Review of A Tangle of Gold

moriarty_tangle of goldstar2 A Tangle of Gold [Colors of Madeleine]
by Jaclyn Moriarty
Middle School, High School    Levine/Scholastic    470 pp.
4/16    978-0-545-39740-7    $17.99    g
e-book ed. 978-0-545-77735-3    $17.99

Going into this final book in the trilogy set in two worlds (A Corner of White, rev. 5/13; The Cracks in the Kingdom, rev. 3/14), Moriarty left herself with an astonishing number of loose ends to tie up and questions to answer. (Among those questions: who are Madeleine and her mother Holly; what will happen to Mischka Tegan’s daughter Keira; and who among the Royal Youth Alliance was a traitor?) But as demonstrated in her Ashbury-Brookfield series (Feeling Sorry for Celia and sequels), Moriarty has a real penchant for resolving a multitude of items in a breathless and exhilarating race to the finish; here, she does precisely that, with a variety of unexpected revelations and marvelous surprises, and with her usual perfect timing and panache. While the second installment unveiled some hidden identities (computer guy Denny/Elliot’s dad Abel) and talents (“occasional pilot” Sergio), this volume is jam-packed with secret identities revealed (Madeleine and Holly, natch, but also Jack, Samuel, T. I. Candle, and more) and with talents discovered (a certain couple turns out to be a magic weaver and a truth seer — the exact combination needed to save the Kingdom). The trilogy is an alluring mix of fantasy, humor, coming-of-age, romance, history, mystery, and political intrigue; Moriarty bends (and blends) genres the way the good people of Nature Strip, in the Kingdom of Cello, bend Colors. Just one question is left hanging: what will this remarkable author come up with next?

From the March/April 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Jennifer M. Brabander
Jennifer M. Brabander is former senior editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

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