I have heard about Avi for a long time; he has written a ton of young adult novels and after reading the synopsis for this novel I decided it was probably an Avi novel that I would enjoy. I was mostly curious about what all of the buzz about Avi was about. This book was an okay children's book; nothing spectacular but amusing and interesting.
Fabrizio is the apprentice to the former court Magician; his master stopped practicing magic when he was accused by the King of dark magic. The former Magician has lived in seclusion since the King's accusion and has focused on sharpening his reasoning skills instead of his illusion skills. Then the King is forced to call on the Magician for assisstance when the King's daughter is haunted by a terrifying ghost. Fabrizio comes along to help the Magician solve this mystery. As time goes on Fabrizio begins to wonder if the hauntings are real or if a more elaborate scheme is playing out.
This was a solid mystery story set in medieval times. It was not really a fantasy, as the magic involved is more your traditional slight-of-hand type. All of the characters were okay, but none of them really stood out. They were all your typical types of characters for a story such as this one. The mystery surrounding the hauntings was interesting, but easily solved very early on in the book which was a bit disappointing.
The only thing that really stood out in this book for me was all the clever bits of wisdom that Fabrizio spouts throughout. They were clever and cute; sometimes the banter of clever sayings between Fabrizio and his master were fun to read too.
In general this book was okay, somewhat engaging, yet forgettable. I thought it was more of a children's book than a young adult novel. It didn't make me want to go out and read a ton more of Avi's books.
As an adult reader, I found the story to be a little immature and 'light', but I think children and pre-teens would enjoy it. There is nothing unsuited for young children; there is not even any magic, only slight of hand. Plot twists abound, as well as secret passageways and intrigue. Not my favorite kids' book, but not bad. It's not enough to make me seek out anything else by the author.