Witches are falling victim to a magic-killing virus, and their only hope for a cure is to convince a teenager to accept his wizard heritage.
In this debut YA fantasy, 15-year-old soccer star Wilf Gilvary, living in present-day Hong Kong, wants nothing to do with magic despite his stern wizard father’s efforts to make his son use his gifts. After his father’s sudden death, Wilf still refuses to explore his powers when his 20-year-old stepsister, Myra, insists that they leave the normal world for new lives in the Magical Realm. A visit from a repulsively ugly and desperate witch forces Wilf to reluctantly accept that he is indeed a wizard. She informs him that the cure for the Pulch Virus, an illness that drains witches of their magic (and makes them distressingly beautiful as the disease progresses), resides only in his father’s journal, a work Wilf inherited. Unfortunately, he will be unable to read the formula for the cure unless he learns how to harness his abilities. Wilf ends up in the Magical Realm after all. There, his stake in events increases as he grows close to Katryna, a young witch infected with the virus, and as the journal and Wilf’s potential for performing potent magic place him in the sights of an unscrupulous wizard. In this promising series opener, Lyall skillfully deepens her world of wizards and witches with gender war elements. A magic Veil separates the domain of each group: Witches in wizard territory wear bracelets restricting their autonomy; unauthorized wizards in the witches’ realm face death. The characters’ believable motivations in this fast-moving tale range from self-interest, guilt, and fear to a desire for power and vengeance. Wilf deals with complicated and intriguing family relationships—Is Myra who he thinks she is? What painful secret from his past has blocked him from his magical potential? Other tantalizing questions include: Who is fomenting conflict between the Wizard Council and the Witch Council? What is the origin of the virus? What will happen to the balance of magic if the cure can’t be accessed?
An engaging fantasy with creative worldbuilding and authentically conflicted teen characters caught in a magical power struggle.
Pub Date: July 31st, 2019ISBN: 978-1-64378-066-5Page count: 240pp Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers LLCProgram: Kirkus Indie Review Posted Online: Nov. 5th, 2019
A young wizard faces magical repercussions after he heroically helps some witches in this YA fantasy sequel.
In the first book of this lively series, fledgling wizard Wilf Gilvary, a soccer-playing teenager in Hong Kong, used newfound powers to cure witches of a magic-killing virus. Unfortunately, the magical Veil, a spell separating the witch and wizard domains, was corrupted in the process. Now, the Council of Wizards expects its witchy counterparts, newly headquartered in the Hong Kong store formerly owned by Wilf’s father, to turn Wilf over to them to undo the damage. The wild ride that ensues in the crumbling Magical Realms encompasses the protagonist’s changing relationship with young witch Katryna Wakefield; his eerie, seemingly impossible connection with the Guardian of the Veil; his fugitive stepsister, Myra Picton; and chilling experiments by Katryna’s wizard father and his assistant, Malik, to create an alternative to the Veil in the “normal” world. Lyall skillfully juggles each fantastical plot point while shifting perspectives between Wilf and Myra. Along the way, the author never loses sight of the grounding, real-world dilemmas faced by her characters, including addiction, betrayal, gender conflicts, and, significantly, the issue of consent when Malik forces Myra to bond with him using a magic bracelet. Throughout, Wilf continues to struggle with his identity as a wizard, which he’d never sought for himself: “He had never thought of magic as surrounding him before….He had thought he could escape, walk through a door, and exit this life. But that wasn’t true. His every breath was touched with magic.” The novel ends with a suspenseful teaser of what’s to come in the next installment.A dynamic YA series entry that continues to combine realistic adolescent issues with imaginative, magic-based fantasy.
Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-73600-272-8 Page Count: 201 Publisher: Hazel Publishing Company, LLC
Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021 Review Program: KIRKUS INDIE