DUET WITH THE DEVIL’S VIOLIN
Upper MG Magical Realism
Thirteen-year-old prodigy Miranda Harper craves the kind of perfection that goes beyond hitting all the right notes--she wants to be inside the music. Thanks to her new violin, she achieves her goal, but it's more than she bargained for. A flawless performance of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” lands her in a flying chariot piloted by a Valkyrie transporting a dead soldier.
Once she snaps back to reality, Miranda’s first instinct is to call her best friend, but she’s in England, and hallucinations aren’t the kind of thing you explain over Skype. She’s thrilled when she meets Lizzie, a new girl at school. She’d rather not share her crazy right away, but when the magic strikes again during a Halloween concert and sends her into a black and white horror movie, she spills everything, including the fact that the scratches she got during her escape came back to the real world with her.
With each trip into the music, it’s harder to return and the side effects get worse. Lizzie begs Miranda to stop, but she’s determined to prove she can control the violin and achieve perfection on her own terms. She’s willing to risk a few cuts and bruises, but when she discovers the violin could trap her forever in an alternate reality, she must decide what perfection is really worth.
First 150 Words:
I prepared for the downbeat, bow poised over the strings of my new violin.
Miranda Harper: concertmaster. Just thinking about it made me want to jump up and dance. But I couldn’t do that, especially not at the first rehearsal. It wouldn’t be concertmaster-like.
After a year of waiting it out as principal second violinist “so I could observe and grow,” I’d finally made it. At least we played some Mozart last season. Good old Wolfgang sometimes let the second violins outshine the firsts.
Now it was my turn to shine, and we weren’t playing Mozart today.
My fingers tingled, like extra energy ran through them.
I’d been practicing this piece--a medley from Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung--for weeks. It started with “Ride of the Valkyries,” a melody everyone recognized, probably because they’d seen a fat lady singing it.
I aimed for perfection. I knew it wasn’t really possible.