Author: Clayton, Dhonielle
Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds, but when she falls under suspicion for helping a criminal escape prison she must, with the help of her new friends and her own growing powers, find a way to clear her family's name.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.80
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 517403
School Library Journal (+) (00/06/22)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/22)
The Hornbook (00/05/22)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/15/2022 Floating in the sky, safely away from the Fewel (contemporary nonmagical) world, the Arcanum Training Institute brings together magical practices from across the globe, teaching young Marvellers to discover and control their powers. True integration is only coming to the school now, however, with 11-year-old Ella, the first Conjuror to be admitted. The Marvellian world is skeptical of Conjurors and their necromantic brand of magic, and Ella’s first year is marked by harassment and discrimination. When a notorious convict known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, Conjurors are accused of helping, and when her plot to return to power intersects with Ella’s investigation into a missing teacher, Ella must fight to clear her family’s name—and survive. Clayton’s middle-grade debut tackles the lack of diversity in the magic-school subgenre, featuring a Black heroine from New Orleans along with a culturally rich milieu and supporting cast. The world building is impressive in its breadth and depth, painting every scene with amusingly alliterative details of magic, food, and commerce, plus regular interstitial epistolary clippings. Sky’s the limit for this promising series.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This middle-grade debut will have readers buzzing as much for its best-selling author as for the desperately needed fresh take on magic schools. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.
Booklist - 02/15/2022 - Copyright 2022 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2022 Gr 3–7—Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is excited to be the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors. At the institute in the sky, aspiring Marvellers from all over the world study and hone their skills with the hope of being sorted into one of five paragons: touch, vision, spirit, sound, and taste. Unfortunately, Ella has to contend with her classmates' preconceived notions of Conjurors being unnatural, bad, and untrustworthy. Despite a few missteps, Ella makes new friends, excels in her class, and learns from her favorite teacher and mentor. Things take a turn for the worse when the Ace of Anarchy, an infamous criminal, escapes from prison. People assume the escape was with a Conjuror's help, making them even more suspicious of Ella and her fellow Conjurors. As if things weren't bad enough, Ella's beloved mentor also disappears. It's up to Ella and her friends to get to the bottom of things and prove once and for all that she belongs. Ella is an inspirational heroine who has the formidable task of being the first Conjuror at the institute. Though her classmates' snide comments upset her, she doesn't back down from them, stares right back when they glare at her, and speaks up for herself and her friends. Thanks to the unique magic system and the descriptive worldbuilding, readers will find themselves transported. As with many description-heavy fantasy texts, readers should expect a steady yet entertaining read. This novel is an exemplary example of diversity with a Black girl protagonist, and characters representing a variety of cultures, skin tones, gender identities, sexual orientations, and religious affiliations. VERDICT This fun, immersive tale is a must-purchase for all collections.—Myiesha Speight - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.