Magical novel duology comes to a close with sequel’s release
By Cheryl Minns, Senior Columnist
Coquitlam author Jennifer Sommersby introduced Genevieve Flannery and Henry Dmitri the world with her 2018 debut young adult novel, Sleight. Two years later, she returns with the second book in the AVRAKEDAVRA duology, The Undoing. Published by HarperCollins Canada, this eBook is a thrill ride of a read. It offers non-stop action and gut-wrenching conflict from two teens with supernatural abilities who must choose between keeping their powers or saving the world.
In Sleight, Genevieve has the power to heal people with a touch of her hand, a talent that comes in handy while working at the circus. But then she fails to save her mother, Delia, after an aerial performance ends in her death. The tragedy leads Genevieve to discover that her mother was the guardian of a powerful ancient text with magical properties—the AVRAKEDAVRA. The book is the source of Genevieve’s power and now it’s her job to protect it.
After Delia’s death, a businessman named Lucien Dmitri offers to buy the travelling circus and make it a permanent fixture in Oregon, USA. Genevieve isn’t sure she can trust the mysterious Lucien, but she does trust his son, Henry—who can transmit memories to a person when he touches them. When Genevieve discovers her AVRAKEDAVRA is one of three, she enlists Henry’s help in stealing the second book from his father. In the end, the two of them barely escape with their lives as they board a plane to find the third book.
The Undoing picks up with Genevieve and Henry in France with Henry’s grandfather, Nutesh. He gives them his AVRAKEDAVRA text and tells them about the “Undoing” ritual, which will allow them to destroy the books for good.
Unfortunately, Lucien has spread their photos and information across multiple international news outlets, claiming they are criminals. But that won’t stop Genevieve and Henry, who disguise themselves and create fake identities to travel across Europe and the Middle East to get to Mesopotamia where they can perform the Undoing.
This book is a real change of pace from its predecessor, Sleight. The first book was a slow-burning story that dealt with grief, mystery, young love, animal rights, and so much more. The Undoing approaches Genevieve and Henry’s journey like an action film, sending them straight into the middle of danger and never letting up on the tension.
The Undoing introduces readers to many new characters as the team travels across multiple countries. They encounter members of an underground organization called La Vérité (French for The Truth), who run their operations out of travelling circuses. Although Genevieve’s mother is no longer with her, the La Vérité members knew Delia and share stories about her with Genevieve, keeping her mother’s memory alive. One prominent new character is Xavier, who acts as Genevieve and Henry’s bodyguard for the journey. He has his reasons for joining the team on this mission, which is a great secret and surprise.
Some of the best moments in the book occur when Genevieve uses her power to heal and then questions whether she can give that up. These tender moments add to Genevieve’s depth as a character who not only focuses on the mission at hand, but who also takes time to reflect on the consequences of her future actions.
Reading the details and descriptions of the different countries Genevieve and Henry visit, it’s clear Sommersby put a lot of effort into researching these places. There are so many references to each country’s geography, landscape, history, and culture that when I finished the book, I felt like I had taken a mini vacation to these amazing destinations. These days, when travel is extremely limited, a book that can transport a reader across the world seems like a worthwhile read.
The Undoing eBook releases March 31 for most major eBook retailers, including Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, and Kobo. (The book will also be released under the title Scheme by Sky Pony Press in the USA in hardcover and eBook on April 21.)