Magically mesmerizing and moving… A thrilling ride.
Zee’s debut installment in The Munchkins series is an emotional roller coaster of a close-knit family in crisis, tempered by a touch of magic and resilience and highly likable protagonists. With their past memory lost, Capricorn Munch and her twelve siblings have no idea who they are or where they come from. But the children soon find their forever home after Casey Munch adopts them together. At ten, all of them stop aging and develop magical powers. But their life stays fairly normal otherwise, with school, studies, and play. When a sinister stranger, who calls himself Big Boss, moves next door, the Munchs’ carefully constructed life begins to shatter. Capricorn knows Big Boss is plotting something sinister but has no idea how to stop the evilness. The mind-boggling plot is compelling, and the characters are sketched skillfully. The measured narrative expresses the siblings’ struggles with conflicting thoughts and emotions while keeping the action rolling. Zee carefully establishes Capri’s confusion and feelings of fear, her dread at Big Boss’s creepy ways and his relentless attacks at the Munchs. Twisty, Justin, and Kevin remain interesting throughout. Becky and little Carlie are equally compelling. Add in whip-smart and bold Allie, empathic and wise Breezy, and giddy and sweet Hazy, and you have a thoroughly entertaining cast of characters. Particularly endearing throughout this roller-coaster ride is Casey Munch, a tender-hearted, fiercely protective father, who’s ready to go to any length to protect his children. Big Boss comes out as a thoroughly creepy, intimidating villain. The siblings’ bond is etched in reality, and it is in this bond that they find hope and meaning that sustain them when they get entangled in Big Boss’s sinister scheming. There is plenty of suspense, and the action never slows down: Zee constantly jacks up the tension, ricocheting from catastrophe to disaster. The chapters detailing the siblings’ everyday lives are compelling. But once Big Boss enters the scene, it’s siblings’ struggle against him that drives the action. Zee’s exploration of sibling bond, parenting, courage, resilience, strength, patience, trauma, and what it means to be family serves as profound philosophical commentary. The cliffhanger climax provides both a satisfying ending and a great set-up for the next in the series. Told in a fast-paced narrative voice with complex characters, the exhilarating fantasy will keep readers guessing until the very end—all while falling in love with the quirky cast. The book deserved to be made into a movie or a web series.
(The Munchkins Book 1)
By Candice Zee
Pub date October 12, 2021
Price $7.99 (USD) Paperback, $0.99 Kindle edition