Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier
Twelve year old Sophie Quire, working from her father's bookshop, spends her days lovingly mending books. Her life dramatically changes when she becomes the owner of a curious book that possesses magical properties. This volume is one of four books. She learns that the combined quartet contains the entire world's magic. She also discovers her true identity. She is Daughter of Coriander Quire, Bookmender of Bustleburgh, Keeper of Stories, Protector of the Four Questions, and The Last Storyguard.
Sophie undertakes a dangerous mission: to obtain all four books, learn the fate of her mother, and save her world from a massive book burning. A monumental task for one young girl!
Character names are equally intriguing. Readers meet Professor Cake, Inspector Prigg, and an important figure which goes by the name Taro and just happens to be a mandrake. Isn't the name Torvald Knucklemeat the best ever for a villain's henchman? I love the shadrach charm: a very powerful spell which makes the object impervious to flame.
Careful reading finds several veiled references to other works. One of my favorites "The task must have chosen Sophie, but now Sophie must choose the task." pays homage to Garth Nix's Sabriel "Does the walker choose the path or the path the walker?"
Readers will revel in the wordsmithing. Auxier knows how to turn a phrase, twist a word, and place a description in order to extract every ounce of meaning from the narrative,
"There are moments in life - rare for most people- when you suddenly realize that the tapestry of the world is grander and more intricately woven than you had ever imagined."