The Trilogy of Two

Publisher: Pushkin Children's Books

Review

Identical twins Charlotte and Sonja are musical prodigies: Sonja plays the flute, Charlotte the piano. Yet, the music that first enchanted audiences at Pershing Crum’s Travelling Circus has started to do strange things, terrifying audiences by levitating the sisters in mid-air as they play.

Their adopted mother Tatty Tatters, the tattooed lady, has protected them since she found them abandoned as babies, but is unable to stop the evil Kats Von Stralen stealing the girls’ Talents, as he is stealing from children at schools for the gifted across the realm.

Yet Tatty’s tattoos are more than pretty pictures, and the sisters embark on an epic adventure using them as a map to unlock the secrets of their past.

Fans of Philip Pullman’s sophisticated fantasy will love Juman Malouf’s intricate, strange world of urchin children in a shadowy world full of evil cats, mysterious spheres, circus performers and a remarkable cast of ragtag characters.

If adults reading The Trilogy of Two to their children find the imagery familiar, it might be because Malouf has worked on quirky adult films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel; her aesthetic comes through in her first novel, which is a complete joy.

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