Tamara, age 13, Saltfleet Branch
I fell in love with this book from just the front cover. It was captivating. As I began to read, I did not want to put the book down.Matt, a boy living in present day England, buys a weird book from an antique store and that night is transported into 16th century Talia, which is like an old Italy. Matt learns that he is a Stravaganti, someone sent here because he was terribly sad to accomplish a mission. He is not the only Stravaganti in his town; he learns a few kids from his school, Sky, Georgia and Nick have also stravagated before. Matt returns to Talia every night and works as an apprentice in the Scriptorium, waiting for his big mission. The tale is a worthwhile one filled with action and excitement because it is told through the eyes of different characters, and there are many various characters in themselves. For instance, there are the Manoush who are goddess worshippers and wea vibrant clothing and play exuberant musical instruments. Then there is the powerful but vastly evil di Chimici family who try to capture the independant states left in Talia and rid them of all magic. Matt comes face to face with the di Chimicis when he is captured by Rinaldo after the man notices Matt has no shadow (all stravaganti have no shadows). In the end though, with the help of his friends, Matt's quest is to save thirty Manoush from being unjustly burned at the stake. The relationships and friendships between the characters are what truly makes this story so great because without trust and strength in numbers, Matt couldn't have fulfilled his quest. And without deeply rooted hatred, the di Chimici wouldn't be so cruel in the first place. I guess the real reason I adored this story though was the though of travelling back in time. Imagine how different the world was then!