Anne is an orphan waiting for her 13th birthday so she can leave the orphanage forever. She hopes that she and her friend, Penelope, will be accepted into a questing school, but there is little chance of that--or at least that is what they think. The day before Anne's birthday she and Penelope are recruited by a school and given their first quest. They receive one more addition to her team, a boy names Hiro, and together they face seeming insurmountable odds to pursue their goal.
A lot of books I choose to read because they received starred reviews. This one did not. It is a B-level fantasy at best, but it was entertaining. The author added some steam punk elements that were fun and there is good chemistry between the three children. The main shortcoming is that the quest that was supposed to be impossibly difficult was really not very difficult at all. If that was a high level quest, a low level quest probably requires the student to successfully make it to the bathroom and back. Still, it is a fun story and I would recommend it to younger children who are good readers, who want a longer book but can't handle emotional intensity yet. (374 p.)