Title: The Mask of Aribella
Author: Anna Hoghton
Narrator: Chris Devon
Book Publisher: Chicken House
Audiobook publisher: Nudged Audiobooks

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A captivating fantasy by debut author Anna Hoghton, a young and thrilling new voice for middle-grade listeners.

Aribella lives in Venice, the daughter of an impoverished lace-maker. But she has a deadly secret: when angered, sparks shoot from her fingertips. Unable to keep her power hidden, she flees – but when dark spectres rise from the lagoon, the fire in her hands saves her life. A stranger witnesses the attack – and through him, Aribella leaves her old life behind and discovers the world of the Cannovacci, magical warriors sworn to defeat the strange spectres menacing the city.

One might breeze over the synopsis “kid discovers powers, kid discovers community of kids with powers, kids with powers save the world” as just another fantasy adventure. The Mask of Aribella is not just another fantasy adventure. The quality of Anna Hoghton’s writing is testament to that. The inspiration of classic Venetian culture mixed with heart stopping action makes this story impossible to let go. If this is only her debut, I am so excited to watch her career. She’s proven she’s not just another writer here; this story will be staying with me for quite some time.