Melinda and Felix Hutton are just an ordinary pair of siblings, until their parents confess that they have all inherited the talent of metamorphosis, a revelation that begins to unravel the children’s world. Ten-year-old Melinda embraces her Athenite heritage, but her efforts often end up leaving her freckled face attached to feathered body with a twitching rat’s tail. Her older brother Felix doesn’t greet this new reality as something to celebrate. Wishing he were normal, Felix resents becoming parts of the myths and fables he’s read. But there’s a threat rising just as the children are learning of their talents, and a powerful enemy will use every trick and tool he has to keep the family from letting slip the secret of their gifts. With only the help of Melinda’s pet rabbit Aesop, who has begun acting awfully strange lately, Felix and Melinda determinedly fight back against the suffocating grasp of those who want to drive the Huttons and their kind back underground.
The first thing that grabs your attention about this book is its cover. No, really! Talk about unique and interesting! I wasn’t sure what to expect with this little book, and was very pleasantly sucked into the storyline of Melinda, Felix and their family’s unique abilities. It has somewhat of a Chronicles of Narnia vibe and is a little reminiscent of the beginning of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe (without the wardrobe, obviously). When Melinda and her brother Felix are told that their family has the unique ability to morph into animals and they are called Athenites their worlds are turned upside down. How would they respond to this revelation? I loved how carefree and fun loving Melinda embraces her new found magic and tries to perfect changing into animals, while Felix, the more serious and analytical of the two siblings, wants nothing to do with his family’s legacy. Felix escapes to France to study abroad, but things are not as they seem in his new surroundings. The best part to me was to see the two siblings come together in the end and work together to try and save their family against an evil power hungry villain, who reminded me a lot of a sneaky Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events. The story flows well and kept me entertained.
Middle Grade readers will be intrigued by the cover of Aesop’s Secrets, and hooked by its storyline. A mix of magic, a little science, and great cast of characters makes this a nice little book. I could see it be used as a successful read aloud too!
Disclaimer – I was sent this book by the author. I was not compensated for this review.