I absolutely loved the first book in the series, “Evernight” when it reached our shelves in early 2020. It introduced us to a new world that we very quickly became engrossed in. I was already a fan of the author, Ross Mackenzie through his series about the “Nowhere Emporium” and was delighted by this strange new world that he presented us with. The main characters are the young girl Lara(belle) Fox and her friend Joe; both of them are Toshers and much like the ones in Victorian London, they make a living finding lost items in the sewer below the city of King’s Haven. When the country is threatened by the Everdark and the evil Mrs Hester, together with the Silver King, who rules the land, they link up with the Westerly Witches in an attempt to thwart their evil plans. At the end of this book we get the impression that Mrs Hester has been eliminated and that a greater freedom is starting to seem possible for the general population. But is everything really better?
In this second book we find ourselves nearly a year further on in time; Lara has just passed her test and become a Witch, whilst Joe is getting over the death of his grandmother, as well as feeling rather out of place in the magical environment. He decides to return to King’s Haven and the world that he knows, but he is asked to meet up with Rob, a ‘resistance’ worker, in order to carry out a secret mission. At the same time Lara is also sent south, to work with another Witch and find out what has caused several mysterious deaths. The friends make the first part of the journey together and end up helping a young girl, who is showing startling signs of ‘out of control’ magic. We have two parallel stories going on throughout the book, but we gradually come to understand that they are linked and that there are some deeply evil minds trying to destroy the witches and keep the population under their control.
This is an absolutely brilliant book and a worthy successor to the first in the series and whilst I am sure that people can dive straight in to this book, I think it is better to have read the first book, so that you are totally immersed in the world. The cast of characters may be quite familiar, but they are having to cope with increasing danger and a whole range of villains. We see the young people mature as they have to cope with the terrifying events that surround them. Luckily they have strong friendship bonds that give them the strength to carry on, despite the dangers. I absolutely love the way that the author has created a world that is so different from our own and yet it is one that we can believe in. The action is fast paced and at times quite hard hitting; the author is not afraid to show that death can be a consequence of standing up to the evil that the heroes face. The atmosphere really sparks the imagination and I can see the book being used in school to encourage activities from writing and drawing, to music and drama. It is yet another fabulous read for the older ‘middle grade’ reader and I know it will become yet another firm favourite not only in the home, but also in the classroom. This is definitely a five star story.
thank you to Scottish Book Trust, who host this information