At the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, each suitcase transports you to a different world. All you have to do is step inside . . .
When 12-year-old Flick Hudson accidentally ends up in the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, she uncovers a fantastic secret: there are hundreds of other worlds just steps away from ours. All you have to do to visit them is jump into the right suitcase. Then Flick gets the invitation of a lifetime: join Strangeworlds’ magical travel society and explore other worlds.
But, unknown to Flick, the world at the very centre of it all, a city called Five Lights, is in danger. Buildings and even streets are mysteriously disappearing. Once Flick realizes what’s happening she must race against time, travelling through unchartered worlds, seeking a way to fix Five Lights before it collapses into nothingness — and takes our world with it.
Charming and imaginative, Strangeworlds Travel Agency delivered a delightful portal fantasy that felt like classic children’s literature – The Hobbit, Peter Pan, etc. Rather than action packed fantasy and battle scenes, this story is ripe with descriptive, imaginative worlds found throughout the multiverse by travelling through suitcases! Locations like the Crystal Forest where beautiful crystal trees grow, to the Coral City that rests on squashy ground perfect for jumping and home to a giant sweet shop of dreams. The worlds spark the imagination.
While Flick is wonderfully precocious and feisty, it is Jonathon’s prickly, know-it-all exterior hiding a soft, hurt soul that really stole my heart. I do wish some more time had been dedicated to Flick’s storyline surrounding her family and the struggles she faces bearing a heavy load of responsibility caring for her baby brother. This storyline was simply abandoned after a good portion of the first quarter of the book was dedicated to it and I would’ve liked to see more conclusion on that front.
The story itself took awhile to reach the “why” for me. While I loved all the individual worlds the characters were travelling to, it took a long time for the “villain” or “struggle” of the plot to fully emerge.
On the whole, Strangeworlds Travel Agency is a delightful new fantasy take on the multiverse; full of lovely, descriptive new worlds and a great friendship at its centre. The first instalment sets up the sequel very well but leaves the reader with a nice conclusion in itself. Sparkling with creativity and a classical, old literature feel, this one is a nice break from standard fantasy fare.
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