I loved this book! I listened to the audiobook, and I really liked the New Zealand accent of the narrator. When I was sixteen my family had a year in California, and my best friend was the daughter of a family who moved there from New Zealand just after we arrived. I haven’t seen her since, and I have sadly lost touch even though I truly loved her the way teenage girls love their best friends.
Anyhoo, this book is set in New Zealand, and the main character (or really the brother of the main character, as a lot of the story is told from the point of view of the brother) has the ability to ‘read characters (or objects) out of books’. Which is to say that if he concentrates really hard when reading, his interpretation of something or someone he is reading about starts to exist as a real thing in the ‘real world’. In the world of the book, this is something that happens from time to time but very few people have to ability to do it at will. There is a quite funny thing that there are many manifestations of Darcy from Pride and Prejudice because many people have strong reactions to reading about him!
The brother who can do this is a Dickens scholar, so many of his manifestations are Dickens characters, although he also reads Conan Doyle, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allan Poe, and Roald Dhal amongst others, and I had great fun recognising much loved characters from my reading past!
There is peril because some bad person has hatched a plot to take over the real world and replace it with a world only for book characters and the brothers and their bookish allies have to foil it.
I loved it so much that a bought another audiobook by H.G Parry, which I am currently slogging through and not loving (sorry) more to follow…