What is the most dangerous secret of all? For fifteen-year-old Dany, is it the shame that his once-vital mother now suffers mutely from “the staring sickness?” Or is it that Count Pol, the corrupt absolute ruler of Western Gottika, may be scouting the city clandestinely for teenage girls to kidnap? Could the worst secret be the mystery behind why all the kids in the Estat are only-children? Or could it be that Dany’s father possesses the secret knowledge of how to bring clay to life, and transform it into a terrifying weapon — an all-powerful Gol?
When Dany’s father is framed for the brutal murder of Gottika’s Princess Avivia, Dany is forced to confront all of these secrets. But that won’t be enough. In order to save his father, he’ll have to go still deeper. He’ll have to uncover his own family’s secret, one even darker and more disturbing than the rest.
Gottika reimagines a powerful Jewish legend as a futuristic fantasy with a universal message.
“Becker presents the harsh treatment of an ethnic group in a way children will be able to understand and question.”
“An excellent addition to a high school reader’s collection.”
“Iconic elements of Jewish persecution give this story a historical grounding as well as a depth. The cues open up a space for conversation about travesties that have taken place while also encouraging readers to immerse themselves in a space of injustice and to read a story of the disenfranchised.”
“Lovers of fantasy, myths and legends, action comics, a hero’s quest, and even Dungeons and Dragons fans will want to keep reading late into the night. And this story will continue to resonate the morning after.”
“Gol’s strength, and his story are the real soul of this novel, and I was fascinated watching this traditional Jewish folk story come to life.” ****/4 stars
“Gottika is the perfect mashup that results in a great read; one that kept me awake until I turned the last page.”
“A compelling read. Recommended.”