Morwenna , age 15, arrived at Arlinghurst with few possessions but a lot of mental baggage. Her twin sister was killed and she was crippled in an accident after trying to peform magic to save the world from her wicked and possibly insane mother.
Fleeing her Welsh home she appealed to her father, who she barely knew. He is controlled by his three spinster sisters, though his interest in science fiction is enough to form a bond between them.
Now Mori, as she rechristens herself, must try to find friends in this foreign world of the upper-class English boarding school, a tough task when she is Welsh and lower class in their eyes.
Her intelligence and devotion to reading set her apart from her schoolmates who are interested only in sport—in which her damaged leg does not allow her to participate. Instead she fills her time with reading as an escape and also to look for answers to her past.
When she returns to Wales to visit her grandfather and aunt she goes into the hills to look for answers. Did she and her sister do right in performing magic which ended up harming others? Should she try to get her sister back, or use magic to gain friends at the school?
The determination with which she goes about getting more reading material (the wonder of inter library loan!) and tries to apply what she sees in fiction to her life—a life where fairies and magic are real—were engaging for me since I was also a voracious reader when young.
For those who are interested in books, especially science fiction and fantasy, this is a great reminder of what it felt like to meet those characters and discover those worlds for the first time. If you are not interested in fantasy, it may be less intriguing. If you liked Ready Player One with its concentration on the pop culture of the 1980s, and you also like fantasy and science fiction, this may be the book for you!
Winner of the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
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