A Mortal Song

A Mortal Song was written by Megan Crewe and first published in 2016. It is a fantasy story set in modern day Japan, focusing on a group of humans and kami who join forces to fight a powerful demon. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

As a kami princess, Sora has always longed to find her speciality and take on her sacred duties. However, as she prepares to confront her parents about this, disaster strikes. An army of ghosts overruns the palace on Mount Fuji. With the help of her bodyguard – Takeo – she manages to escape and goes in search of a sage who might be able to tell them how to save everyone. However, it is there that Sora learns that her whole life is a lie.

There is a prophecy that a kami princess will use the three imperial treasures to banish evil from the mountain, but that princess is not Sora. She is actually a completely ordinary human who was switched with the true princess at birth. In order to save the kami still trapped in the palace, Sora and Takeo must venture into Tokyo and locate the true princess. She is the only one with the power to save the day.

As Sora moves further away from Mount Fuji, she feels the magic that she has borrowed slowly leave her and must accept that she is not a kami. Her real family lives somewhere in the city and she must soon accept her fate and return to them. However, first she must help to train the princess. The ghosts will be at full strength during the festival of Obon, and that is only a few days away…

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The Wizards of Once

The Wizards of Once was written by Cressida Cowell and first published in 2017. It is a middle grade fantasy series, set in a world where magic using Wizards and non-magical Warriors are constantly at odds with each other. The novel forms the first part of a series and is followed by Twice Magic (2018).

In the Dark Ages, the woods of the British Isles were a place of magic. Wizards practiced their crafts in the Wild Woods, making potions and befriending the sprites, giants and snowcats that lived nearby. However, they never saw eye to eye with the Warriors, who confined themselves to the Warrior Fort and the surrounding countryside. The Warriors did not have magic and used iron, which had the ability to sap a Wizard of their power. They were also completely unreasonable, believing that all magic was evil and punishing any Wizard that they found.

Xar is the youngest son of King Encanzo of the Wizards but carries a secret shame. He is thirteen years old and so his magic should have come in by now, yet he can’t cast a single spell. However, he has a cunning plan. He intends to hunt for a Witch – a legendary creature that is believed to be extinct – and find a way to steal their dark powers. However, his Witch hunt is called short when it is interrupted by Wish – the youngest daughter of Queen Sychorax of the Warriors – who has recently come to possess two enchanted artefacts and is keen to hide this fact from her mother.

Seizing a chance to gain powers for himself (and show up his older brother Looter), Xar steals Wish’s magical sword and heads home to enter himself in a Spelling contest. Yet it soon becomes clear that his rash actions have terrible unforeseen consequences. When one of Xar’s friends is cursed, he is forced to team up with Wish to hunt for the cure. Unfortunately for him, this cure can only be found deep in Queen Sychorax’s dungeons…

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Evermore

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

Evermore was written by Sara Holland and first published in 2018. It is a fantasy novel set in a world where time is currency, focusing on a teenage girl’s mission to defeat a wicked sorceress. The novel forms the concluding part of the Everless series and follows on directly from where Everless (2017) left off, therefore I would strongly advise reading the novels in sequence to have any idea of what is going on.

Jules Ember’s life has been turned upside down. Not only has she been framed for the deaths of both the Queen and Lord Roan, but she now knows the truth about her power to slow the flow of time. She is the reincarnation of the Alchemist – the hated figure of legend who stole the immortal Sorceress’s heart and bound time to the blood of everyone in Sempera. Now, nowhere is safe for Jules. Not only is she hunted and despised for her supposed crimes, but Caro will stop at nothing to recapture her. The Sorceress wants her heart back and that means it first must be broken.

Although Liam and his friends try to smuggle Jules to safety, she knows that she cannot run away. Her sister Ina – now the new Queen – has no idea of what Caro is or the danger that she represents. The only way that Jules can protect her sister is by finding a way to kill the Sorceress but doing so seems to be impossible due to the Sorceress’s terrifying ability to regenerate herself. If only Jules can find a way to access her inherited memories from the time of the Alchemist. Perhaps they could contain some way to stop her archenemy.

With Liam’s help, Jules travels across the land in search of places that were significant to the Alchemist. In doing so, it’s not long before she sees glimpses of an ancient jewelled dagger which could well have the power to kill the unkillable. Yet can these memories be trusted, or are they just another way for Caro to trap her…

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The Thief

The Thief was written by Megan Whalen Turner and first published in 1996. It is a high fantasy story that focuses on a small group of men on a quest to find an object with mystical powers. The novel forms the first part of The Queen’s Thief series and is followed by The Queen of Attolia (2000), The King of Attolia (2006), A Conspiracy of Kings (2010) and Thick as Thieves (2017). A sixth instalment – Return of the Thief – is expected to be released later this year.

Determined to prove himself as a master thief, Gen stole the seal of the King of Sounis. Unfortunately, he then had the foolishness to brag about his victory to everyone in the local inn and soon found himself a prisoner in the inescapable royal gaol. It seems as though he has been left there to rot, until the day when the magus – advisor to the King – comes to him with a proposition.

The magus has discovered the location of an ancient artefact – one with the power to crown a new ruler of the neighbouring kingdom of Eddis. Unfortunately, all parties who have gone to retrieve it have never returned. The magus needs the skills of a thief and is willing to offer Gen his freedom in return. However, if Gen refuses, the magus has the power to ensure that he will never see the light of day again.

With the protection of a skilled soldier called Pol, and the magus’s two apprentices – Sophos and Ambiades – the party sets off on a long journey across three nations, each on the edge of war with each other. Their success will determine who will rule over these countries for centuries to come. However, if any of the other rulers catch wind of what the magus has planned, they will stop at nothing to destroy them.

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Shifters and Glyphs

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Wolves and Roses. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Shifters and Glyphs was written by Christina Bauer and first published in 2018. It tells the continuing story of Bryar Rose, a teenage girl who has the rare ability to use every kind of magic, as she tries to prevent all magic from disappearing from the world. The novel forms the second full-length instalment of the Fairytales of the Magicorum series, following on from Wolves and Roses (2017) and the novella Magic and Midtown (2018).

Bryar Rose thought that her troubles were over when she defeated Jules. She found out that she was a rare Trilorum (a person with the powers of a witch, a fae and a shifter), awoke her inner wolf and found a loyal mate in Knox. Yet her nightmares have been getting worse. Every morning she wakes up terrified and yet cannot remember why.

Things take a downward turn as she starts to attend a magical school for the first time. She nearly gets expelled on the first day when the doors to each wing refuse to open for her and Knox suddenly gets sick, gradually seeming to lose his Warden powers. Through this, Bry learns two terrible truths. Firstly, the fountain of magic will activate in a few days and, if she does not find it in that time, it could fall into the hands of evil monsters called the Shadowvin. Secondly, Knox’s illness is magical and she could very well be the cause.

Unsure of what she can do to help, Bry pours all of her efforts into locating the fountain. Her quest will take her across Europe and back in time as she learns about the origin of the three schools of magic. It quickly becomes apparent that she is the only one who can prevent all magic from fading from the world. However, it may require for her to make a terrible sacrifice…

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The Curses

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

The Curses was written by Laure Eve and is due for release in January 2019. It is a fantasy story that focuses on a teenage group of witches as they fight to break a deadly curse on their family. The novel is the sequel to The Graces (2016) and so I would strongly recommend reading these novels in sequence if you want to have any idea of what is going on.

After Wolf’s resurrection, Summer Grace and her siblings have been trying to heal. They have cut River from their lives and are doing their best to go back to the way that they were before. However, when Marcus stumbles back into their life, they realise that they can’t distance themselves forever. River has been using her magic to grant wishes for the townsfolk, often with sinister consequences.

The Graces know that they need to do something to reign in River’s dark power but they are not certain where to begin. Her magic is very different to theirs’ and is potentially more destructive. Yet, as Summer researches into her family’s past, she realises that the Graces have encountered spirit witches before. She begins to wonder if there is a way to use River’s power for good after all. Perhaps it will even be enough to break the Grace family curse.

Yet it quickly becomes apparent that River is not their most pressing concern. Wolf has come back different. He is no longer quiet and brooding, instead seeming to suffer from some serious impulse control issues. As Summer tries to find a way to help him, she learns about a dark secret that her parents have tried to hide from her. History may be repeating itself and, if it truly is, disaster and death are soon to follow…

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Soulbinder

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

Spellslinger | Shadowblack | Charmcaster

Soulbinder was written by Sebastien de Castell and first published in 2018. It tells the continuing story of Kellen, a young outlaw who travels across the desert and avoids assassins sent by his father, all the while hunting for a cure for his deadly affliction. The novel forms the fourth part of the Spellslinger series and follows on directly after Spellslinger (2017), Shadowblack (2017) and Charmcaster (2018). Because of this, I would really recommend reading the novels in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Kellen and Reichis have not had the best of times since they parted company with Ferius. Their hunt for the legendary Ebony Abbey – a place that supposedly holds the secret to curing the shadowblack – has left them stranded in the middle of nowhere with no food, water or hope of rescue. To make matters worse, they have learned that a warband of seventy-seven Jan’Tep mages have been charged with hunting them down; a band that already claims to have killed Ferius.

However, Kellen’s hunt has not been in vain. As he waits for death, the monks of the Ebony Abbey find him. Leaving Reichis to die in the desert, they kidnap Kellen and whisk him away to their remote sanctuary on the distant continent of Obscaria. It is here that he soon learns the truth about the monks. They do not have a cure for the shadowblack but instead have embraced it, learning to use the unique powers that it gives them.

Although the inhabitants of the Ebony Abbey wish to live a secret life at peace, Kellen knows that this cannot last. Even if the monks manage not to succumb to the demonic influence of the shadowblack, he knows that their days are numbered. Ke’heops will inevitably find them and wipe them out in order to curry favour with his people. The only question is if Kellen can escape – and if he can convince the monks to flee with him – before the Jan’Tep army arrives at their gates…

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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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