Ross Mackenzie, Floris Books (OCTOBER) Softcover $9.95 (288pp), 978-1-78250-519-8
In Ross Mackenzie’s The Elsewhere Emporium, the magical Nowhere Emporium is so large that you couldn’t see everything in it, even if you had a lifetime to look.
Daniel and Ellie live in the Nowhere Emporium, which Daniel inherited from Ellie’s father; they run its attractions for the outside world, managing the magic inside. The wonders of the Nowhere Emporium are never ending, arising purely from its owner’s imagination. But one day, the Emporium disappears. As fantastical as the Emporium can be, Daniel and Ellie know that it would be a dangerous place if its ownership fell into the wrong hands.
The story line diverges into two: one set in the present day, and one in the past. Back in 1967, Mr. Ivy, the chief of the Bureau of Magical Investigation; a young boy named Flintwitch; and an undead woman called Mrs. Hennypeck attempt to stop a shadow monster on the rampage. In the present, Daniel and Ellie search for the Emporium with the help of a flying carpet and numerous magical people, including Peg, the caretaker of a power island, and Mort Folio, a bookkeeper.
While this is a sequel, this captivating adventure establishes itself as its own, with enough summary to keep the reader present. The dual timelines work well together, providing information along an even distribution and never pushing ahead of each other. As a portion of one story line is told, the other makes more sense, and the result is gratifying.
The book rushes along, with its characters rarely in one place for long as they work to stop a villain and retrieve the Emporium. The Nowhere Emporium is an exciting fantasy that operates with a daredevil sense of urgency.