Young people from two schools in the town of Spindrift form an alliance to save children pressed into creating magical weapons for the enemy as war breaks out.
Finlay, from the Orphanage, and
Honey Bee, from the Brathelthwaite School, document the story of the war’s
beginning, describing their roles in the resistance in alternating chapters.
The Whisperers, the residents of a heretofore-benign neighboring kingdom, are
now involved in the disappearance of children, and a vicious influenza outbreak
is revealed to be a kind of biological warfare. As familiar Spindrift citizens
with Shadow Magic origins are rounded up and imprisoned and attacks increase
around the kingdom, the terror of war begins to reveal itself. The
collaborative account details the complexities of this world’s magic types and
beings, differences between the residential schools (the Orphanage for poor
children; Brathelthwaite for quite well-off ones), and the various horrors that
accompany the start of a war no one wants. Viewpoints stay firmly with Finlay
and Honey Bee in ways both hilarious and poignant, with many digs at
assumptions that wealthier is better. The cast assumes a white default, with
clever, dark-skinned Glim, one of the Orphanage children, an exception.
This jam-packed, imaginative adventure is magically immersive and entertaining. (Fantasy. 9-12)