Out of Abaton: The Wooden Prince
written by John Claude Bemis
Source: I bought it!
Over the tree-topped hill behind them, a figure rose in the air, long wings stretching from his back, red armor glittering in the sunlight. The happiness drained from Pinocchio.
This ain't your Momma or Daddy's Pinocchio. There's nothing cute about a sword wielding automa who will break your arm if you get to close to him. Pinocchio starts off locked in a trunk in the village of San Baldovino. Wine-soaked Don Antonio and imperial airman Captain Toro open the trunk and ask the puppet about his master. Pinocchio replies that his master is Geppetto. Not the kindly shoemaker that you remember from animation. This Geppetto is considered a traitor by the Venetian Empire. He is the former high alchemist to the ruler of Venice. What follows is a spellbinding journey for the wooden boy as he seeks out his maker, his place in the world, and runs with a cast of characters including a princess and a cricket who is anything but a conscience.
I don't read many novels, but I'm glad I sought this one out. It's a perfect read to do what the best books do which is take you away to another world. We talk about wanting students to be in a reading zone. This book will get them there. This adventure is lean and mean. It doesn't suffer from parts that lag with too much information or dialogue. It's action packed from the start. What Bemis does is take your expectations and laugh at them. He transforms a familiar cutesy character into an action hero, but retains the heart of the story that we all remember. Once I started reading, it was difficult to put this fascinating fantasy down. That's when you know you have a winner.