Monday, September 6, 2021

Penny Preston and the King's Blade (Misaligned #3), by Armen Pogharian (author), Michelle Babb (narrator)

Sue Arroyo, August 2021 (original publication November 2014)

Penny Preston, her friend Duncan, teacher Mr. Myrdin (who is the actual Merlin), Myrdin's companion Master Poe--an exile from the 7th dimension who has assumed raven form in our world, and not least, Penny's companion, Simon, who looks like a very large housecat but is actually a cait sith, one of a race of transdimensional cat-like beings native to our dimension, might have thought they were entitled to a break after their last two adventures. That's not to be, however. A new threat has arrived, a beast from the 5th dimension, is attacking the barriers between the dimensions, threatening the very survival of the multiverse.

At first, all they know is that the weakening of the dimensional barriers is happening. Before they can save the multiverse, they have to figure out what the source of the threat really is.

Penny is attacked by a merman during swimming practice. A shapeshifter with Peter Pan-like skills snares a woman visiting the local clothing store, and is rescued by Simon. A project at the Monroe Institute, where Penny's parents both work as theoretical physicists, is attempting to create sustained nuclear fusion, and is instead getting bizarre surges of energy that don't match any known forms of energy. They've been referring to it as "transdimensional energy," a phrase Penny and her friends find rather disturbing.

And there's a robin flitting around, a European robin, which shouldn't be in New York; it should be on the other side of the Atlantic. Simon keeps calling it "the bird that is not a bird."

There's also a strangely powerful new bodach, who after 1600 years is determined to get revenge on the lesser bodach that helped King Arthur defeat her, as well as on pretty much the entire universe for getting ousted from her role as Prime Principal in the 5th dimension, and exiled to our far more limited dimension. Even she is a lesser threat, though, compared to the ghostly, seven foot tall wild boar who has been near the Monroe Institute's fusion reactor.

Penny and Duncan are real kids, despite their magical and universe-defending responsibilities. They worry about school work, indulge in favorite foods, have normal misunderstandings, and just play. They do great things, but they're kids, responsible kids, but normal kids, not superheroes. It's part of what makes these books a lot of fun.


I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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