Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith | It Actually IS Like Harry Potter

Author: Shaun Hume
Genre: Fantasy | Middle grade
Series: Ewan Pendle #1
Goodreads rating: 4.16
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

Ewan Pendle was weird. Really weird. At least, that’s what everyone told him. Then again, being able to see monsters that no one else could wasn’t exactly normal …

Thinking he has been moved off to live with his eleventh foster family, Ewan is instead told he is a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of peoples who can alone see the real ‘Creatures’ which inhabit the earth. He is taken in by Enola, the mysterious sword carrying Grand Master of Firedrake Lyceum, a labyrinth of halls and rooms in the middle of London where other children, just like Ewan, go to learn the ways of the Creatures (Goodreads).

DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review

Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith was honestly a joy to read. I’m always a bit skeptical when a book is compared to Harry Potter, but Ewan Pendle definitely had the Harry Potter vibes I loved yet isn’t too similar too Harry Potter.

While there are definitely similarities (Ewan and Harry both being orphans, not growing up in a loving home, finding out they’re actually part of a magical world, going to a school in that world and discovering a bigger mystery that they’re trying to solve), Ewan Pendle is definitely not a blatant Harry Potter rip-off. Ewan’s world and story are definitely original (and fun!)

Being a Lenitnes, Ewan doesn’t just need to know magic, he also needs to know how to handle a sword, martial arts, stealth, and a bunch of other really cool subjects. Though he doesn’t need to excel at everything: after their first year they’re sorted into ‘cliques’ based on what subject they’re best at. I thought this was really cool, because when you’re taught how to battle dangerous magical creatures being able to handle your own without magic and being stealthy are really handy.

My favourite subject to read about was probably Pyro. It reminded me a bit of potions, but the ‘potions’ are inside Pyro Eggs, which I found really cool.

The Legerdemain Concoction (Black). When broken onto stone, will create the illusion of three large and heavyset cloaked figures deserting the area the Egg Shell is broken onto.

The Verglas Concoction (White). When broken onto a wet surface, creates a hard and slippery layer of ice, spreading out to over forty square feet and lasting up to an hour.

There are also Egg Shells that need to be broken into fire or grass, and I’m sure there are many more. I really loved all the worldbuilding in this book, but the Pyro Eggs really stood out to me.

I also really loved the writing style. The descriptions were so vivid I could easily imagine everything. You know how when a book is really good you forget you’re actually reading something, and you’re not actually there? That was me with Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. The entire book just felt magical and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It took me a while to actually finish this, but that’s definitely not the book’s fault. I wanted to read it whenever I could.

Whispers in the night, the White Wraith will call,
Slicing through the air, they will come for us all,
Turbulent in mind, it claws at your soul,
Spirits taken away, bodies left to fall

I also of course really loved the characters. There were lots of unique characters that all stood out. I do have to admit that sometimes I wasn’t sure which teacher was who, but the important ones were easy to keep track of. But the ones that captured my heart were Ewan and his two best friends: Mathilde and Enid. I loved their little trio, how supportive of each other they were, accepted each other and their flaws, had each other backs and tried to solve the mystery together. Ewan is a little cinnamon roll who had no problem standing up to older tough-looking kids who were bullying Enid (at this point he didn’t know her yet), even though Enid didn’t need the help at all (she’s such a bad-ass I love her. She’s also a pirate!!). Mathilde is just such a joy and such a good friend and together they all balance each other out.

Also! There were multiple characters that aren’t white, including both Mathilde and Enid

This book filled me with a lot of joy and warm and fuzzy feelings. I first rated this four stars, but writing this review made me wonder why I had given it four and not five? So I changed my rating, because I absolutely loved it.

If you loved Harry Potter, I think you’ll definitely enjoy this one

Have you read Ewan White and the White Wraith yet? Do you want to? Any other books that you think are worthy of being compared to Harry Potter (without being a rip-off)? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Avalon Web of Magic #1-3 by Rachel Roberts

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Genre: Middle grade | Fantasy
Series: Avalon: Web of Magic #1-3
Goodreads rating: 4.07 | 4.04 | 4.28
My rating: ★★★

summary

I’ll only put the summary of the first book here, to avoid spoilers.

Three very different girls are all drawn to a secret place deep in the woods. There they discover a portal to another world through which strange and wondrous animals have emerged, searching desperately for the magic that will keep them alive. The animals are peaceful and good, but what follows them through the portal is pure evil. Emily, Adriane, and Kara have been chosen by magical beings called Fairimentals to protect the magical animals, though they don’t know why. To save them and their world, the three girls must begin a quest to find the lost home of legendary magic, Avalon…or to perish trying.

review

I bought the omnibus edition of the first three books in the Avalon: Web of Magic, so I’ll be reviewing the three books together.

I think I would’ve enjoyed these books a lot better when I was younger and that I would’ve definitely continued the series. The worldbuilding is fun and the animals are adorable, but the plot itself is kind of flat. The books are already quite short, but barely anything happens in the first two books. I guess I wouldn’t have had this problem if I actually liked the characters. Emily and Ariadne are okay (though I don’t care about them), but Kara is just plain annoying. She is your typical mean girl and in the first three books there doesn’t seem to be much else to her. I don’t think she really grew that much, but then again none of the characters did. Of course there are more books (I think there are about twelve books in total), but in my opinion there should already be more character development at this point. I also think that a reader (me, hi! *waves*) shouldn’t care more about a minor character that doesn’t even talk because he’s a purple bear-like thing (or at least he’s described as bear-like) than about the main characters.

The writing style was okay, but it really annoyed me that there were random exclamation points! They really didn’t make any sense! And they just sounded weird! But apart from that there was nothing wrong with it. Nothing special, but nothing mind-blowing either.

The drawings really added to the story and made it feel more magical. I liked the element of friendship and how it’s all about saving the animals. Also almost all of the magical creatures were made up by the author which was really original.

The second (All That Glitters) is my least favourite. It’s from Kara’s POV (and we’ve already established how I feel about her). I constantly rolled my eyes at her thoughts (I really thought she would’ve changed at least a little bit since the first book) and especially in this one I felt like nothing was happening. In the third one there’s a lot more action, but just not enough to make me want to continue this series.

All in all I would’ve enjoyed this when I was younger (magic, magical animals, different worlds, pretty drawings!). Have you read this? Do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase

Genre: Middle grade | fantasy
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
Goodreads rating: 4.25
My rating: ★★★★

summary

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . . (Goodreads)

review

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer was one of my most anticipated releases of 2015 (pretty sure I started my Carry On review the same way?), but it was a bit of a let down.

Don’t get me wrong! I still enjoyed it, but I wasn’t blown away, I didn’t really fall in love with the characters (though hopefully I will in the sequel!) and, well, basically I just expected more.

love Norse mythology. When I say love, I mean love. I used to be obsessed with it and know everything there is to know, by heart. I wish I could still say that, but alas, I’ve forgotten some stuff. But I still adore Norse mythology, plus it’s Rick Riordan so my expectations were high. Maybe those expectations were partly why the book was a bit of a disappointment (with the emphasis on bit! Look at those shiny (well not exactly shiny) four stars!). BUT! It was still fun to read Uncle Rick’s take on all the Gods and the myths and to guess who was who before they were introduced and to go ‘of course!’ when someone was introduced or something was explained.

I’m not sure how I felt about Magnus and Sam, mainly because they felt like Percy and Annabeth, but a more boring version. Again, don’t get me wrong; I liked them. I’m not saying they were boring, but they were boring compared to Percy and Annabeth. Even their relationship was like Percy and Annabeth’s (though it might not grow into love, which I kind of hope it won’t, not because they resemble Percabeth, but I’d just like them to remain friends. Though of course I might end up shipping them and look back at this post and laugh) with Magnus being a bit of an idiot and Sam lecturing him and rolling her eyes at him.

Somewhere in the middle it started to drag a bit. I started to get a bit bored and lose motivation to read (WHICH SHOULDN’T HAPPEN DURING A RICK RIORDAN BOOK). I’m not saying there weren’t enjoyable moments in those parts, but I feel like the pace should’ve picked up a bit and that it was just as quick as in the beginning and the ending.

I did really love the beginning. Magnus is a homeless kid, which is really cool. He’s best friends with other homeless dudes. Sam is a Muslim (DIVERSITY). Hearth is deaf (MORE DIVERSITY). Annabeth has some cameos. Uncle Rick’s take on Norse mythology was cool, unique and fun to read. I loved the idea of the hotel, though I wouldn’t want to go there unlike Camp Half-Blood or Camp Jupiter. The hilarious chapter titles were back. There was a lot of humor and sass in the book, plus great pop culture references (I’m starting to expect a Doctor Who reference in every Rick Riordan book now). The action was exciting, especially towards the ending. And I just loved the ending. I’m excited for the next book, but I can wait, which is new to me when it comes to Rick Riordan books.

Have you read Magnus Chase yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani

thelasteverafter

Genre: Middle grade (though I’ve seen it classified as ya a few times as well), fantasy, fairy tales
Series: The School for Good and Evil #3
Goodreads rating: 4.54
My rating: ★★★★★

 

Warning: Spoilers for the first two books

summary

In the epic conclusion to Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling series, The School for Good and Evil, everything old is new again as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their story.

As A World Without Princes closed, the end was written and former best friends Sophie and Agatha went their separate ways. Agatha was whisked back to Gavaldon with Tedros and Sophie stayed behind with the beautiful young School Master.

But as they settle into their new lives, their story begs to be re-written, and this time, theirs isn’t the only one. With the girls apart, Evil has taken over and the villains of the past have come back to change their tales and turn the world of Good and Evil upside down.

review

Me once I finished it. Also a few times during the book. IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL AND ALL THE FEELS AND THANK YOU SOMAN FOR SUCH A PERFECT CONCLUSION TO THIS WONDERFUL TRILOGY

Two years ago I noticed The School for Good and Evil at the bookstore. The cover drew me in, the blurb told me ‘BUY THIS NOW’. Now, two years later, one of my favourite trilogies has ended.

I have to admit that while I loved A World Without Princes (the second book), it wasn’t as good as The School for Good and Evil. I’m so happy that The Last Ever After was though, maybe even better.

I don’t even know how to describe my feelings towards this book. It was PERFECT. I just…

Except I will be less aggressive while I push the book into your hands and whisper ‘read it read it read it’ into your ear

I especially loved how flawed Tedros was in this book. He really annoyed me at times, but I loved it, because it showed that he’s a three-dimensional character instead of a perfect prince. YAY.

Agatha was just as lovable as in the first two books. No one hurt my baby *looking at you Tedros and Sophie*. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but her character development in this book is beautiful (her entire character development through out the trilogy is). Her relationship with Sophie is even more complicated in this one than in the previous two. Spoiler: I loved that the entire war was dependent on their friendship, on their love for each other. Not romantic love, no, friendship. YES

What to say about Sophie without giving too much away? If you read the previous two books (which I hope you have otherwise there are quite a few spoilers for you in this review) you know she kissed the Schoolmaster to live, giving Evil the chance to wipe out Good. This also means she has to  embrace her inner Evil, though she still tries to be Good. Her struggle is interesting to read, more so than in the previous two books, as while in the first two books everyone told her she was Evil, in this one she acknowledges herself that she is.

I also loved that while there’s a clear Evil and Good, there are still areas of grey. Not every hero is 100% Good, nor are the villains 100% evil. Spoiler: They help each other and know that one side cannot exist without the other. It’s not so much a war between Good and Evil as a war against the Schoolmaster himself.

Then there are the minor characters. HORT HORT HORT. I love Hort (as you may be able to tell haha). I already loved him from the beginning and my baby has grown so much since then. He’s matured a lot and stands up for himself (GO HORT). Also the Coven. I absolutely adore them.

We are also introduced to some famous fairy tale characters, except they’re not exactly how you remember them… I especially loved Cinderella and the twist that was put on her story. It’s quite simple, but not something I had thought of!

Okay, so let’s make a list of all the things I liked, so that I can organise my thoughts a bit:

  • The main three characters all had their moments of brilliance and annoying the shit out of me, thus showing they were realistic, flawed human beings. Also, they made me cry. But Agatha and Sophie always make me cry
  • THE PLOT TWISTS LIKE HOLY SHIT.

This gif is kind of hypnotising me while I write the rest of this list…

  • The twists on certain fairy tales (besides Cinderella there’s another one that I don’t really see as a fairy tale, but I won’t tell you which one as it can be a bit of a spoiler)
  • The character development, mostly of the three main characters, but also Hort
  • Finding out more about the Woods
  • THE FINAL EPIC WAR LIKE YES
  • ALL THE FEELS
  • Agatha and Tedros’ relationship was realistic and beautiful and cute and-

  • Of course the writing style. I loved the writing style
  • The ending. IT WAS PERFECT.

And oh so much more that 1) I can’t put into words and 2) I won’t tell you because SPOILERS. If you’re reading this and haven’t read the book yet, go read it now. If you’re reading this and haven’t read the entire trilogy yet, GO DO IT NOW. And sorry for the spoilers, but I did warn you so I guess you don’t mind?

HAVE YOU READ THIS BEAUTIFUL CONCLUSION YET. IF YOU HAVEN’T YET GO DO SO NOW. IT’S BRILLIANT AND BEAUTIFUL AND HEARTWARMING AND THERE WILL BE TEARS AND LAUGHS AND SQUEALS 100% RECOMMEND.

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Review: The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

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Genre: Fantasy
Category: Middle Grade
My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Summary (2020)

The Kane Chronicles is about two siblings, Carter and Sadie Kane. After their Dad blows up an important Egyptian artefact, their lives change completely: apparently they’re descendants of ancient pharaos and on top of that they’re magicians. They have to figure out how to save their dad, who has been kidnapped by the evil god Set, stop Set from rising to power and save the world. Set is the least of their problems though…

I did my best writing a summary that doesn’t reveal too much. It’s mostly a summary for The Red Pyramid, but hey, I can’t really summarize the other two without giving too much away!

Review (2020)

The Kane Chronicles aren’t as well known as Percy Jackson and the Olympians, but it should be. Do I prefer Percy over The Kane Chronicles? Yes, but we’ll get to that later.

If you love Rick Riordan’s writing style, than you will love The Kane Chronicles. It’s not as funny as Percy Jackson or Heroes of Olympus, but I did laugh out loud quite a few times, smiled or snorted. There were some puns so lame that they were brilliant. There were baboons who loved to play basketball. There was witty banter between several characters. Also Sadie Kane who is one of my new favourite heroines. And can we appreciate the Dalek mention in The Serpent’s Shadow? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

The best thing about these books though, is that before it’s about magic, gods, monsters, demons, saving the world, romance… It’s about siblings. There just aren’t enough books that focus on the relationship between siblings and that’s a shame. The relationship between Carter and Sadie grows so beautifully and in the end they state that their sibling is the closest person to them. Not their love interest, no, their sibling. Can I get a hell yeah?

Besides Sadie and Carter, there are so many amazing characters. As I stated before, Sadie is my new favourite heroine. She’s tough, but she isn’t afraid to cry. She’s sassy and witty and she’s human and she’s loving and I just love Sadie okay? The only thing I didn’t like about her was that she was involved in a love triangle. Now, it wasn’t such a bad love triangle, but I just felt it was a bit unnecessary and I saw how it was going to end coming (though I was only joking. Did you know that whenever I joke about a plot twist, that plot twist actually comes true? Like I WAS JOKING). Also, I still don’t really understand how the ending of that love triangle works but oh well.

Unlike Percy Jackson, The Kane Chronicles are written as if they were recorded by Carter and Sadie on a recorder. Riordan wrote these down and in the beginning of the books he gives a warning and in his author’s note he says that either they did their research right or everything they say is true, which to him is really scary. This made it more real and I loved this little thing. The two siblings sometimes interrupt each other while telling the story, which is also amusing.

I don’t know much about Egyptian mythology, but I loved how Riordan intertwined the myths into this story and into our modern world. I also loved how Carter and Sadie became really good friends with some gods, almost like family. It’s a nice change from the Olympians in Percy’s world. By the way, loved the minor references to Percy Jackson. It just made me smile.

Besides the love triangle, the only problem I had with the books is that they felt a bit repetitive. It was like all three books had the same basic story line. Though it was still enjoyable I felt like they were more predictable than the other two series. Just like with Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus, I flew through these books though and I absolutely adore them.

You should read these books if you like:

💛 Percy Jackson and/or The Heroes of Olympus
💛 Egyptian mythology
💛 Sibling relationships
💛 Found family
💛 Dry humor
💛 Puns so bad they’re funny

Have you read The Kane Chronicles yet? Are you planning to? What did you think?

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