“We need to bring magic back into the world.”
If ever there was a book that could make you believe in magic, this is it.
Me? Well, I already believed. But now I believe even more.
Biddy has grown up on the island of Hy-Brasil with Rowan, who is sometimes a raven, and Hutch, who is sometimes not a rabbit. Unlike Rowan and Hutch, Biddy doesn’t have magic.
At almost seventeen, Biddy has never left the island.
She was a liminal person, trapped between a world she’d grown out of and another that wouldn’t let her in.
Throughout her life, Rowan has flown to the mainland. He always returns before dawn … until the day that he doesn’t.
This world invited me in and made me feel at home. I accompanied Biddy as she transformed from a sheltered, bookish girl to a young woman who‘s beginning to discover what she’s capable of.
“In every fairy tale ever told, it’s a bad idea to tangle with a magician’s daughter.”
As I walked alongside her, I not only saw through her eyes but felt what she was experiencing.
My favourite vicarious experience was Biddy’s relationship with Rowan and Hutch. I’m always a sucker for stories that introduce me to found families. This one, though, made me care so deeply about the individuals and their bond that even thinking about the connection between Rowan and Hutch being severed was enough to bring tears to my eyes.
This was a stressful read, in the best way possible. When the characters were in danger I not only feared for their safety but the effect it would have on the others if anything bad happened to them.
Although this is a story of magic and adventure, it is also bookish in so many wonderful ways. Most of what Biddy knows of the outside world, she learned from books and she prepares for new experiences by reading. Their castle (yes, they live in a castle!) has a library with thousands of books. There’s also a library inside a tree!
I’m not sure how this magic works but this read gave me the comfort I feel rereading a childhood favourite while delivering the anticipation of a new book that you can’t put down.
This is going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. I need to read everything this author ever writes.
“It’s all complicated and messy and wild and glorious.”
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Orbit, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group, for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
Off the coast of Ireland sits a legendary island hidden by magic. A place of ruins and ancient trees, sea-salt air and fairy lore, Hy-Brasil is the only home Biddy has ever known. Washed up on its shore as a baby, Biddy lives a quiet life with her guardian, the mercurial magician Rowan. A life she finds increasingly stifling.
One night, Rowan fails to return from his mysterious travels. To find him, Biddy must venture into the outside world for the first time. But Rowan has powerful enemies – forces who have hoarded the world’s magic and have set their sights on the magician’s many secrets.
Biddy may be the key to stopping them. Yet the closer she gets to answers, the more she questions everything she’s ever believed about Rowan, her past, and the nature of magic itself.
A library inside a tree! Like that song in My Fair Lady, ‘All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air, with one enormous chair oh wouldn’t it be loverly’. Send me the google map. I want to live there.
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I’m planning on moving into the library in the tree so I’ll see you there! 😊 Great quote!
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