In Davies’ debut fantasy novel, the last of the sea dragons is about to end human life on Earth—but not if an orphan, her chums and a smattering of mythological creatures can help it.
A giant beast is causing some serious bad weather—an endlessly deepening winter—that threatens orphaned Maia, her twin Polly and their friends, the triplets, with certain death. Maia’s supernatural acquaintances—the swamp ogres, the forest ogres, the snow folk and the giant nightbirds—aren’t immune either. Davies has framed their quest to meet and do battle with the beast deftly, with gathering portent. The gradual introduction of evermore winsome and vile creatures and a steady series of tests—from demonic possession to gregarious ogres who must avoid sunlight or turn to stone—leads the protagonists forward in a web of solidarity, separations and unplanned reunions. The story can’t help but make readers ponder environmental issues—in this case global freezing, though the point is taken. Davies writes with a subdued but evocative power about the forces of nature: the bite of cold, how a driving snow can steal a sense of direction, the dazzle of a snow devil as it spirals into the air. Maia is earmarked as the faerie daughter who will save the day with plenty of help from her friends and no sense of the superhero about her; instead, “a tingle threaded its way through Maia’s dread.” It is thoroughly admirable the way all of the characters stand up to evil, which comes in a variety of shapes and styles from the Thunder Beast to ghosts that play havoc with human emotions to eels full of mischief and a taste for human babies. Davies creates a fantastic and timely tale that will delight young readers and their parents.
A pleasing alchemy of wonderstruck magic and dark revenge.