Allen & Unwin|
The Book of the Year: Younger Readers|
The publisher says...
Long ago, the little Prince of Cloudburst was stolen from the seashore by a Water Sprite. Now, ten years later, the prince has found his way home. The King and Queen are planning the biggest party in their Kingdom's history to welcome him. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Kingdoms and Empires, Esther Mettlestone-Staranise is looking forward to another year at Katherine Valley Boarding School. But she arrives to find a number of strange and unsettling changes. For one, her new teacher is rumoured to be an Ogre. Two mysterious students have joined the school, and one of Esther's classmates is an undercover Spellbinder. Most disturbingly, the mountains surrounding the school - usually a delight of glaciers, teashops, lakes and Faeries - are now crowded with wicked Shadow Mages. As secrets and dangers escalate, Esther must find the answers to several puzzles. Why is her teacher behaving so oddly? Which of Esther's classmates is the Spellbinder, and can they really protect the school from gathering hordes of Shadow Mages? Could the Stolen Prince of Cloudburst be connected? How can Esther - who is not talented like her sisters, nor an adventurer like her cousin, but just Esther - save her family, her school and possibly her entire world?
The CBCA judges say...
The third title set in Moriarty’s imaginative and richly created world of Kingdoms and Empires, it is a story which stands alone. Esther Mettlestone-Staranise is trying to etch out her own identity in a family crowded with talented personalities. Her memorable voice is full of humorous observations which contribute to the consistently charming tone and upbeat mood. Many of the characters reveal surprising secrets and are gloriously flawed. The complex plot is satisfyingly resolved. Although a fantasy, the dilemmas are echoes of the real world. Themes of valuing individuality, caring for each other and for the environment are strongly conveyed. This story is uniquely appealing for the target reader. The quality production includes detailed illustrations in a naive style. The hardcover design is beautiful.
Our Reading Time reviewers say...
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Teaching Notes for this book...
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