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Title: Shadows of Winterspell
Author: Amy Wilson
Published: 17th of October 2019 – Macmillan Children’s Books
Format: Paperback – 320 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
Hello Hello! How are you all?
I thought I would break things up this week and post my review of this lovely Middle Grade fantasy story that I read with the Middle Grade Marvels book club a few months ago! I really enjoyed this book and it took me by surprise, so keep on reading for all my thoughts!
Stella has been living behind the magic of the forest for most of her life. Lonely, she enrolls at the local school, and as she begins to make friends, she discovers that she is even more different than she thought.
But as autumn turns to magical winter, Stella realizes that uncovering her own family secret is the only way to release the forest from the grip of a dark and old magic.
Shadows of Winterspell by Amy Wilson is a middle grade fantasy story in which we meet Stella, a sprite who has been hiding from what she is and who her family are her whole life until she decides that she wants to go to school and her world is turned upside down.
I read this book with the Middle Grade Marvels book club that I co-host on Twitter. It was a much shorter book than some of our previous ones, but it was wintry, atmospheric, enchanting, whimsical, magical, it was just a great book!
I’m only going to do a mini-review for this one because it is only a short book, and I think it’s best to go into this story blind because it’s so sweet, you just have to experience it for yourself.
Stella grows so much in this novel and although I was very suspicious of a few characters in this book, I adored the relationships Stella had with Yanny, Zara, Peg, Nan and Teacake. She is such a strong young girl and I think her character was written beautifully, she was so real and believable, I was so proud of her at the end.
The premise is a really unique one. For years, the forest and the fae have been, I suppose, “prisoners” of the Shadow King, an evil, sad and grieving King who has turned his world to shadows. His shadows destroy the forest and the fae who are trying to fight back, but they are struggling. Stella doesn’t know much about anything that is happening, and I really appreciated the fact that the plot twists and revelations are fairly immediate, the book didn’t drag and I wasn’t frustrated about not knowing what was happening.
I love that Stella decides that she wants to go to school and heads off on her own. She grows up so much in this story and I loved seeing her in school because she learned so much there, and so did the reader, especially about Winterspell and the fae that live there.
Nan, Teacake and Peg were such amazing characters too, really unique, but I really liked getting to know them, even though I was a little bit suspicious of them at one point! Zara is also a fabulous character, she takes everything in her stride and genuinely shocked me in the end! I can’t say much about Yanny, but I did like reading about him and learning about his family.
You can definitely feel that the forest and the shadows are their own characters and I found this to be a really great addition to the book. The ending kind of flopped for me, unfortunately, and it is reflected in my star-rating. I was expecting a lot more things to be explained and pieces put together, but in the end, we didn’t get all the answers. I’m not mad about it because every reader can imagine whatever future they want for the story, but I do like to have stories end and all the loose ends tied up! I still really enjoyed it though.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this book was lovely! It took me by surprise and I have to say that Amy Wilson is an author that I will read again! The writing style was easy, fluid and beautiful, it really kept me in the story and I found that it went hand in hand with the setting and the characters.
I just loved this book and I could gush about it all day, but a) I don’t have time (sorry) and b) you need to read this story for yourself. So I’ll stop waffling now aha! I gave this book 4 stars (find my full ASPECTS rating below), just a few issues with the ending and a few little blips in the story, but I was immersed while reading it and I think it would be a marvellous pick for anyone aged 8 and up! So if you love magic, fae, stories and legends, strong characters, fantasy and middle grade books, this is the one for you.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
Atmosphere – 7
Start – 5.5
Pacing – 6
Ending – 5.5
Characters – 6
Theme – 7
Style – 8
Total = 45
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If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK – Amazon FR – Amazon US – AbeBooks – The Book Depository – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Blackwell’s – BetterWorldBooks