Welcome to Zombay, a town full of mystery, magic and make-believe. Once upon a time, Rownie lived there with his mother and his older brother. But his mother drowned in the town's vast River; and then his brother vanished; so now Rownie runs through Zombay's riddlesome streets orphaned and all alone ...alone except for Graba, the coddle-headed, ...
Welcome to Zombay, a town full of mystery, magic and make-believe. Once upon a time, Rownie lived there with his mother and his older brother. But his mother drowned in the town's vast River; and then his brother vanished; so now Rownie runs through Zombay's riddlesome streets orphaned and all alone ...alone except for Graba, the coddle-headed, chicken-legged witch who offers him shelter along with the other stray children she has collected - her Grubs. Rownie suspects that his brother's love of acting - which is severely outlawed in Zombay - led to his disappearance; so when Rownie encounters a theatrical troupe of goblins daring to perform a play for the townspeople (with masks and stage-tricks and everything!) he wonders whether they might hold the key to discovering what happened to his brother ...and perhaps even help him find him again. Thus opens a dazzling heroic adventure - of immense love, loss and all-conquering courage - in which one boy's quest for the truth, leads him to learn his greatest power may lie in his mighty and boundless imagination ...
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Publishers Weekly, 2013-03-25 Young Rownie is on a quest to find his actor brother, who disappeared from the town of Zombay, a place where acting is outlawed. His search finds him joining a troupe of goblin actors who teach him things about the world he will need in his journey. As a narrator, William Alexander turns in a solid performance. He reading is well paced. He lends drama to his young adult novel and ably creates distinctive character voices. However, his narration doesn't always capture the tone of the book. His voice is soft and slightly nasal and he sometimes overpronounces words-and this will prevent some listeners from getting lost in the fantasy. Ages 8-12. A Margaret K. McElderry hardcover. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2012-02-06 In Alexander's debut novel, set in the magical, steampunk-inflected land of Zombay, a young orphan named Rownie lives in the household of Graba the witch, running errands and scavenging food where he can. His older brother, Rowan, used to live with Rownie and Graba's band of "Grubs," but Rowan was arrested for putting on a mask and acting-in Zombay, citizens are forbidden to pretend to be other than they are-and has disappeared. When a troupe of goblins arrives to put on a play, Rownie sneaks away to see them and angers Graba enough that he's forced to flee. He accepts sanctuary from the goblins, joining their troupe and mounting a search for Rowan, but Graba is hunting Rownie, and there are dire warnings that long-prophesied floods are coming to wipe out Zombay. Alexander has an intriguing central theme, in which masks and theater create actual magic, but the story is slow to develop. The result is a (sometimes gruesome) fantasy stuffed with interesting ideas that don't quite have room to breathe. Ages 8-12. Agent: Joe Monti, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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