Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Book & Audio Review: Wood Sprites by Wen Spencer

Wood Sprites

Wen Spencer
Narrator: Tanya Eby
Series: Elfhome (Book 4); Tinker (Book 4)
Publication: Baen Books; 1st edition (August 15, 2014); Audible Studios (December 12, 2014)
Length: 543 p.; 17 hours and 55 minutes

Description: Even though they attend a school of gifted students in New York City, child geniuses Louise Mayer and her twin sister Jillian have always felt alone in the world, isolated by their brilliance. Shortly before their ninth birthday, they make an amazing discovery. They’re not alone.

Their real mother was astronaut Esme Shenske and their father was the famous inventor, Leonardo Dufae. They have an older sister, Alexander, living on the planet of Elfhome, and four siblings still in cryogenic storage at the fertility center. There’s only one problem: the frozen embryos are scheduled to be destroyed within six months. The race is on to save their baby brother and sisters.

As a war breaks out on Elfhome and riots start in New York City, the twins use science and magic to plow over everything standing in their way. But when they come face to face with an ancient evil force, they’re soon in over their heads in danger.

My Thoughts: The fourth Elfhome book tells the story of nine-year-old fraternal twins Louise and Jillian Mayer. They are geniuses who attend a school for the gifted in New York City as scholarship students. Their parents are an event planner and a technician at a fertility bank. They are also film makers who have written and produced a series of films that are parodies of Elfhome.

Just before their ninth birthday, after an explosion that destroyed their playhouse/film studio, they discover that their parents are not genetically their parents. This immediately sends them on a quest to discover who their biological parents were. They learn that their parents were astronaut Esme Shenske and their father was Leonardo Dufae. They learn that they have an older sister named Alexander on Elfhome and four younger siblings still in the fertility bank.

When they learn that their four younger siblings are slated for disposal, they become determined to rescue them. 

Their plans to rescue their siblings lead to lots of computer hacking, learning that their ancestors were elves, a secret chest taken from Elfhome hundreds of years earlier by one of their ancestors, a museum break-in, learning more about their birth mother who left cryptic clues which are showing up in Louise's dreams, and an evil plot. 

They find that they have more allies and friends than they could have imagined. Because along with the quest to rescue their siblings, they are still sort of normal fifth graders who are working on their class play - Peter Pan - and making new friends from among their classmates. It is from those friends that they learn that they are famous because of their videos and even have a stash of money online that the videos have produced. But their greatest ally is a baby dragon that they name Joy whom they rescued from the secret elvish chest.

The story was long and filled with lots of different events. I liked the way Louise and Jillian interacted. I liked their different personalities and different ways of dealing with the many difficult situations they face in the story. I liked that Louise, who had always felt like the lesser twin in looks and personality, finds her strengths during the story and becomes the hero. 

This story happens concurrently with the previous Elfhome books and readers who know them will also know what is happening outside the scope of this story but which have great impact on it. There are a couple of overlapping characters but they have small roles here. 

Tanya Eby did an excellent job narrating the story and did a good job showing two brilliant young girls who were still only nine years old. Their brilliance made it something of a shock when they ran up against something they couldn't do because of their age - like traveling alone, renting hotel rooms, buying healthy food and regular clothing, signing contracts, opening bank accounts. Their genius did allow them to find their way around most of the problems though.

I recommend it to fans of urban fantasy and especially those who have read the other Elfhome books. 

Favorite Quote:
Louise Georgina Mayer learned many important life lessons the week before her ninth birthday. The first was that flour was indeed explosive. The second was not to experiment with explosives indoors -- or at least not in a small wooden playhouse that doubled as a film studio. The third was that adults -- firemen, EMTs, policemen, her parents -- liked to state the obvious when trying to make a point. Yes, she realized that they'd miscalculated while still airborne -- thank you very much. The fourth was that her twin sister rocked -- Jillian sat there with blood streaming down her face and managed a wide-eyed story of innocence that pinned the entire event on their Barbie dolls. Fifth was that people believed the stupidest things if you delivered the story while bleeding.

Sixth was that her parents were liars. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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