Book review: “Jinx on the Divide” by Elizabeth Kay

Accio Book!

The third book in The Divide trilogy begins with the Christmas present Felix has been waiting for: a visit from his best friend from the magical world across the Divide, the tangle-girl Betony. Things don’’t go as planned, however. A forgotten brass lamp finds its way into Felix’s school bag, and before he knows it, a genie (or rather, brandee) has escaped, taken the school bully hostage, and demanded to be taken to a scientist to be freed from enslavement to the lamp.

Desperate to resolve the situation without bringing magic into the world of science, Felix and Betony rush back across the Divide. Things on that side quickly deteriorate, however. Inside the genie’’s lamp, flame-haired bully Stephen “Rhino” Rheinhart opens a mischievous jinx box. Maybe “wicked” would be a better word to describe it. The jinx box wants Rhino or Felix or really, any “mythical being” from the point of view of Betony’s world –to speak a number of power-words aloud. Each word causes something big to happen something that could potentially destroy everything.

Not saying those power-words isn’’t as simple as you might think. The jinx box will do anything within its considerable powers to trick, or force, Felix and Rhino into doing its bidding – and destroying it won’t be easy. Then there’s the recipe for gunpowder, which Rhino foolishly tries to sell to the japegrins; the consequences of unleashing that “science” in their world of magic would be unthinkable.

Meanwhile other plots are afoot. Snakeweed has returned from what was supposed to be a hundred-year slumber. A slave of the lamp who just wants to be free is instead given an override-proof command to execute Rhino. Encounters with deadly wolf-like creatures, wild dragons, interracial issues, and beings released from spells that had turned them to stone create chaos and confusion in the midst of a race against time. And on top of everything, Felix is having feelings toward Betony…including the monster of jealousy. And that’s a feeling that could complicate his decision-making at the climax of the story.

The series definitely comes to an end in this story – a surprisingly satisfying ending, given all the suspense and dread that leads up to it. So ends a quirky, multi-layered fantasy series, which will be remembered at the very least for its unusual cover design– though whether that helps or hinders the book, I will let you decide.