Format: E-Galley, 384 pages
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Fans of Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, and Kristin Cashore will be captivated by this stunning first book in a must-have new fantasy trilogy about a spy who can vanish at will and who discovers that monsters, mystery, and magic are also lurking—just out of sight.Julia has the unusual ability to be…unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people’s senses.
It’s a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it’s a useful trait for a thief and a spy.
And Julia has learned—crime pays.
She’s being paid very well indeed to infiltrate the grand house of Mrs. Och and report back on the odd characters who live there and the suspicious dealings that take place behind locked doors.
But what Julia discovers shakes her to the core. She certainly never imagined that the traitor in the house would turn out to be…her.
Murder, thievery, witchcraft, betrayal—Catherine Egan builds a dangerous world where her fierce and flawed heroine finds that even a girl who can vanish can’t walk away from her own worst deeds.
Julia Vanishes is the first book in author Catherine Egan's Witch's Child trilogy. 16-year old Julia is an orphan who has found a home among a group of criminals (Esme, Gregor, Csilla, and her own brother Benedek) after her mother was drowned in the Cleansing for being a witch. Julia and friends live in a fictitious country known as Frayne, where hunting down and drowning those suspected of practicing witchcraft is normal as breathing. After all, if you can't burn a witch, why not drown them?
Julia has a bit of an unusual ability that others don't have. She has the ability to be unseen by nearly everyone around her. By stepping into another place, eyes of those she is spying on pass over her. This makes for a rather awesome skill to have while she is spying on a home owned by a Mrs. Och and those like Professor Baranyi, and Frederick. Julia aka Ella, finds herself deeply involved in the happenings of the home as a housemaid. When things get even more weird and strange, the mission becomes one of utmost importance.
She knows that there is something highly unusual about those who live in the house, especially Mr. Darius who lives in the basement of the house where a steel door keeps everyone out. Julia's attempt at sniffing out the facts from fiction ends up putting her and her friends in places that not even she could ever guess. Something dangerous is afoot. Something even older is looking for a vessel that may have a whole lot of magic and power withing. And, something even more powerful may become Julia's ally against the former.
Julia Vanishes, told in the first person narrative, is an intriguing start to this series. The story features adventure, intrigue, betrayal, and a new form of magic where witches may be powerful and strong, but not unless they put pen to paper. One could say that Egan twists several genre's in order to make this story plausible and entertaining. Those elements are Steampunk, Fantasy, Adventure, and Magic.
The story features a cast of characters who are powerful, yet need their own puppets to get things they want. I must offer my support for Dek, Julia's older brother. I loved this guy! Seriously how cool were his inventions? How cool was it that he left let his disabilities slow him down? There more than a fair share of villains, and there are those like Julia who may be a spy, and a thief, but in the end, finds her own strengths and determination to cut through the facts and the lies to discover an entirely new truth.
Julia Vanishes is a story that is slow to develop, but will absolutely grab you by the shoulders and demand that you finish the story to find out what happens next!