The Inquisitor's Apprentice

The Inquisitor's Apprentice

Book - 2011
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In early twentieth-century New York, Sacha Kessler's ability to see witches earns him an apprenticeship to the police department's star Inquisitor, Maximillian Wolf, to help stop magical crime and, with fellow apprentice Lily Astral, Sacha investigates who is trying to kill Thomas Edison, whose mechanical witch detector that could unleash the worst witch-hunt in American history.
Publisher: New York : Harcourt Children's Books, 2011.
ISBN: 9780547581354
0547581351
Branch Call Number: YA SCIFI Moriarty Chris 09/2011
Characteristics: 345 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Geyer, Mark

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litriocht Jun 17, 2014

In this alternative history set in turn-of-the-century America, magic exists and is strictly regulated. And the special branch of the police force tasked with this regulation is the Inquisitor division. Sacha and Lily have been chosen to be apprentices to the renowned Inquisitor Wolf.

These two children could not be more different from each other. Sacha is Jewish, has a loving family and the extraordinarily rare ability to see magic, and is quite poor. Lily is from one of the wealthiest families in the city, has a mother who cares more about socializing than her family, and is determinedly persistent rather than magical. Judaism is a major influence in Sacha's life. It is explored through the occasional use of Yiddish words, a few mentions of pogroms, and descriptions of Jewish family life in New York City at this time. On his walks through the city, Sacha longingly looks at the non-kosher, delicious-smelling food that Lily devours. Despite their differences, Sacha and Lily develop a mutual respect as the plot progresses.

Robber barons, the extremely rich industrialists of this era, are applying political pressure to eradicate the use of magic among the lower classes. The industrialists' goal is to make everyone reliant on scientific inventions instead of homemade magical items. The author implies the robber barons' evil intentions by renaming actual historical figures from American history: for instance, the Vanderbilts become the Vanderbilks while J. P. Morgan is known in this alternate world as J. P. Morgaunt. Although a dybbuk summoned by Morgaunt causes trouble throughout the story, J. P. Morgaunt is the main villain.

While the book lasts nearly 400 pages, action moves quickly in this successful mixture of historical and fantasy genres.

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green_guanaco_20
Apr 10, 2015

green_guanaco_20 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 99 and 1

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