Friday, June 7, 2019

FANTASY FRIDAY: The Revenge of Magic by James Riley


When long-dead magical creatures are discovered all around the world, each buried with a book of magic, only children can unlock the dangerous power of the books in this start to a thrilling new series from the author of the New York Times bestselling Story Thieves!

Thirteen years ago, books of magic were discovered in various sites around the world alongside the bones of dragons. Only those born after “Discovery Day” have the power to use the magic.

Now, on a vacation to Washington, DC, Fort Fitzgerald’s father is lost when a giant creature bursts through the earth, attacking the city. Fort is devastated, until an opportunity for justice arrives six months later, when a man named Dr. Opps invites Fort to a government run school, the Oppenheimer School, to learn magic from those same books.

But life’s no easier at the school, where secrets abound. What does Jia, Fort’s tutor, know about the attacks? Why does Rachel, master of destructive magic, think Fort is out to destroy the school? And why is Fort seeing memories of an expelled girl every time he goes to sleep? If Fort doesn’t find out what’s hiding within the Oppenheimer School, more attacks will come, and this time, nothing will stop them!


Fantasy novels remain perennially popular among young readers as well as older readers.  I have a special fondness for them myself.  At the same time, I've read enough of them that sometimes the plot lines tend to overlap and even blend.  It's always refreshing to come across a book that that is creatively different in terms of plot and characters.  James Riley's new The Revenge of Magic combines flawed characters with a refreshingly different plot line.  I'm more than eager to see where the story goes in the next volume.

Fort is heartbroken after his father is captured and taken underground by a giant creature.  He blames himself for not being able to save him.  But a voice in his head had told him to run and taken control of him, and after fighting it off the first time, he was unable to make it back to help his father.  When he is offered a chance to learn magic to defend against such creatures, he leaps at the chance to attend the Oppenheimer School.  But when he arrives at the campus, he's startled to realize that it's on a military base and the soldiers seem more on guard against him than ready to protect him.  He quickly realizes that their are many secrets floating around, including his own presence.  Learning magic turns out to be much harder than he expected and he isn't even learning the kind of magic he's interested in. When it becomes clear that there's a plot to send him away, he determines to fight to stay.  When he starts experiencing the memories of a girl that no one will speak of, he's puzzled by their connection and what she has to do with the original attacks. Eventually, he realizes that he needs to find this girl or he may never get answers to his questions.

A fascinating concept and world well-developed into a compelling story of secrets, magic, and revenge.  Riley's created a fascinating new magical story that middle grade readers are bound to enjoy reading.

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