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Fledgewitch: A Dragons of Hallow Book

By Lian Tanner

Illustrated by Martina Heiduczek

Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

Lian is a prolific writer of outstanding children’s fantasy. Her books are enjoyable on many levels as she puts her always varied cast of characters in interesting conflicts, has a sense of humour and her plots are satisfyingly complicated but never silly. Lian’s books include the best-selling Keepers trilogy, the Hidden series, the Rogues trilogy, A Clue for ClaraRita’s Revenge. She has won many awards too numerous to mention here.
Fledgewitch is the second Dragons of Hallow book, the first being the immensely popular Spellhound, which introduced readers to the world of Hallow where dragons, witches, and magical creatures abound. Lian has kept the mischievous narrator who is also a character in the book, although they don’t have a big role here. This person talks directly to the reader, like someone reading you a story and purposely keeping you in suspense, threatening to stop at the most exciting bits.
Brim is taken from her loving and comfortable home because she deemed to be a witch, and they are not allowed in the land of Quill. It’s true she has tiny feathers sprouting from her elbows ( a sure sign) and she’s the only person who remembers the odd-looking calf that has been following her. Despite her protestations she is sent to the horrible Quillian School for Prevention of Witches, run by two suspiciously witchlike brother and sister team.
Meanwhile, Queen Rose of Hallow has received reports of a secret weapon in the mountains of Quill, and goes to investigate. Alone. Luckily, she’s not just a twelve-year-old girl with red hair and a wilful nature. She is also a dragon. Before long, Rose and Brim find themselves trapped in Quill, in the worst possible danger. Luckily for both of them Snort, the Horned Glob has followed Brim and with his help the nasty villains are foiled and all is well again in the land.
Snort, an anxious creature who looks a bit like a hairy calf, once seen instantly forgotten (except by Brim) almost steals the story.  Every reader will want their very own horned glob as their faithful magical companion, similar to everyone wanting their own Spellhound.
This action packed story is delightfully zany helped along by Martina’s expressive black and white illustrations. The narrator maintains a witty flow of comments and advice and keeps the tension level high throughout. This whimsical fantasy will not disappoint those who loved Spellhound and, as it is a standalone story, will gain many new readers for this series. Bring on number 3!
A suitable Reader’s Cup title – Year 5 – 6
Allen & Unwin Children 2024
Lian Tanner
Martina Heiduczek


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