Three girls learn to do magic with the help of a talking fox in this second installment of a series about the girls and the monsters they fight.
Phoenix Girls Penny and Zoe, both 14, are joined by new friend Katie in this fight-against-evil story. Aided by a magical talking fox called Ronan, Penny consults an enchanted book that teaches them not only spells, but how to fly. Feeling especially melancholy after the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death, orphan Penny finds an old photograph album and tries to learn her own family’s obscure history. Meanwhile, the evil Morgan Duke tries to sweet-talk Penny’s guardian out of their enchanted land. Morgan is the minion of the monster Turoc, whose ultimate goal remains obscure in this installment, but clearly it isn’t a good one. Knight delves deeply into his characters’ minds and lives, sometimes impeding narrative flow but providing full portrayals of the girls, especially Penny. Knight makes few concessions to readers, assuming knowledge of the first book in the series, The Conjuring Glass (2013), and employing sophisticated vocabulary and syntax. Fantasy and suspense elements stand out, particularly a clutch of newly hatched homunculi, and should help propel readers past occasionally dense prose.
Imaginative fun. (Fantasy. 10-14)