THE THREADS OF MAGIC, by Alison Croggon, Candlewick, April 13, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 9-12)
A young pickpocket’s world gets turned upside down when he steals a cursed item in Alison Croggon’s The Threads of Magic.
Pip lives by his wits in the city of Clarel. But when he picks the wrong pocket, Pip finds himself in possession of a strange dried heart in a silver casket — and those who lost it will stop at nothing to get it back. With assassins on his trail and the ominous heart beginning to whisper to him, Pip and his childlike older sister El are drawn deeper into the forbidden world of magic. Now they must seek the help of the secret witches of Clarel and Princess Georgette — who is sick of being a pawn in everyone else’s game — to wage revolution against a chilling king, a power-hungry church cardinal, and an ancient evil they don’t truly understand. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
I’m always on the lookout for good standalone middle-grade fantasy. While young readers love a series, there are many who don’t have the attention span for an epic tale. With shorter chapters and a tighter prose, The Threads of Magic offers a satisfying adventure with fantastical scope.
That said, there are a few elements that feel a touch rushed that could have been fleshed out for a more immersive experience.
The main characters in The Threads of Magic offer a nice balance to each other. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, and while they’re not all always likeable, they are compelling, which makes for a more interesting read overall.
Even at 372 pages, The Threads of Magic is a fairly quick read. Magical elements mixed with mystery and adventure should add to the universal appeal of this book.
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