In this Chinese inspired fantasy by G.Z. Schmidt, 12-year old twins Mei and Yun have always been surrounded by magic, even though they were too busy fencing each other to notice. They do notice when their grandfather’s renowned mooncakes literally put a bitter taste in the Crown Prince’s mouth. The Prince’s ensuing anger results with their grandfather’s imprisonment at the capital, leaving the siblings on their own. Their parents were scholars that previously disappeared in the neighboring city now rumored to be cursed.  

Readers are taken on two parallel journeys; Mei and Yun split within the palace to find their grandfather, and a legend that has been circulating around the kingdom. Mei and Yun take on differing jobs in attempts to find their grandfather’s whereabouts and how to get him out. The legend talks of magic that changed the fate of a family. Eventually the parallel stories converge revealing the legend is about Mei and Yun’s family and they have inherited the magical ability to capture dreams. 

While the beginning promises fantastical adventures, the pace does slow once the siblings start working in the palace. It naturally takes time for Mei and Yun to gather information to save their grandfather, stop the curse from spreading, and realize their inherited magical abilities. As a reader and lover of period fantasy, I wished I could have lived longer the latter part of the story soaking in all the magic. It is here that Mei and Yun use their dream catching skills to their fullest potential all while flying about on a cloud. Nevertheless the slight lull in pace does not keep this book from being an overall delightful read. 

This is the second book from Chinese American author G.Z. Schmidt who has also authored the middle grade title, No Ordinary Thing. Schmidt was born in China and grew up primarily in the Midwest and South. She notes that she enjoys writing about misfit children in realistic settings with a dose or two of magic. She currently resides with her husband and daughter in Southern California.  

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