Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow. You can read my review of this [here].

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow was written by Jessica Townsend and first published in 2018. It forms the second part of the Nevermoor series and tells the continuing story of Morrigan Crow – a young girl with a frightening power. As the novel carries on shortly after its prequel – Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (2017) – left off, I would strong advise reading the stories in order to fully appreciate them.

Morrigan Crow has earned her place in the Wunderous Society but has not earned the trust of her fellow students. She had hoped to gain an education, learn more about her abilities as a Wundersmith and find a family in her Unit. Unfortunately, she quickly finds that only Cadence and Hawthorne want anything to do with her. Everyone is too scared of what she is capable of – and that includes her teachers. Everyone that knows about Morrigan’s powers is ordered to never speak of it, and told that the entire Unit will be expelled if anyone fails to keep this secret.

While her classmates are allowed to take all kinds of wonderful classes, Morrigan is forced to spend every day with Professor Onstald – an elderly tortoisewun who teaches her about every atrocity that a Wundersmith has ever committed. Although Jupiter assures her that her powers do not make her a villain, Morrigan is starting to have her doubts. After all, Professor Onstald is an expert in Wundersmith history and he is convinced that they always turn evil.

Things get worse still for Morrigan when her Unit starts to receive sinister notes, threatening to reveal Morrigan’s secret unless her classmates do certain embarrassing, exhausting and dangerous things. This quickly makes them hate her even more, and this resentment in turn causes Morrigan’s powers to become unpredictable. When people start to disappear, the Society are quick to turn on the Wundersmith in their midst. Will Morrigan be able to rein in her powers and clear her name? Or will she be forced to rely on the guidance of an old enemy…

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Muse of Nightmares

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Strange the Dreamer. You can read my review of this [here].

Muse of Nightmares was written by Laini Taylor and first published in 2018. It forms the second part of the Strange the Dreamer duology, following Lazlo as he takes his place amongst the Godspawn. As the novel carries on directly from where Strange the Dreamer (2017) left off, I would recommend reading the novels in sequence if you want to fully appreciate them.

Both joy and tragedy stemmed from the destruction of the anchor. Lazlo has discovered his place in the world. He is one of the blue-skinned Godspawn, and a powerful one at that. His ability to control metal means that he can finally ascend into the citadel to be with others of his kind. But it came at a terrible price. Sarai has died and now exists as a ghost, able to take physical form only because Minya wills it. Problem is that this now means that Minya has a bargaining chip.

Minya has not forgotten the horrors that the people of Weep inflicted on the Mesarthim. She uses her control over Sarai in an attempt to blackmail Lazlo into taking her and her spectral army down into the city. Yet Lazlo knows that he can’t do it. Even if it risks Sarai, he can’t allow Minya to slaughter those that he has left behind. In secret, he and Sarai begin to search for another way. Perhaps if they can use Sarai’s power over dreams to cure Minya of her lust for vengeance, they can all be happy.

Yet something else is moving against the Godspawn. A long-lost warrior is travelling towards them, half-maddened by the endless search for her missing sister. This wanderer nurtures a burning hatred for the Mesarthim, particularly Lazlo’s long-dead father…

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Explorers on Witch Mountain

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club. You can read my review of this [here].

Explorers on Witch Mountain was written by Alex Bell and first published in 2018. It is the second book in The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club series and tells the continuing story of Stella Starflake Pearl, the first female explorer. The novel follows on directly where The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club (2017) left off, so I would definitely recommend reading them in sequence to ensure that you have a firm grasp of what is going on.

Stella is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that she is an ice princess. While having the power to control snow seems fun, she can’t help but remember the way that it felt when her heart started to freeze over. To make matters worse, people that she has never met seem to have decided that she’s a monster, and have taken to writing to both Felix and the Polar Bear Explorers’ Club to make their feelings known.

This is one of the reasons that Stella has not left her home since their adventure to the frozen north. The other reason is the giant vulture that seems to be stalking her. She knows that it was sent by Jezzybella – the witch who murdered her biological parents – and so whatever it wants can’t be good. When the creature finally manages to break into their home, Felix wastes no time in seizing control of it. He orders it to take him to Witch Mountain so that he can face Jezzybella, and orders Stella to stay home where it is safe.

Yet Stella knows that she can’t sit idly by. Witch Mountain is so dangerous that Explorers have never fully mapped it, and Jezzybella is the most evil witch of them all. With the help of Ethan, Beanie and Shay, she steals a dirigible and flies off to rescue her father. Yet this time they could have bitten off more than they can chew. There are things on Witch Mountain that are more dangerous than witches, and Stella may be forced to rely on her dangerous magic if they are to have any chance of surviving…

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Shadow of the Fox

Shadow of the Fox was written by Julie Kagawa and first published in 2018. It is a fantasy novel based around Japanese mythology, which focuses on a half-yōkai and assassin who team up to find a legendary artefact. The novel forms the first part of a planned trilogy and its sequel, provisionally titled Soul of the Sword, is expected to be released next year.

Yumeko knows nothing about the world that lies outside of the Silent Winds temple. As a half-kitsune (fox spirit), she knows that she is lucky to have found a home with the monks. Although she suffers from an insatiable urge to use her magic to play tricks on people, the monks at least tolerate her behaviour. In the outside world, most people would never trust someone with yōkai blood.

Yet, when her adoptive family is slain by demons, Yumeko has no choice but to leave her home. The head monk entrusts her with the greatest secret of the temple – a fragment of an ancient scroll. Legends say that if a person obtains all three pieces, they will be able to summon a powerful dragon and ask it for one wish. Knowing that this is what the demons seek, Yumeko sets off on a dangerous mission to locate the rest of the scroll. But she is not alone.

Tatsumi is the Kage demonslayer – a shinobi who is fated wield the cursed sword Kamigoroshi. The head of his clan also has her eyes on the scroll and has ordered him to retrieve the fragment from the Silent Winds temple at any cost. However, Yumeko is quick to use this to her advantage. Pretending that she does not know where the scroll is, she tells Tatsumi that she can take him to the place where it is kept. Tatsumi has no choice to join her on her journey as her bodyguard, but Yumeko knows that she is playing with fire. What will happen if Tatsumi discovers that she is one of the monsters that he has been trained to hunt? Or, worse still, what will he do if he finds out that the scroll fragment is in her possession…

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Lumberjanes: The Good Egg

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in this series. You can read my review of these novels by clicking the links below:

Unicorn Power! | The Moon is Up

The Good Egg was written by Mariko Tamaki and first published in 2018. It forms the third part of the Lumberjanes series, which focus on a group of young girls who have fantastical adventures while at summer camp. The series is based around the award-winning comic book of the same name and the previous instalments are titled Unicorn Power! (2017) and The Moon Is Up (2018). I would certainly recommend reading them in sequence if you want to have any idea of what is going on.

Following the good-spirited rivalry of the Galaxy Wars, the coordinators of Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types have decided that the girls’ next task should be something that unites them. Enter the flamboyant Annabella Panache, resident drama instructor. Pairing up girls from different cabins, Miss Panache decides that each group will enact an elaborate retelling of a faery story. And she does not do anything by half.

While Ripley generally loves to sing and dance, she finds herself distracted. She has discovered a nest of giant eggs in the forest and has become particularly attached to the smallest of the bunch, which she names Eggie. When the other eggs hatch and leave Eggie alone, Ripley enlists Barney’s help to keep it safe until its parents return for it. Her other friends are so busy planning their play, they hardly notice that she’s gone.

However, things take a bad turn when Eggie is stolen by a cult of greedy egg thieves. Ripley is devastated by the loss and the worry turns her into a shadow of her former safe. It’s up to the other members of the Roanoke and Zodiac cabins to pull together and rescue Eggie and they don’t have long to do it. Eggie’s parents have found the camp, and they are not too happy that their child is missing…

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Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in this series. You can read my review of these novels by clicking the links below:

The Firedragon | Firedragon Rising

Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil was written by Mary Fan and first published in 2018. It is a fantasy dystopian novel, set it a world where anyone who is unable to use magic is a second-class citizen. The novel is technically the first instalment of the Flynn Nightsider series, although Fan did previous publish two short prequel novellas – The Firedragon (2014) and Firedragon Rising (2015) – which tell Aurelia’s backstory.

Despite being a powerless Norm, Flynn Nightsider lived a pretty happy life. That is, until the night when his mother was cruelly slain in front of him by a monstrous draugr. Since then, he was taken in by the Academy with the other orphaned Norms. Although they are kept safe from the monsters, Flynn knows that he will never amount to anything. Secondstringers like him will never receive the preferential treatment enjoyed by the Enchanters – the students who are able to use magic.

When Flynn and his best friend Brax learn that their Headmaster may be hiding an illicit secret – one that potentially concerns Flynn’s mother – the two know that they need to flaunt every school rule and break into is office. However, things are quick to go wrong. When they accidentally cause a magical explosion, the boys find themselves “black bagged” and hauled away as traitors. It is obvious to everyone that something strange is going on. While the explosion had seriously injured Brax, Flynn had somehow walked away unharmed.

Although the Triumvirate immediately sentence Flynn to death for his crimes, there are other people who have noticed him and taken an interest. The Rising – a secret rebellion against the tyrannical triumvirate – certainly have use for someone who could well be immune to an Enchanter’s spells. However, they are not the only ones. The Defiants – a group of Enchanters lead by the powerful Tydeus Storm – would also stop at nothing to get their hands on him. And the Defiants are known for their mastery of dark magic, so whatever plans they have for him cannot be good…

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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in this series. You can read my review of these novels by clicking the links below:

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire | Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The fact that I’m returning to Hogwarts can only mean one thing. That’s right readers, today marks my 450th review on this blog! Thank you so much for your continuing support and recommendations. I wonder what gems we will find amongst the next 50…

Anyhow, with that out of the way, let’s continue. As always, please note that this post will undoubtably contain huge spoilers, as I do kind of expect that a lot of you are at least acquainted with the movie that is based on this book. However, in case you’re not familiar with this series, Harry Potter has been a worldwide phenomenon for over 20 years. It was written by J.K. Rowling and the main series consists of seven novels – Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (1997), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2005) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007). This has since been supplemented by a play, a spin-off movie series and number of short-stories and reference books that further expand the world.

Unlike the previous summer, Harry has found that he has not been left to wallow in his misery. In the aftermath of the battle at the Ministry of Magic, it is not long before Dumbledore comes to Privet Drive to ask for his assistance. It soon becomes apparent that he is necessary to convince an elderly teacher by the name of Horace Slughorn to return to Hogwarts, though Harry isn’t entirely certain why this is important at all in the greater scheme of things. Every day, Voldemort’s Death Eaters seem to be becoming bolder and people who defy them are meeting unpleasant ends.

On the way back to Hogwarts, Harry becomes suspicious that Draco Malfoy may have an inside knowledge of what the Dark Lord is planning. However, no one else seems to share his concerns. They only see Malfoy as an arrogant teenage boy and just can’t accept that he would have anything to offer Voldemort. Yet Harry knows that Malfoy is hiding something and vows to keep a closer eye on his rival than ever before.

As the school year begins, Harry starts to have secret lessons with Dumbledore in which he learns more about Voldemort’s childhood. During these lessons, Dumbledore reveals the truth about Slughorn to Harry. Dumbledore believes that the professor once told a terrible secret to Voldemort and he needs Harry to discover exactly what that was. However, as Harry starts to get closer to Slughorn in his potions lessons, he stumbles across another mystery. An old potions book hidden in the classroom that has been annotated by a student who seems to know more about the subject than his teacher and has a definite malicious streak. A student that goes by the name of the Half Blood Prince…

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Skycircus

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in this series. You can read my review of these novels by clicking the links below:

Cogheart | Moonlocket

Skycircus was written by Peter Bunzl and first published in 2018. It is part of The Cogheart Adventures series, which focuses on the adventures of a girl, a boy and a mechanical fox in a steampunk Victorian England. The novel follows Cogheart (2016) and Moonlocket (2017), and I would recommend reading the novels in sequence if you want to have any idea what is going on.

It is Lily’s birthday but she is not feeling especially festive. Instead of a party, her father has called together a gathering of his fellow machinists and Lily is finding it particularly dull. When she overhears some of the discriminatory views that some of them hold to towards hybrids – the so-called half-mechanicals like herself – she decides that she needs to get away. Luckily, a chance for escape and adventure comes in the form of an invitation to the circus.

Slimwood’s Stupendous Travelling Skycircus has just arrived in the village for a single night and some mysterious stranger has sent Lily three VIP tickets, along with a notebook that seems to have once belonged to her mother. While Robert suspects some kind of trap, Lily knows that they still need to investigate. Her mother died when Lily was small and she is dying to learn more about her.

Yet Lily really should have listened to Robert. The circus turns out to be a terrible place, run by the money-grabbing Mr Slimwood and the cruel Madame Lyons-Mane. Their performers include a small group of hybrid “freaks”, all of whom are hideously mistreated, and they have some terrible plans in store for Lily and her cogheart. As the circus sets off to Paris with Lily and Robert as prisoners, they must find a way to escape and get home. If Madame Lyons-Mane is able to put her plan in motion, Lily’s first performance could very well also be her last…

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Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in this series. You can read my review of these novels by clicking the links below:

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball | Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords

Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief was written by Laura Ellen Anderson and first published in 2018. It is a middle-grade fantasy story about the adventures of a young vampire girl, her ghoulish friends, and her pet pumpkin, in a world populated by a mixture of monsters and cute fantasy creatures. The novel forms the third part of the Amelia Fang series and is preceded by Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (2017) and Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords (2018). I would recommend reading these stories in sequence if you want to fully appreciate them.

Now that Amelia and her friends have proven that the Creatures of the Light are no threat, Nocturnia has become a very different place to live. Faery exchange students are welcome in school and their classes have been adapted to include a number of new subjects – including Glitterology and Angel Kitten singing. Yet most exciting of all is the new cooking class. Their teacher is the famous faery chef, Mr Sublime, and in his first lesson he sets a contest to win tickets to the Pumpkin Paradise Park to whoever can bake and sell the most Sublime Cookies.

As she dreams of becoming a pumpkinologist, Amelia is desperate to win the tickets. While Tangine is happy to help her out due to his new-found love of cooking, the others seem less than convinced. Florence and Grimaldi are much more interested in playing Goblin Tag and this leads to friction as their lack of focus starts to ruin Amelia’s chance of winning the prize. Amelia also finds herself disappointing her mother. The Countess Frivolita wants Amelia to follow in her footsteps, yet Amelia doesn’t know how to make her mother see that she’s more interested in pumpkins than fancy balls and organ lessons.

However, in the midst of everything, something strange begins to happen. When Florence claims that she forgot about meeting with Amelia, Amelia first assumed that she was lying. Yet, when other people around the town start to become forgetful, she realises that something is seriously wrong. Can she and Tangine find out what is causing the memory loss before their friends and family completely forgot who they are?

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Firedragon Rising

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Firedragon. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Firedragon Rising was written by Mary Fan and first published in 2015. It is a fantasy novella that is set in a world where the magical elite rule over powerless “Norms” with an iron fist. The novella follows on from where The Firedragon (2014) left off and the two stories combined form a prequel to Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil, which was published earlier this year.

It has been three months since Aurelia Sun survived the International Challenge, becoming the first Norm to ever defeat a Fangbeast in combat. Yet she is the only person who knows this. The Triumvirate have done everything in their power to hide her victory, claiming that she was saved from death by a Sentinel. Now she knows for sure that they cannot be trusted. Problem is, they know that she knows.

Following an act of defiance towards Headmaster Everett, Aurelia realises that she has to escape. Helped by both Williams and Connor, she arms herself and steals a motorcycle from the school. Her goal is to reach a safe-house used by the Rising which is hidden deep within the Wasteland. Yet getting there will be difficult, even for her. The Wasteland is filled with supernatural monsters and the Sentinels are hot on her tail. If she is captured, it will likely mean the end for her and all that she holds dear.

However, Aurelia is the Firedragon and is confident that she can defeat anything that stands in her way. Her years of Defender training have taught her everything that she needs to know to go toe to toe with horrible monsters. But it has not prepared her for all the horrors that lie outside of the city. What will she do when she finds herself faced by Dark Enchanters and spirits that are immune to all physical attacks?

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