Children go missing all the time. Sometimes, there is a fuss. Sometimes, they come home. Sometimes, they’ve been much further than you’d think. Welcome to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Leave your disbelief at the door. Open your heart wide. Bring tissues.
When inexperienced Jonah Oblong is hired to teach history at Rotherweird School, the laws are clearly laid down: nothing before 1800 and no digging into local history. But Sir Veronal Slickstone, new owner of Rotherweird Manor, intends to turn all the town’s regulations upside down – and God help those who get in his way.
A Conjuring of Light is the finale of the Shades of Magic trilogy, picking up right where A Gathering of Shadows left off: Red London under threat, Kell captured, Rhy dying, Lila desperate and ready to find out whether she is what we’ve all come to suspect she may be. So, err, spoilers, right? Right.
Ellie and Zera are best friends from different worlds, separated by a wardrobe door that has closed without warning. Cut off by circumstance and by time streams that flow ever further apart, the friends realise that sometimes you must open your own doors. A Merc Rustad gives us a Nebula-nominated portal fantasy.
London: one name, three cities in three very different worlds, each with more magic than the last. Only two men hold the power to cross between worlds, and one is about to unwittingly put them all at risk. Because there was once a fourth London – and its magic tires of being sealed away…
Rounding out the trilogy with a rousing conclusion, The Armies of Daylight largely delivers. I don’t expect a major plot twist half way through the final book of a trilogy, but it worked well and made the final stretch a darker, more foreboding ride.
The saga continues (as does the in-story travelling, in spades). This is very much a Middle Book in which stuff is found out, additional civilizations feature to justify more worldbuilding and pieces are moved on (and off) the board in preparation for the grand finale.
This is traditional portal fantasy: two outsiders from our world are sucked into a conflict with an ancient, (literally) nebulous enemy in a parallel fantasy world. Darwath is losing the war, its King is dead, his heir a baby, and the political powers are at one another’s throats as they vie for control in spite of ongoing assaults. This first installment sets the scene and embeds the offworlders for (presumably) future glory.