Friday, January 14, 2022

Review: The Velvet Fox by Catherine Fisher

 It's another double-review day thanks to a few skipped days this last weekend. I won a copy of today's read and was really looking forward to reading. It is the second in a series, and of course, I didn't read the first (because I have such a horrible habit of doing that). But I still hoped that wouldn't hurt this one and that I'd get lost in a clockwork world. It's been so long since I've enjoyed a clockwork fantasy for middle graders, too.

Ready to see if this one was worth the read?

The Clockwork Crow 2
by Catherine Fisher
Firefly Press
Middle Grade Fantasy
220 pages
ages 8 to 12

After rescuing Tomas from enchantment, orphan Seren Rhys is enjoying her first summer at Plas-y-Fran. But as autumn arrives, it brings with it a mysterious new governess who seems intent on drawing Tomas away from Seren and his family.

Dangerous figures from a bewitched toy carousel stalk the house, and fearing the worst, Seren calls on her old friend, the clockwork crow, to help her.



This is the 2nd in a series, and while it would be best to read the first book, since the background would enrich the characters and situation, it wasn't hard to fall into the adventure and enjoy every moment. So, while I would highly recommend reading the first book, it's not completely necessary, either.

Although Seren grew up in an orphanage, she's now found a home with her friend Tomas after their adventures in book one. Everything is going very well until Tomas' father decides to hire a tutor. The woman seems fine, but Seren feels the injustice and witnesses her snide grins more and more. When Seren finds her accused of ridiculous things more and more often, she's sure the woman is out to get her. The most disturbing thing, however, is a toy carousel, which plays a horribly familiar tune and is pulling Tomas into a strange state. Suspecting that the Family is back and up to no good, Seren calls the Clockwork Crow...but hopefully, she's not too late.

This is such a smooth, easy read and packed with tons of adventure and imagination. The stakes are high, the magic powerful, and danger real, and yet, it's perfect for the lower end of the middle grade audience. There are just enough descriptions to create a world, but it's the characters and situations, which hold the attention the entire way through. Every moment brings a new difficulty as the Family weaves its powerful magic and slowly spreads its evil grip. While Seren gives her best, she's definitely in for a fight, and it's this which keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

We don't really get to know Tomas very well in this book, only that Seren's friendship with him is more than golden. It's Seren and the Crow, who stay front and center as they fight the various evils. There are quite a few characters in the book, and while none are given huge depth, it's enough to make each one interesting and either to like or hate. But then, the entire book dances by quickly for a light read. This is also seen in the plot itself. The solutions to fight the powerful magic isn't exactly difficult, but rather, often simply falls into place. If this were a novel for older readers, it'd be a problem, but it's great for the intended audience.

I did enjoy the tale quite a bit, plan on heading back and reading book one, and do hope we see more of Seren and the Crow in the future.

1 comment:

Muz Murray said...

You always make me want to read the books. And I love that excellent cover.