by A.F.E. Smith
Middle Grade

6,812 Words

Polly Fielding has always known she's not cut out to be a protagonist. She's not an orphan, for a start. She's inherited enough of her parents' genetic quirks to know that there's no chance she'll turn out to be the lost heir to a kingdom. Magic swords are decidedly scarce in her life, and she doesn't even live on a farm – which, as everyone knows, is your best option if you want a mysterious stranger to visit your village one day and whisk you away on a quest. Then, on the train to visit her older sister in Glastonbury, she meets a Mysterious Stranger who asks for her help in solving an equally mysterious riddle. Apparently dark forces are trying to get hold of a powerful magical object, and it's her job to help the prophesied hero stop them. Polly doesn't hesitate to agree. It's not every day you receive a classic Call to Adventure, after all. Being a real protagonist's sidekick – love interest? no, definitely sidekick – is better than she could have hoped for. Armed only with her extensive knowledge of fantasy tropes, Polly throws herself into what appears to be the age-old battle of Good vs Evil. Yet maybe, knowing how stories are meant to work isn't always that helpful after all.