Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Released: 8th September 2016
Magical machines, wizards, witches, mysterious underworlds, a race against time - and two most magical girls.
Annabel Grey has been brought up to be a very proper Victorian young lady. But being 'proper' isn't always easy - especially when you can sometimes see marvellous (as well as terrifying) things in puddles. But parlour tricks such as these are nothing compared to the world that Annabel is about to enter...
After the rather sudden departure of her mother, Annabel is sent to live with her aunts. They claim to be Shoreditch witches, and from a very old family line of them too. They're keen to introduce Annabel to their world of transformation, potions and flying broomsticks (which seem to have strong personalities of their own) but are horrified when Annabel announces not only does she not know any magic, young ladies shouldn't believe in such things. But before Annabel has time to decide whether she does or not, she is swept into an urgent quest.
The trees of Highgate have been whispering to Kitty - an extraordinary urchin of a girl, who Annabel's aunts seem very fond of - and so have the fairies. They talk of a terrible, dark magic that wants to devour all of London. And of a most magical girl who might be able to stop it . . .
What I Have to Say
This book was the epitome of British quaintness in the most wonderful way. It takes the reader deep into the rules of society in Victorian London and introduces them to the stiff-upper-lip, while also showing a world that is set completely apart from that. It combines this beautiful world with magic and adventure with a useful technique of clearing one's mind and coping with grief and misery. It was beautiful both as a story and an imparting of useful coping strategies to the reader.
But as wonderful as the setting and way of life was, it felt too rushed. There wasn't enough time to be introduced to the house of the Shoreditch witches before Annabel had to rush off with her broomstick to save the world. It felt like it should have been more than one book. I would have wanted a much more relaxed introduction to the magical world that Annabel is discovering before she had to go off to save the world, perhaps a duology with a cliff-hanger, just something longer
Besides that, the characters were lively and interesting and I really enjoyed the way it all played out. This was a fantastic read.
My thanks go to Netgalley and Bonnier Zaffre for providing me with this copy for review.