Title: The Book of Dead Days
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Length: 273 pages
Plot Basics: Boy spends his life as the famulus for the magician Valerian, assisting him with his stage show and doing his bidding, hoping to please the enigmatic man. During the dead days between Christmas and New Year's Valerian sends Boy on an errand to retrieve some vital information for him. When the errand goes awry, Boy, Valerian and Boy's friend Willow start a race against time to find a piece of knowledge to keep Valerian alive.
Banter Points: Gripping and un-put-down-able. Sedgwick keeps the tension high throughout the whole story but doesn't lose his wonderfully sparse and lyrical style because of it. One part "The Prestige," one part "The Gunslinger" and one part invention, Sedgwick delivers all around with "Dead Days."
Bummer Points: Word Nerd wishes this were actually an adult book instead of a YA title because she's interested to see how Sedgwick would have ramped up all the characters.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Grab a copy and read it in the bright light of the day because you won't want to read it in the dark!