The Sign Of The Symean
A Kaira Renn Novel
292 pages, Kindle, paperback
Fantasy, Young Adult
The cover has a spookiness to it, as it should since it’s a picture representing another world or reality. The art very much reminds me of a much older style, 1950s-ish. I hope on the paperback version it looks a bit more lively.
This is the beginning of a set of adventures for a young girl, Kaira Renn, who lives with her father, Casper Renn, and her Aunt Phee . She knows there’s more to them than they say, but they won’t tell her anything. Until she eavesdrops one night. The next morning her father tells her it’s time for her to know the whole story. She finds out that her family is involved in a world of magic. Not just involved, but she discovers that her father is very well thought of and rather important in this society. Aunt Phee’s no slouch either, and she has a boyfriend! Kaira makes a couple of friends her own age on her first day of being introduced to the community of magical people, Jacob and Guppy Grayling, a brother and sister. Guppy and Kaira become close almost immediately. Their mother, Meyen Grayling, is not nice to them or anyone else. And she seems to resent Kaira’s father quite a bit. She also appears to be up to something sneaky. Mr. Renn is called into an urgent meeting as soon as he, Aunt Phee, and Kaira first arrive at the headquarters, so no one really has a close eye on the younger set. They get up to their own things, which the adults wouldn’t necessarily have approved of had they known what it was. Before Kaira can tell her father of their suspicions about Mrs. Grayling, they are swept off on a society journey with her father and Farraday, one of Mr. Renn’s associates and someone that Kaira considers almost family.
The author is writing about magic and fantasy, and yet it all seems perfectly reasonable and almost everyday sort of stuff. Of course, you can go to the jewelers, enter a door to a very long hallway and come out into another world. Perfectly reasonable. My elevator takes me to different buildings, doesn’t yours? And possibly to different worlds, too, if you’re not careful. The author seems to almost talk down the magic of the magic if you get what I mean. The wonder of it.
The main character, Kaira Renn, is well done. She’s done just right for a girl who has turned twelve. Guppy is the impulsive one in the trio. It does get her into trouble. Jacob tries to be the responsible one but doesn’t always succeed. The adults are rather shadowy figures in comparison to this group of three youngsters. They are really in the spotlight with the main focus definitely on Kaira and her early entry into their community, her “coming of age”.
The pace is brisk and keeps you wondering if these kids ever get a break. You have to pay attention so you don’t miss anything and keep up. They keep the adults around them running from one almost disaster to another to keep them out of trouble. With so much happening, the tension can’t be anything else but high all throughout the book right from the beginning when Kaira is first listening in on a conversation not meant for her ears. But at least that first time she’s only listening with her ears!
My one complaint is that the book ended rather abruptly right after the trio has discovered Jacob and Guppy’s mother is up to something bad and dangerous that Mr. Renn should know about and right after they take off on their journey. I know we’re being set up for the next book, but a smoother ending or more book would have been better, I think. This is only the first of a five-book series. I hope they aren’t all cliffhangers.
Recommended for Young Adults.