The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox
Publisher: Two Harbor Press
A few things surprised me about The Magic Warble. For one, the characters have incredible depth for a MG novel. Each character has his/her own desires and I was caught off guard a few times by friends becoming enemies and vice versa. I thought that this would be about a girl bullied and victimized escaping into a dream world, but its not. Although Kristina is bullied, she’s pretty strong-willed and indifferent. To her, these bullies are more of an inconvenience than anything else. The adults also aren’t placeholders; each one has a role in the book. Kristina’s teacher gives her the warble. Kristina’s mother introduces up and the warble to Davina. And the adults in Bernovem, well, they have their own special parts.
One thing that did strike me as extreme was the abuse people/creatures suffered under Queen Sentiz’s rein. Although it didn’t bother me, I think some parents might have a hard time explaining the use of whips and other devices. It’s no more violent than then Narnia series, but unusual for MG books released recently.
The first thing that drew me into loving The Magic Warble was the illustrations within the book. I gifted a paperback copy to my mother, a middle school teacher, and she absolutely adored them. Here’s an example borrowed from the author’s blog:
It also needs to be mentioned that not only is Kristina transported to Bernovem, but so are all the bullies that tried to steal it from her that day. Hester, Graham, and Davina are rotten children who are constantly bickering amongst themselves. Its kind of nice to have the not-so-nice kids NOT being the evil one.
I also found it refreshing that when Kristina met the good prince, her assumed love interest, she disliked him immensely. And the dislike towards Clover, the fairy, was mutual. In fact, during most of the book there was drama between the various characters. As I said before, I was completely surprised at some of the back-stabbing. Nothing played out as I expected.
I didn’t hit my first disappointment until near the end of the book, when some of the characters hadn’t evolved quite as much as I’d hope and I didn’t understand why Kristina stalled her mission for the well-being of certain people. And in the end there were some loose ends that I hope the sequel clears up. Overall, it was a pleasant read. So much that I gave a copy to my mother to share with her students. So, five stars.
Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and the evil Queen Sentiz.
In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she’s honored as “the chosen one,” the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz’s control. But it’s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous “Magic Warble,” in its final resting place. She must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen’s “zelbocks” before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, and an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.
This book will appeal to fans of MG and Fantasy.
You can win a free ebook copy of The Magic Warble in our Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway starting July 26th! Check it out HERE.