Maddigan's Fantasia by Margaret Mahy.
Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster: NY, 2007.

Maddigan's Fantasia is a long, rambling science fiction/fantasy novel. The time travel in the story barely exists; it's a reason for the future dwellers (Timon, Eden and Jewel: runaway orphans, plus the culprits: Ozul, Maska and the Nennog) to be in the story. There are also a number of technical gadgets: for communication, transportation and power generation. The fantasy consists of several elements: a changing map and diary, a very slowly aging woman, a water monster, an apparition, the Nennog and his possession of beings.

Timon, Eden and their baby sister escape into Garland Maddigan's time period and join the travelers, a time when the world is trying to recover from major catastrophes. Lord Nennog sends Ozul and Maska after them to steal the talisman that they carry. There are only a few cities surviving. Maddigan's Fantasia, traveling entertainers, roam between the cities and towns as the places change. They have been charged with the task of buying a generator from one far city to save their home city, Solis. Each group of people they encounter in their quest has a different way of dealing with the formative times. One has child slavery; one captures guests and drugs them; one has children rebelling against parents; one is tribal; one is in complete ruin except the library with a sole caretaker.

I enjoyed many of the parts of the story. Garland and the circus bits were entertaining, as were the motorized wings and Eden's magic. But I felt like the book was made up of bits and pieces meshed together, not really cohesive. Each part made me wish for more focus on it. Maybe the book is more suited to a leisurely read. Maybe it's because it is a low reading level. Anyway, I would guess the book would be loved mostly by those reveling in fantasy moments or enjoying reading snatches of story.

related-time travel, magic, solar energy, circus, entertainers, immortality, friendship, communities

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