August 2015, Mercier Press, 320 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Summary from Mercier Press
After the death of her beloved grandfather on her twelfth birthday, Ebony Smart’s world is turned upside down. Orphaned for a second time, she is sent to Dublin to live with her weird Aunt Ruby, with only her pet rat, Winston, for company. With every window nailed shut and a mysterious locked room, 23 Mercury Lane is brimming with secrets. Warned against entering by a voice in the shadows, Ebony is fearful for her future, but has no idea how much her life is about to change.
Aunt Ruby informs Ebony that she is part of the Order of Nine Lives - a special tribe of people who reincarnate. She claims Ebony has one week to break a terrible curse or else die – and if she fails, the future of the Order of Nine Lives, and her family, is at risk. With so much at stake, Ebony discovers it’s difficult to trust – especially when there’s somebody else trying to race her to the finish. Does she have what it takes to succeed when nothing is what it seems?
This is an absolutely awesome read! I'm squee-ing as I write this because just because Ebony has a lot of hardship to overcome. Wherever she looks there are questions about who she is, and each time she learns a new piece of information there's more mystery staring her in the face. She is plucky, has a few fears but when there's not choice but to leap into the unknown she does it. She isn't alone though – aside from her weird relatives who aren't all they seem, she has her faithful companion Winston, who saves the day more than once. It's hard when Winston leaves her at a point in the novel, because then she does feel alone. She does make a few other allies – some really can't be called friends since they turn on her, who have their own peculiarities which make them memorable.
This book has a great deal of mishaps which look as if they are end of the world type events, but I promise that Ebony's outlook on life and the sheer joy when things go right for her make it worth sitting through the negative situations, as well as the plain weird ones (I'm into more positive reading at the moment, but books like this an exception). It's a joy to know there are 2 more adventures for Ebony to embark on, both which I'm sure will have higher stakes.
Find out more on E. R. Murray's website.