THE WHISPERING WARS by Jaclyn Moriarty


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Age Range: 9 - 12
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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)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-338-25587-4
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2019


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