When the words begin to fade from the tomes kept in the Museum of Magical Miscellany, it is up to five young apprentices to rewrite the spells and recapture the power of magic.
In this sequel to Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret (2015), the 12-year-old title character is looking forward to the new term working as an apprentice bookbinder at the museum. While accompanying his younger cousin Thistle to receive his Firemark, indicating his field of study, Archie receives a second mark: a golden circle. Four others, including his cousins, are branded with the same alchemists’ mark, which indicates their ability to write magic. It will take all of their combined talents to save the museum, recapture magic, and keep the “unready” (nonmagical humans) safe from harm. While this series draws heavily upon the world of Harry Potter for inspiration, it is nonetheless entertaining and in this sequel begins to find its own voice. Well-formed characters, quirky details, and a compelling mystery all combine to great effect. Archie is intelligent, curious, and anxious to do the right thing, while his cousins, with their sometimes-reckless exuberance, provide the perfect foil. Cast diversity is limited mainly to hair and eye color, indicating a mostly white one.
An engaging if not terribly original continuation of an enjoyable series. (Fantasy. 8-12)