Monday 23 October 2023

This Spells Trouble

This Spells Trouble by Paul Collins and Sean McMullen. Ford Street Publishing, 2023. Paperback RRP $17.95. ISBN 9781922696311

Reviewed by Debra Williams

Fourteen-year-old Winston is an apprentice wizard a position arranged by his father. The senior wizard, Faramond Erris, to whom Winston is under obligation is, an aging, grossly overweight member of the Countercasts’ Guild of Wizards, and is, (in his own opinion), powerful and respected. The truth, however, is quite different, and the young apprentice is rather somewhat smarter (and much fitter), than his master.

When the young student of wizardry gives a demonstration to his peers at a Young Magical Apprentices conference, he and Faramond (as his senior), are summoned before the Guild Elders to explain Winston’s behaviour. The apprentice has used a way of balancing spells by using energy from other apprentices: a practice which is frowned upon and forbidden by the guild. They undertake a lengthy journey to appear before the elders, a group headed by the wicked sorceress Yolantha. Impressed with Winston’s abilities, she issues the task to retrieve the Imperium Key from Blackstone Tower, which is a portal to another world. In this other world dwell creatures known as iffryts. Power flows from their world into that of the wizards.

The iffryts are imps, who can transform from tiny beings into gigantic and powerful creatures. They can devour humans, destroy in an instant and their power is used to advantage by Yolantha and the Summoner wizards, whose spells outclass Faramond’s genre of wizardry. The wizards use the iffryts as slaves. Yolantha needs the key to control both the portal and the iffryts.

The spell of Yoal was designed to bind wizards together into something that could even defeat the power of dragons. It was lost centuries earlier. It is a spell that worries Faramond greatly, as he would prefer that the spell remain lost. The key has lain for those centuries in the skeletal fingers of a dead, foolish apprentice who learned the spell of Yoal and stole the key.

Winston releases a female iffryt by the name of Elvar who assists him, only because he is kind to her. (Iffryts are naturally suspicious, having been used to constant abuse and misuse.) When Winston destroys the tower and releases the imprisoned creatures, Yolantha is furious. Winston lies and blames Faramond, claiming that he blacked out and when he awoke, the tower had disappeared under Faramond’s hand. Yolantha issues an order for the two of them to meet her at Highport, where she will unleash another plan: to build another tower and portal. Thereby begins an arduous journey and assignment for Winston, Faramond and Elvar, involving an ensnared large green dragon, members of Winston’s family, a would-be knight called Larissa and numerous, apparently insurmountable challenges. 

Together Elvar and Winston unite (morphing into each other on and off), to complete the task, but there is a whole lot of trouble ahead, and Faramond is on the receiving end of more than one painful and humiliating lesson. Can they outwit, outclass, and outsmart the evil Yolantha and her plans?

 Using a lot of humour throughout the story, the authors have woven a detailed adventure which spreads over 363 pages. This is an amusing and entertaining YA tale for the 10-14 age group.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Buzz Words Books would love to hear what you think.