Like most people my age, Harry Potter was a life-changing series in my teen years. Back in the day of Borders and other large-scale bookstores, I remember dressing up and waiting bleary-eyed for the newest book to release at midnight. Then, it was all I could do to savor the story when I just wanted to find out what happened next. But Harry Potter is always the hero, the “Chosen One,” and the other characters are helpful, but it is ultimately up to him to solve the perpetual Voldemort problem.
What if the story were told from the perspective of one of the other students? Perhaps a squib or less powerful wizard always finding themselves in Harry’s shadow?
Allow me to introduce Caradine Moone, the protagonist of the action-packed story Spell Sweeper. Caradine is a wizard, but she comes from a non-magical, or Bliss, family, so her true nature must remain secret from them. However, she does not possess enough magic to pursue traditional wizard studies, so she is outcast to spell sweeper curriculum, instead. You see, in Caradine’s world, magic leaves residue that must be neutralized and swept up by trained wizards like her. Infinitely jealous of everyone who gets to study “real magic,” like the Chosen One, Harlee Wu, Caradine would do nearly anything to change her destiny. But, when unusual things begin happening in both the magical and Bliss worlds, it is up to Cara and her friends to save the world as they know it. Please see my full review here.
The writing in this book is superb, often leaving readers chuckling to themselves or captivated by complex and eye-catching vocabulary. Phrases like “coniferous whips” are included alongside “hashtag old” to create a blended narrative that incorporates recognizable, colloquial language with elevated terminology. This dynamic approach makes the story at once accessible and educational for readers of all ages.
Cara’s world includes characters from myriad backgrounds, emphasizing the multicultural nature of the specialized study of wizardry. Alongside diverse humans are an equally varied collection of familiars, or animals who befriend and unite with wizard companions. While some of these creatures are recognizable, they all have a magical quality that makes readers want one of their own.
This story incorporates even more than I am able to share in this blog or in my review; it really must be read in its entirety to be fully understood. Though there were questions still lingering in my mind at the end of the book, I appreciated the ending and I hope there will be another installment. Digging deep, Cara discovers the power she has within her even when she feels inadequate around others much of the time. This is a powerful, enjoyable, and inspirational story that is well suited to readers in middle grade and up.
Do you know another great book I should feature in my blog? Message me here and let me know!