Parents' Guide to

The After-Room: The Apothecary, Book 3

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Love, magic, adventure, ghosts in thrilling series finale.

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Author Maile Meloy's imaginative mix of magic, Cold War history, and teen romance comes to a satisfying close as two 15-year-olds and their adult allies face spies, gangsters, pirates, and the dead. Told from the perspectives of characters on opposite sites of the world, the plot moves along quickly as the heroes encounter colorful locals, dodge deadly perils, pursue magical knowledge, and learn a few life lessons while trying to avert nuclear destruction. Thanks to Meloy's skill as a writer, characters are intriguing individuals; normally implausible plot developments such as the Scotts' sudden writing job in Italy make perfect sense; and bits of incidental detail such as a song and a robin's-egg-blue dress conjure up the feeling of life in the '50s. Ian Schoenherr's plentiful illustrations bring the story to life with compelling detail and airborne adventure.

There's enough description of foregoing events that you won't be entirely lost if you start here, but you'll miss a lot. Start with Book 1. And, though the story arc wraps up nicely at the end, there's a glimmer of hope that we may not have seen the last of these characters.

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