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Flora Segunda    by Ysabeau S. Wilce Amazon.com order for
Flora Segunda
by Ysabeau S. Wilce
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Ysabeau S. Wilce's Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog is a fresh take on the young adult fantasy genre. Although this is her first novel and occasionally rough around the edges, Wilce shows an infinite depth of imagination often lacking in comparable novels.

Flora Nemain Fydraaca ov Fydraaca is busy preparing for her Catorcena, or fourteenth birthday coming-of-age ceremony, an event she is truly dreading. Things wouldn't be so bad if her mother wasn't always gone, busy with her job as a general of the city of Califa; or if her father wasn't crazy and always spending time up in his eyrie, except when he comes down to eat, which usually results in things being thrown and the dogs getting loose; or if her house's magickal butler had not been banished to the biblioteca where he is attempting to write his autobiography; or if she did not have to go to the Barracks upon reaching her age of majority (she would rather be a ranger than in the military like the rest of her family has always been).

Despite all of Flora's dreads, her life is pretty normal until the day she is late for school, tries to take the elevator to her room, and stumbles upon the banished butler who tries to take her Will. Flora wants to free the butler, but someone more important needing their freedom comes first her best friend's hero, the Dainty Pirate, is about to be executed. In their efforts to rescue the polite, high-seas robber, Flora and her friend Udo try all sorts of rangering techniques and meet up with all sorts of helpful and hurtful characters. Through their adventures, though, Flora learns that when her butler took some of her Will, she began fading. The race is now on to save Flora herself from disappearing forever.

Wilce displays great imagination in her creation of the culture and citizens of the city of Califa. The characters are all well-described and some of the culture's formalities are funny. While Flora's world is solid, some of the plot, however, is not. By the end of the book, there are a few questions left unanswered, one in particular that seems like it might have been forgotten until the very last page, yet is still never really brought back up. All of this leaves me wondering if Wilce is planning a sequel to Flora Segunda. I hope so, because I would like to see what kind of adventures Flora and Udo have next.

Listen to a podcast interview with the author at WrittenVoices.com

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