This review is a change of pace–a play instead of a novel. I’ve written one play for a pageant, and it’s a lot harder than you’d think. And as a former teacher, I appreciate that it has enough parts that it isn’t just four or five kids with all the speaker parts, and everyone else has to be the spear carriers.
It’s a simple story. A young girl, Suiko, discovers her father is missing and impulsively goes off to rescue him. This is not unusual behavior for her–she tends to leap before she looks. She owns a small puzzle box her father made her, but thus far, she’s lacked the patience to unlock its secrets.
But as she tries to rescue her father, she becomes ensnared in the demon court. The demon king promises her that if she can figure out the puzzle box, her father, who is also prisoner there, will be free to go. So now Suiko tries to learn patience, to figure out the puzzle box her father made for her.
Only the demons have no intention of letting her sit quietly and figure out how to escape. They throw problem after problem in her path. And for each, Suiko must try to solve it carefully. Every time she rushes off impulsively, her situation gets worse.
I enjoyed Suiko and the Puzzle Box. Stephanie Hunter wrote an entertaining play that’s just scary enough to interest children, but not enough to truly frighten them. The Japanese setting is exotic, and Ms. Hunter does a nice job of dribbling in the world-building–just enough to make the Asian setting relevant.
I give it four stars. 🙂