My father and I just finished The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst by Jaclyn Moriarty, book three of her Kingdoms and Empires Series.
Good grief. This book takes the phrase "expect the unexpected" to such twisted ends that only Dad's and my experience with Diana Wynne Jones – whom Moriarty continues to channel! – lets us keep our heads above water. Wreathed in whimsicality like the others, this one tackled head-on issues such as gaslighting and fear-born bigotry, with an antagonist who provokes nothing less than sheer, unadulterated rage from the reader in a manner similar to one ex-Professor Dolores Umbridge. All of which made the climax one of the most cathartic we have ever read. One might call it Spellbinding but, since that insider joke is wearing thin, I will sum up by saying that Esther's 6th grade term at the Katherine Valley Boarding School is flooded with emotion and safest bet is to ride the tidal waves to an ending that leaves you buoyant.
I would say farewell to the Mettlestone-Staranise sisters Astrid, Esther, and Imogen save that I am quite certain we have not seen the last of either them or Bronte.
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