Review Blog

Oct 26 2020

A Tale of Magic by Chris Colfer

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Hodder & Stoughton 2019. ISBN: 9781510202122.
(Age: Young Adult) Highly recommended. Actor and musician Chris Colfer continues his second career as a bestselling children's author with A Tale of Magic. This is Colfer's first offering outside of his immensely popular Land of Stories series. While set in the same universe and acting as a quasi-prequel, readers do not need to be familiar with the Land of Stories series to enjoy A Tale of Magic.
The narrative centres on Brystal Evergreen, a bookish and intelligent teenager living in a patriarchal and oppressive society. In the Southern Kingdom, ruled over by King Champion XIII and a cadre of crotchety and sexist High Justices, Brystal's life is a never-ending cycle of domestic duties and preparation for her future role as wife and mother.
Until one day Brystal, who loves to read but is forbidden from doing so due to draconian laws outlawing female literacy, applies for a cleaning job at a library. So begins an adventure involving secrets, magic, trials and servitude, culminating in Brystal's enrolment at the newly opened Madame Weatherberry's Academy of Magic. For the first time in her life Brystal begins to form friendships and become comfortable is expressing who she is. However, when Madame Weatherberry disappears, Brystal and her magical classmates must find a way to save their teacher and, while they're at it, the rest of the world.
A Tale of Magic is a vivid, fun and exceedingly enjoyable novel. Colfer excels at world-building and readers will be enchanted by the colourful characters and scenes he brings to life. This book is highly recommended, particularly for fans of magical school narratives, such as Harry Potter and Nevermore. Themes: Magic, Magical Creatures, Witches, Family, Friendship, Adventure.
Rose Tabeni

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