Author: Ian Baucom
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
Release Year: 2013
Siblings Jared, Shireen, and Miranda are staying in Venice with their parents, and they’re bored. Life suddenly becomes more interesting when they happen upon an old Venetian shopkeeper, who lets each of them pick out a treasure from a bag— two rings for Shireen and Miranda, and a wooden die for Jared. Once home, however, they realize that these aren’t just any rings or dice. In fact, they just might be magic. That night, their father begins reading to them from an old book, a tale from A Thousand and One Nights, that the shopkeeper had also given them. The book tells the story of a boy named Rashid, as well as two girls, Maria and Francesca. Slowly, Jared and his sisters begin to realize that the power of their treasures may be connected to the children in the book. And then…
A stone lion awakens.
A cat speaks to them.
A painted faun comes to life.
So the adventure commences! The lives of Jared, Shireen, and Miranda become intertwined with those of three other children; children who were alive centuries ago. The very ones whose names are mentioned in the book. Reading the book further, they discover a sinister plot, and it’s up to them to stop it! With the help of Silvio the faun, Maldini the cat, and Lorenzo il Piccolo the stone lion, they join forces with Rashid, Maria, and Francesca and use their magic relics to try save Venice— and hopefully making it out unscathed.
Through the Skylight is a suspenseful adventure story rich with detail— both historically and culturally. Blending elements of magic, fantasy, and real history, it creates quite the journey for Jared, Shireen, and Miranda. So, let’s start off by saying this: though I found this book to be a little uneven at times, I thought that it was overall a fun, interesting read. Venice was definitely the right choice for the setting; what better backdrop than a city so full of culture and whimsy? The characters were also an interesting bunch— two adopted kids from India, their blonde little sister, a wine-guzzling faun, a surly stone lion, a wise black cat, an evil monk, plus three children from the past who are in grave danger. It was refreshing to see such a diverse cast, though some characters felt a bit two-dimensional once in a while (*cough*Jared*cough*). The concept of the plot was intriguing as well but felt overwhelming and confusing at times since new obstacles and ideas kept cropping up as I read. I did, however, like that, without being too preachy, the book indirectly addresses ideas of prejudice and co-existing with people from different faiths, nationalities, and even time periods. If you’re a fan of enchanted quests and a historical-modern mix, then Through the Skylight is for you! 🙂