This book opens with an old man being chased and leaving his servant/monster/Dobby to find Leven and take care of him. Old man dies.
Two babies are born, one a girl and one a boy. The boy’s mother dies so he has to be taken in by his horrible Aunt. Clover, the servant/monster/Dobby, sneaks into the swaddling of Leven, and is also taken home with him. One girl was born to an awful mother, but then a strange nurse switches her with another baby on purpose, and when the nurses wonder aloud about the baby having such a mean mother the new baby says that she will be fine.
Fast forward 14 years. Leven sleeps outside due to his caregivers not wanting him to bother them. Weird shadows try to come through the outside netting, but when he knocks on the door to be let inside they go away so his aunt forces him to stay outside. Clover reveals himself, he has apparently been with Leven since he was born, and says that it is time for Leven to save Foo. He also reminds Leven of the strange girl he keeps dreaming about, and says that she might be important to their journey. The next day, Leven is attacked in a field by two of the town bullies, and he shows that he has powers of electricity. Then he saves Clover from being eaten by having a vision of a hawk before it showed up, revealing that he is an offing (can see the future.
Winter belongs to a horrible mother. She is given six peas and a crust of bread for dinner every day, and on the day that is her 13th birthday she has had enough. She accidentally reveals her freezing powers, soaking some of her mom’s dinner and effectively scaring her. She then goes over to her friendly neighbor’s house for cake and leaves to go find the strange boy that she sees in her dreams the next day.
When the three meet up, Clover tells them that they need to find Geth in order to close the Gate before the evil person that has been sending the shadows, Sabine, escapes Foo.
The premise of the story was interesting. A world that people can enter accidentally, but cannot escape because it is needed for the balance of the human and dream world. However, the story seemed to have a lot of good ideas in the beginning that were given up in the end. Winter seemed to be the only one who really had useful powers by the end. That whole “offing” thing was rarely useful in the right ways. It was used to manipulate the future so that they could get money from random people. But it was not useful when it took them half the dang book to find Geth when he should have been able to simply locate him using his powers. I got bored by the middle of the book, and it was a struggle to finish the entire thing. To me, it seemed like they were trying to do the typical “orphans get powers and get told that they are really a part of a magical world and that’s why their life has sucked up to that point” but it just seemed weird and uninteresting. Not to mention the villain seemed evil, but we don’t really know why he’s evil, and by being stuck in Foo besides the gate he doesn’t seem that dangerous. Foo is being put as a really nice place to live, so why would he want to control it and be evil anyway? I might finish this series to see if it improves any, however this was quite an underwhelming first book.
Overall Rating: 1.75/5