Title: Hotel Magnifique
Author: Emily J. Taylor
Narrators: Suzy Jackson and Simon Hedger
Publisher: Razorbill (Listening Library published audiobook)
Publishing Date: 2022
Genre/Format of the Item: Audiobook
Reading Level/Interest Level:
Grade 8-12 (NoveList)
Plot Summary: Jani and Zosa are orphans living in the town of Durc and yearning to travel back to their home country someday. The mysterious Hotel Magnifique promises to solve all of their problems, as it is a magical hotel that travels the world and pays its employees well. The sisters are hired on as workers but Jani soon finds that the hotel has many secrets hidden within its walls. As Jani tries to find out what lies behind the magic, she begins to form relationships with the other coworkers. Bel,the grand suminaire that is in charge of moving the hotel every night, becomes her confidant and friend, even when Jani is demoted to a kitchen worker.
Jani realizes that Alistair, the maître d’hôtel, is evil and becomes determined to find a way to free herself and Zosa from the grips of his control. Jani finds herself drawn to Bel in a way that she has never felt before. She struggles with trusting him because of his shadowy past, but realizes that his inability to speak freely comes from being trapped in the hotel for many years. Jani suddenly finds herself in a place that she never imagined and must make choices that could end in disaster. Jani learns a lot about herself and the power within that she never knew existed until her stay in the hotel.
Author Background: Emily Taylor was born and raised in California but currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is currently working as a creative director in Minnesota (Taylor, n.d.).
Critical Evaluations: I really enjoyed listening to Hotel Magnifique. The narrators’ voices were very pleasant to listen to and I feel as though they did an excellent job giving each character a different “voice”. Their voices spoke with emotion and clarity and I felt immersed in the story immediately. There was not a lot of background music which was appropriate for the story. The story itself was very good. The characters were well-developed and the story was engaging and interesting. I liked the French influence in the book because it gave the story a bit of an old, gothic feel. I think that Emily Taylor did a great job of balancing fantasy with realism. I liked the variety of characters that Taylor used as well. I think that many teens will enjoy reading or listening to this book because it offers readers a magical world of fear and intrigue.
Creative Use for a Library Program: This book would be good to use around a Halloween theme at the library. This could be a “haunted hotel” that teens must go through, with characters from this book and a mystery that teens must solve. Teens will be encouraged to read this book first because some of the clues to escaping the hotel will be directly from the book, similar to an escape room, but on a larger scale, using the whole library one night.
Speedround/Book Trailer: For Zosa and Jani, life in Durc is almost unbearable. One day, the Hotel Magnifique comes to town promising them an escape from their dreary lives. Once onboard, the sisters enter into a fight for their lives, as magic and power threaten to take everything away from them, including each other. Can Jani find a way to break their contracts and leave in one piece? Read or listen to The Hotel Magnifiqu by Emily Taylor to find out more!
Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: This book may be challenged for the use of magic and the scenes of bodily harm done to some of the characters. The torture scenes are not gory or particularly brutal, but they are meant to cause fear in the characters. These scenes help to create a clear distinction between good and evil throughout the book.
Reason for Inclusion: I chose to include this audiobook in my collection because the premise was unusual and completely engaging. The book had diverse characters that were captivating immediately. I think that this will appeal to many teens.
EmilyReadsBooks. (2022, May 31). My most anticipated book of the year! Hotel Magnifique review [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86jWfSjWSkM
Taylor, E. J. (n.d.). Home page. http://emilyjtaylorauthor.com/
Taylor, E. L. [@emilycanwrite]. (2022, April 5). Hotel Magnifique is out today! Finally! It’s my dark and twisty story of a girl who goes to work at a legendary traveling hotel. It’s full of mystery, wanderlust, and magic. Just don’t touch the oranges. #hotelmagnifique [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/emilycanwrite/status/1511374797300813828