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The whispering wars
2019
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Summary
The town of Spindrift is frequented by all kinds of Shadow Mages and charlatans.

It's also home to the Orphanage School, where Finlay lives with Glim, Taya, and Eli. Just outside town is the painfully posh Brathelthwaite Boarding School, home to Honey Bee, Hamish, and Victor, Duke of Ainsley. When the two schools compete at the Spindrift Tournament, the stakes are high, tensions are higher, and some people are out to win at any cost. Before long, the orphans and the boarding school kids are at each other's throats.

And then the Whispering Wars break out, and Spindrift is thrust onto the front lines. Children are being stolen; witches, sirens, and a deadly magical flu invade the town; and all attempts to fight back are met with defeat.

Finlay, Honey Bee, and their friends must join forces to outwit the encroaching forces of darkness, rescue the stolen children, and turn the tide of the war. But how can one bickering troupe outwit the insidious power of the Whisperers?
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4--7--The town of Spindrift--indeed, the whole Kingdom of Gusts, Gales, Squalls, and Violent Storms--is caught up in a magical war, which includes disappearing children and a terrible flu epidemic, and it's up to an uneasy alliance of children to save the day. The wealthy and privileged Brathelthwaite Boarding School students, led by kind-hearted Honey Bee, and the poor and plucky Orphanage School students, led by fiercely loyal and protective Finley, initially clash but ultimately work together to figure out what's going on and how to stop it. They are aided by two children from the future (fans will be overjoyed to reconnect with Bronte and Alejandro from The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone), who are attempting to change the past and figure out the mystery of Alejandro's parents. By the extremely satisfying end, many mysteries are solved. Told in turns by Honey Bee and Finlay, with help from one or two others, this companion novel stands alone nicely, though newcomers will clamor for book one. The girls in the story have the edge--Honey Bee turns out to have amazing magical gifts, shy Glim bonds with wild dragons and saves the kidnapped children, and most of the adults in positions of authority are women. There are instances of violence, kidnapping, mind-control, segregation and internment of minorities, and a suggestion of physical abuse of children. VERDICT Fans of Diana Wynne Jones will find much to like in this fast-paced, emotion-packed blend of adventure, comedy, and fantasy, which includes more than a little food for thought.--Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Booklist Review
Finlay and Honey Bee meet when his orphanage and her boarding school face off in Spindrift's local track-and-field tournament. This kicks off an escalating chain of class-driven prank warfare between the two schools until an actual war breaks out across the various magical kingdoms of their land. Children are being kidnapped by mind-controlling Whisperers, whose nation is in league with witches, ghouls, and violent radish gnomes. When Finlay, Honey Bee, and their classmates are visited by two children from the future (including Bronte from Moriarty's 2018 series starter The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone), they are tasked with rescuing the stolen children and ending the war. Their mission requires the events to be recorded, so the story is presented in delightfully self-aware epistolary chapters, alternating between Finlay and Honey Bee. Moriarty works wonders with this form, weaving it seamlessly into the narrative without sacrificing excitement, and the two protagonists put on a true show with their playful back-and-forth. It's a wickedly clever book anchored by rich world building and several vibrant, quirky, sympathetic characters and while touching lightly on the injustices of war and social class, it manages to be sheer fun without sacrificing emotional weight. This novel stands perfectly alone, but readers won't be able to resist the call to return to such a wonderfully magical world.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2010 Booklist
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