MG Mini reviews – the magical ones!

Good morning everyone!

Anyone who has been here long enough will know that magic is my absolute favourite thing about books. If there’s a bit of magic in a book, you can guarantee I’ll pick up and and probably adore it. I don’t know what it is about magic that I just adore… but I can not get enough!

All of today’s reviews feature books that have magic in, in some form or another!

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Otherland – Louie Stowell

Out: NOW!
Age range: Y5+

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Otherland is a dangerous magical underworld – a place where appearances can be deceiving and anything can happen. A world of gods, vampires, and fairies. It’s also… horrible. When life-long friends Myra and Rohan discover that Rohan’s baby sister Shilpa has been stolen and taken to Otherland, the only way to rescue her is by taking part in a deadly game – three impossible challenges set by the Fairy Queen of Otherland. Win the game, and Rohan and Myra can go home with Shilpa – but lose, and they’ll be trapped in Otherland forever…

I was incredibly lucky to be sent a copy of this from the publishers. I adore Louie’s other books (The Monster in the Lake series) and the premise of this just sounded right up my street – dark, magical, friendship? Sign me up instantly. I devoured this in a matter of hours and it was everything I waanted! This is a whole load of fun! You’ve got a story that is jam packed with magic, fairites, changelings all set in a wonderful world. Here you’ve got a story that is a quest to get back something precious. How far would you go to get back something you love? I loved the characters – the way Myra and Rogan were SO different from each other, yet still the best of friends was soemthing I loved to read. The character of Mab was so so briliantly done – sometimes we do things we know aren’t right because we get tunnel vision on what we want and it’s acknowleding those bad things that make us a better person. Theres a whole load of fun and love in this book. There’s some glorious messages about humanity, friendship and family in this. Plus… you’ve gotta love a character who appreciates grammar right!?

Rainbow Grey – Laura Ellen Anderson

Out: 27th May
(click here to preorder an incredible rainbow sprayed edges version from Waterstones)
Age range: Y4+

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Ten-year-old Ray Grey lives in the magical Weatherlands, high in the sky! Ray is surrounded by Weatherlings with astounding weather power at their fingertips . . . but she doesn’t have ANY magic! Then, after a trip to Earth, Ray’s life changes forever. She is transformed from Ray Grey intro RAINBOW GREY! With the help of her best friends (and exploding cloud cat, Nim) now all Ray has to do is master her powers AND save the world from a mysterious, powerful enemy…

Laura Ellen Anderson is another of those authors who just gets it. Eveything she does is a proper delight. Amelia Fang is a brilliant series, and this is the perfect step up for children who are a little bit older, who love the magic of that series! I was lucky enough to receive the most beautiful proof and a print from the publishers and I couldn’t resist it when it arrived… let me tell you, this book is a total and utter delight. Rainbow Grey tells the story of a young girl who lives in a world filled with magic. This sounds like the best thing in the world, but when you’re one of the few people in your world who has no magic of your own, you’re bound to feel like an outsider. Rainbow very much feels like that, until she finds a mysterious crystal! What ensues is a total adventure to save the world and the people she loves from some mysterious evil (in a place she DID NOT expect!!). This story was proper lush and it made me laugh! The illustrations throughout brought me such joy (anyone who knows Laura’s illustrations will know how utterly incredibly talented she is!) I just adore Rainbow and her crew!! There’s some amazing messages in this about the power of hope and the importance of family and friends too! I am so excited this is going to be a series as I can’t wait for the next book… the final line of this story made me GASP (and there’s NO better way to end a book than with a gasp!).

The Hatmakers – Tamzin Merchant

Out: NOW
Age range: Y4+

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“Cordelia comes from a long line of magical milliners, who weave alchemy and enchantment into every hat. In Cordelia’s world, Making – crafting items such as hats, cloaks, watches, boots and gloves from magical ingredients – is a rare and ancient skill, and only a few special Maker families remain. When Cordelia’s father Prospero and his ship, the Jolly Bonnet, are lost at sea during a mission to collect hat ingredients, Cordelia is determined to find him. But Uncle Tiberius and Aunt Ariadne have no time to help the littlest Hatmaker, for an ancient rivalry between the Maker families is threatening to surface. Worse, someone seems to be using Maker magic to start a war. It’s up to Cordelia to find out who, and why…”

I love the idea of magical families where the magic gets passed down through generation after generation. And a lost dad. The sound of the world of this made me so happy: clothing made from magical ingredients that can have an impact on the people around them? Yes please! Reading this transported me to this incredible world of secrets and incredible hat shops where they have the most incredible ingredients to make hats of all shapes, sizes and impacts! This is jam packed with gorgeous magic and characters to match! I loved Cordelia: she was brave, stubborn and definant, but she had a conscience and always wanted to do what was best. There’s so much charm about this book that kept me wanting to read on. There were some BIG twists and turns that I didn’t see coming that I blew me away… I AM SHOCKED that I need to wait til next year to read this because well… I NEED TO READ IT NOW. If you’re looking for an incredible adventure of centuries old magic, a slightly bonkers king and some secrets, look no further! There are some GLORIOUS illustrations by Paola Escabar too that just added so much to the story – they put a massive smile on my face!

Rumaysa – Radiya Hafiza

Out: NOW
Age range: Y4+

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This funny and empowering story weaves together three classic fairytales into one new adventure with an unusual structural twist: Rumaysa is a Muslim girl who lets her hijab down from a tall tower in order to escape. Set in a magical version of South Asia, Rumaysa explores enchanted forests and dragon lairs, teaming up with Cinderayla and Sleeping Sara along the way to create a strong sense of sisterhood.

I read this book a while ago and it has totally stuck with me. It’s been around my class and I’d say of the 30 of them, 20 have read it! This is a gorgeous retelling of some of our most well-loved fairytales, but with a spin! I thought the inclusion of Muslim protagonists and South Asian culture was seamless and unique. There were some great plot twists and some actually quite thrilling scenes! I loved the characters and the way the stories were all linked together. There’s something quite magical and nostalgic about traditional/fairy tales and one like this that gives it a modern, inclusive spin is much much needed in the world. There are some wonderful messages in this: friends will always help you. I liked that the spins didn’t just stop at the main characters, but that there were fresh takes on the other characters too. Yay for stories that show that ALL children can be heroes regardless of where they’re from!

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A massive thank you to the publishers for sending me copies of these! I always love a magical book and there are never enough in my life, hah!

Have you got any favourite magical lands?
What was the last magical book you read?

Talk to me in the comments!

S x

3 thoughts on “MG Mini reviews – the magical ones!

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