Are you ready to enter a magical new world where whole villages and can be hidden behind a shimmering wall of spells and ailments cured by a carefully worded charm? How about a world where nobody is quite what they seem and danger could be lurking around every corner? Then you need to make sure you read ‘The Last Spell Breather’ – the brilliant debut novel from Julie Pike.
Rayne is reluctantly training to be a Spell Breather under the careful tuition of her mother, Merelei. Eventually Rayne will be responsible for curing the minor ailments of the residents of Penderin and keeping the entire village safe. She hates the long hours of practise, the biting mud-covered spell book and being kept off school and away from her friends.
However, when a mysterious stranger appears on the shimmering village boundary, Rayne’s mother has to visit the Great Library outside the walls, leaving Rayne in charge. When an accident with her mother’s spell book leaves the villagers in peril, Rayne decides to set off on a quest to fix her mistake. But can people in the world outside Penderin’s walls be trusted? Who can Rayne rely on? Even if she reaches her goal, will anyone be there to help her repair it?
I thought this enchanting tale was a unique take on a magical fantasy adventure. The darker nature of some of the elements within the story really appealed to me – the blood-thirsty grotesques buried within the mud covering of the spell book, the dire consequences of the spell book being dropped. Although entirely appropriate for its intended readership of those aged 9+, these more menacing moments added real edge and originality for me.
Julie’s wonderful world-building allowed me to experience the adventure along with Rayne and her friends. The Hall Of Spells was just fantastic and will delight any librarians! I thoroughly enjoyed exploring its dusty aisles.
Rayne was perfect as a main character – full of self-doubt but also a steely determination, sense of justice and fierce love for her family. I was fully rooting for her to be brave and do the right thing.
I definitely recommended this one for anybody who likes their magic with a bit of an edge.
To hear me chat more with Julie about her book on the Library Girl and Book Boy podcast, click HERE to subscribe.
*Many thanks to OUP for inviting me to be part of the blog tour. Take a look at some of the other stops below….*