. Suddenly, what was going to be a great summer turns into one full of suspicion and increasingly hostile circumstances at camp. On top of which, Amari has been challenged to a Great Game with none other than Dylan, for the Crown of the League of Magicians.

Is Amari up to all the challenges?

I love a good series, and this is quite a good series. Alston keeps up the level of action and suspense while having Amari do something that’s familiar – investigate a problem that’s leading to discrimination against magicians – while also making it new and fresh. There are some of the same faces as well as new ones, a lot of the same challenges which Amari handles better – or just differently, and some new faces mixed in as well. It’s familiar without being stale, which is nice.

And Alston knows how to spin a good tale: he keeps up the pace while still allowing Amari and her friends to become fully fleshed-out people. I haven’t liked a series this much since Percy Jackson, and I’m looking forward to the next one!

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