Alex, a young precocious girl, mysteriously gets transported to a strange world where Latin and Math combine in formulas and equations with magical effects. With a cruel council leading the only safe city of it's kind in this world, she will have to prove her worth to stay as well as help this city as it is the target for two evil wizards who seek to destroy the city and it's ruling council.
Will the council's mighty army of guardians be enough to repel the onslaught of the two wizards' wrath?
To help the city and also get back home, she will need the help of the greatest mathematician of all time, Archimedes. In a world where math is magic, Alex wishes she paid more attention in math class.
Meet our main character – Alex. To say the truth I saw myself in Alex a lot. She is your average 6th grader, whose parents are always working leaving her a lot alone or making her change living places every now and then. She is a girl, so she often gets this: “you can’t do it, coz you are a girl” thingie. (Really pisses me off, even now.) Alex is this person who has a strong sense of justice ms speaks her mind without caring about consequences. It’s no wonder the bullies tucked her into a closet. But what if that closet lead our heroine to a world different from ours? A world of magic which is based on math and Latin? (Can you please send me there too? I’ll learn Latin, send me there…) sorry for the interlude. Back on track now.
Why was she send there? Well, I have my ideas, but hats off to Jim West for maintaining the intrigue throughout the book, giving us some minor clues about the place and in the end leaving us on a cliffhanger to crave more. Alex meets Archimedes (yes, it’s that guy, the math genius we all studied at school) right away and he makes makes her his assistant. Now Alex has to prove that she has it in her to become a wizard, but at the same time she has to be cautious for there are a lot of enemies out there who do not want her to be. I really enjoyed the interaction between Archimedes and Alex and there were some surprises which made me laugh out loud.
I liked that the author conjured the world which is very interesting and we can learn a lot from it, basically what not to do. The book may be intended for younger audience, however if you are a parent or in your 20s you may still enjoy other parts of it. The idea of the council, the power it wields and of course interaction between parent and child. I think the author wanted to show us how we should act in this or that situation. That sometimes we should look at our children too and that the power given to us by our birth may lead everyone to destruction. You may find council and the City quite old-fashioned, but nevertheless it is what it is. I remember highlighting this words and want to share them now:
“ “… They should still let people live in the city if they can’t defend themselves, especially of they’ve worked their whole lives for it. They ought to have a right to a peaceful life,” Alex said following.
“And who told you that?” “No one, really. That’s just the way it is where I’m from” “ then you’re either privileged to be able to live free, or naïve in thinking everyone lives peacefully. Maybe both,” Archimedes said."
Those words actually had quite an impact on me, and I hope they will on you too when you read the book. To say the truth, when I first opened the book, I was thinking it would have a lot of math and Latin, however, it was a lot of fun and at the same time very instructive to read. I’m definitely getting next book. Really want to know as to why such world was ever conjured.
I suppose that after reading this book I saw math in another way, and if by any chance you have a kid who doesn’t like math, read this book to him/her, at least the kid will see math differently. I am not being a sexist here, but, yes, we girls can also be good at science. If you like it and want to do it, do it, get it our to the world. I hope you found this review helpful and will follow Alex on her journey through the wold of math and Latin. Enjoy it to the fullest and get your own copy of Libellus de Numerus to try to think of some new formulas and make the world a better place to live.