Thursday, June 29, 2023

Conjure Island

Royce, Eden. Conjure Island
June 27, 2023 by Walden Pond Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Delphinia, who would rather be called Del, is used to living with just her grandmother and her father, who is in the military, since her mother died giving birth to her. The family moves frequently, and while it isn't great, Del loves to be with her grandmother (who, byt the way, is 63 years old). The latest transition, however, happens when her father is deployed, so she and her grandmother have to make the move on their own. They have a system, and clean the house and unpack the needed boxes, but the grandmother is uncharacteristically tired. Del is concerned, and rightly so. Her grandmother collapses and ends up in the hospital. Her father can't come home, and since her grandmother needs surgery and will need time to recuperate, she is sent to South Carolina to her great grandmother Rose whom she has never met and didn't even know existed! Rose runs a school on a small island where she teaches conjure magic to kids Del's age who have family connections to powers. There are any number of unusual things, from a tame crocodile, to buildings that appear run down but are really palatial, to a ghost butler! Why was Del never told about all of this? Why has her grandmother never returned to the island? While Del makes friends with fellow student Eva, she keeps the fact that she has family connections to the school secret from her. Eventually, secrets are revealed and the girls find a hidden room with many clues to her grandmother's course of action. Will Del be able to repair hre family's rift and also embrace her family and cultural connection to magic?
Strengths: This had a good magical academy vibe, but for the summer, which seems more realistic than going to a Hogwarts type school! I enjoyed the quick peek at Del's life with her grandmother, and the information about the family's military life. Eva knows a lof more about how the magic works, and is a good friend to have, especially when she saves Del from quicksand. The island setting, especially the house and the library with the unseen librarian, were great fun. Fans of this author's Root Magic will be glad to see another magical book set in the South. 
Weaknesses: Did the mother have to be killed off? Such a common trope in middle grade books, especially fantasy, and it might have been more interesting if both women had just sworn off magic. Also, the grandmother seemed a bit young tobe incapacitated so long, although I did appreciate that it was a more minor health crisis and not, say, a heart attack. 
What I really think: This is a great choice for readers who liked Scott's School of Charm or Dumas' Wildseed Witch.

No comments:

Post a Comment