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'This Wicked Game' by Michelle Zink: An engrossing YA fantasy

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This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink

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Voodoo, anyone? Michelle Zink takes the reader to New Orleans and the underground world of voodoo in "This Wicked Game."

The protagonist, Claire, is the daughter in an elite voodoo family, one of the members of the Guild, those who control and practice voodoo in New Orleans. The families are also the ones who sell the materials necessary to perform the voodoo rituals. Many of the families are quite wealthy, and Claire's family is descended from the voodoo queen, Marie Leveau.

Claire doesn't believe in all the mumbo jumbo and is determined to stay away from the family business. One snag is that she is in love with Alexandre, the son of one of the other main families -- and he believes in voodoo.

As corny as all the voodoo sounds, the way Zink presents it makes it quite, dare I say, plausible. And while the plot and the ending are both fairly predictable, Zink's style and sense of dialogue make the book enjoyable reading.

What's interesting, especially for young adult readers, is the fact that Zink represents the older generation as too staid, too set in their ways to really do something about someone who wants to practice black magic. It's up to the younger generation, the "Firstborns," to defeat those who would bring harm to the families.

All in all, "This Wicked Game" is a fun, fairly light and quick young adult read that will be enjoyed by those who like action spiced with a bit of fantasy.

Please note: This review is based on the advance review copy provided by the publisher, Dial, for review purposes.

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