In the second installment of this middle-grade fantasy series, a young orphan witch may be powerful enough to break a longtime curse.
Abigail’s second year at Tarkana Witch Academy promises to be as strenuous as her first. Fellow student Endera continues to torment her, and Endera’s equally hateful High Witch mother, Melistra, is teaching one of Abigail’s courses. Their animosity stems from an allegation that Abigail’s late mother Lissandra, whom Abigail never knew, was a traitor to their coven. Meanwhile, Abigail’s friend Hugo, who attends the science-based Balfin School for Boys, has heard vague rumors of an impending war. This seems to be connected to recent signs of a prophecy, which says a chosen one will break a curse placed on witches by the god Odin. The Tarkana witches could then take the powerful Odin’s Stone away from the Orkadians, the apparent rulers of the Orkney realm in which they all live—and then declare war on them. According to the prophecy, the Curse Breaker’s magic is “different from any other’s”—much like Abigail’s uniquely blue witchfire. This could mean that Abigail has immensely powerful abilities, which other witches, such as Melistra, desperately crave. Meanwhile, Abigail is fighting to resist a strange, persistent voice that’s trying to draw her toward dark magic. Adams’ (The Blue Witch, 2018, etc.) concise prose delivers a quick read that’s packed with colorful characters and subplots. She skillfully weaves together the stories of new and returning characters, but although the plot is easy to follow, new readers would find it helpful to read the opening installment. The characters have engaging relationships (Abigail acts as an older sister to another witch, Safina) and memorable fantastic elements, as in a dreamlike sequence in which Abigail may be using magic subconsciously. There are some amusing moments, as well, including alliterative course titles, such as Horrible Hexes and Positively Potent Potions. The final act ramps up the tension, and the ending will make readers yearn for a follow-up. Returning illustrator Stroh’s bold black-and-white artwork, as in the previous book, perfectly captures the author’s stunningly detailed world.
An enchanting magical sequel that will satisfy fans of the series.