My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
When Grayling’s mother, wise woman Hannah Strong, starts turning into a tree, Hannah sends Grayling to call “the others” for help. Shy and accustomed to following her mother in everything, Grayling takes to the road. She manages to summon several “others”—second-string magic makers who have avoided the tree spell—and sets off on a perilous trip to recover Hannah’s grimoire, or recipe book of charms and potions. By default the leader of the group, which includes a weather witch, an enchantress, an aspiring witch, a wizard whose specialty is divination with cheese, and a talking and shape shifting mouse called Pook, Grayling wants nothing more than to go home.
Kidnapping, imprisonment, near drowning, and ordinary obstacles like hunger, fatigue, and foul weather plague the travelers, but they persist and achieve their goal. Returning, Grayling finds herself reluctant to part with her companions—especially Pook. At home she’s no longer content to live with her bossy mother, who can look after herself just fine, and soon sets out on another journey to unfamiliar places . . . possibly to see the young paper maker who warmed her heart.
Beware spoilers ahead!
I received this E-ARC via Houghton Mufflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I first saw this on Netgalley in December I fell in love with the synopsis! It sounded really sweet and I love Middle Grade fantasy! You can imagine my excitement when I was able to request this. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this.
The book begins with Grayling doing some chores for her mother. They don’t really have the best relationship as her mother makes it point to tell Grayling that she’s no good. After completing some chores for her mother she goes home. Her mother is a doctor and will be having some patients. Grayling will have to babysit one of the patients children.
The next day Grayling is daydreaming when her mother calls her in to come immediately. Grayling still lost in her own head doesn’t go right away. Her mother shouts for her again. Grayling goes to her house thinking of why can’t she get a moments peace.
When she reaches her house she sees that it’s on fire. She runs to find her mother. Much to Grayling’s relief her mother is alive. But her feet are rooted to the ground and she is about to become a tree. Grayling freaks out and is unsure of what to do. Her mother tells her to get everything that survived the fire and to get the ‘others’.
The reason why I didn’t like it is because of the writing style. The way Grayling and her mother spoke to each other was weird. She actually called her mother by her first name. I could barely understand what they were saying. It seems that the author has written in some old type of language. I’m not really sure how to describe it. Some of the narration was alright but again hard to understand.
Overall I really did not like the writing style. I cannot bring myself to recommend this to anyone.