"A thoroughly original magical world marks this witty debut” YA fantasy of a young girl’s adventure into the dangerous labyrinth of her own home (Kirkus, starred review).
Thirteen-year-old Flora Fyrdraaca knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall. The house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake.
With her dreaded fourteenth birthday coming up, Flora faces the fate of her namesake sister—the first Flora—who was sent off to war and never returned. With her mother off leading the military and her father a few marbles short, can anyone blame her for getting lost in her own house? Only then Flora stumbles upon the long-banished butler, and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that will change her world forever.
This ebook features a teaser chapter from the second Flora book, Flora’s Dare.
In her first novel, Wilce imagines a living castle a kind of blending of Gormenghast and Hogwarts and she breathes life into her tale with a wry sense of humor. The book opens as narrator Flora Fyrdraaca, the heroine of the title, is about to turn 14, a rite of passage that qualifies her to enter military training. She spends her days mostly alone inside her family's castle, Crackpot Hall. Its 11,000 rooms have started to decay since Flora's mother, the Warlord's Commanding General, fired the magical Butler. Flora's father "only comes out of his Eyrie when the booze and cigarillos run out." Rushing to avoid being late to school, Flora takes the forbidden Elevator and ends up lost within her home and meets the banished magical Butler, Valefor, in a forgotten library. Valefor convinces Flora to give him some of her "Anima," her "magickal essence," and he grows stronger. The plot detours into a convoluted back story about warring kingdoms; this leads to the tale of the "Dainty Pirate," whom Flora and her friend Udo then rescue from the gallows. The pirate warns Flora that Valefor is actually sucking her "Will" away, and the two friends begin a hunt for a "Semiote Verb" that will restore Flora's strength. Wilce takes the kitchen-sink approach to storytelling at times the narrative borders on self-indulgent (e.g., "Oh ugh and disgusting and yucky-yuck"); hence some readers may feel that the book is overlong though certainly good-natured and enjoyable. Ages 12-up.