I read this book for a couple of reasons. One, for the Once Upon a Time Challenge and two, because I have enjoyed the few Avi books I've read.
This is a fable with a moral. Remember the axiom: Be careful what you wish for, it just may come true? That's the message of this young teen book. One of the main characters says, at the end of the book, "Magic takes what it gives, but life gives what we take." A little bit different twist, but after reading the book, the two sayings are closer than they seem.
There's quite a bit of humor woven into this suspenseful story about trying to satisfy one's desires. The cast of characters includes an old alchemist who is making stones that will allow him to live forever. He owns a talking pet crow and has a poor, orphaned servant girl who live with him. The alchemist dies before he succeeds in his goal. The crow and girl, Sybil, have to combine wits to figure out how to survive. They have the Book Without Words that they believe will tell them how to make gold, if they can find a child with green eyes to read it. They find 2 boys that become part of the plot.
At one point Sybil says to her master, "What good is life, if, by avoiding death, you didn't live?"
I enjoyed this quick little read and will now be passing it on to someone through bookmooch. If you would like to mooch it, check my inventory.