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Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith Kindle Edition
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Ewan Pendle had been in the foster care system ever since he could remember and he kept getting bounced from foster home to foster home. Why? Because he was weird and he freaked his foster parents out. See, Ewan could see monsters when other people couldn’t. The first monster that he saw was a dragon when he was 5 and they just kept on showing up after that. He was treated with fear and ridicule when he attempted to tell an adult (usually a teacher or his foster parents). After a while, he was labeled as weird and moved when his foster parents couldn’t deal with his weirdness anymore. So when he was told that he was going to another foster family in London, he wasn’t surprised. What he was surprised was when he was met on the train by a woman who held keys to his past and parents. A woman who told him that he was a Lenitnes….a race of people who could see Creatures (aka dragons, wraiths…stuff along those lines). Even more so, he was surprised to find out that he was going to a special school to learn the way of the Creatures. A school called Firedrake Lyceum. A school that is as mysterious as its Grand Master and Masters.
At this point, I was liking the book but thinking to myself “very similar to Harry Potter“. But when Ewan was told that he was a Lenitnes and the author explained what that race was, I started loving it. Then the school came up and I thought to myself “Definitely not in Harry Potter world here.” The world building the author did from that point on was fantastic. Instead of focusing mainly on magic, in this world, you get to choose what clique you wanted to go in. They were Martial (more combat focused), Witches (self-explanatory here), Pyro (they blow things up), Stealth (sneaking), Vanguard (defenders) but the cadets (as the children are called) do not choose until the end of Grade One. Even then, they have to pass basic tests to see if that group is right for them. If not, they stay in Grade One until they pass those tests. It was when Mathilde is showing Ewan around, that I started loving the book.
Besides Ewan, I really liked Mathilde and Enid as characters. While they came across one way, I liked that the author had small intros to each girl and I liked how each girl brought out the best in Ewan. Mathilde had an awful past that she is trying to hide. My only complaint was that she kept saying “dude” with every sentence. It drove me up a wall. Other than that, I really liked her and I could understand why she wanted to keep her past from people.
At first, I wasn’t too sure about Enid. She was so aloof. But, with the way that the other kids treated her at school, I could see why she was so hesitant to become friends with Ewan. See, Enid was a pirate and she looked different. She had dreds and an eye tattoo that told her people where she stood within their community. Most people would look at her and judge. Not Ewan and it took a few times before she warmed up to him. When she did, she became a friend who stuck by Ewan when school became rough for him.
All of the storylines, including the White Wraith one, were very interesting and I loved how the author resolved all but one of them at the end of the book. I also liked that the author did leave it open for a book 2.
This is a book that I would have no problem letting my 9-year-old read and I actually plan on ordering it after this review goes live. I read the blurb to him and he is pretty excited about reading it.
Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith Playlist
Start Again – Conrad Sewell
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
You Don’t Know About Me – Ella Vos
What Hurts The Most – Rascal Flatts
Respect – Aretha Franklin
Gypsy Woman – Jonathan Tyler, The Northern Lights
Shake – The Head and the Heart
Spirit Cold – Tall Heights
All The Things You’d Like To Be – Paul Smith and the Intimations
Gymnopedie No. 3 – Erik Satie
It’s impossible to write a review of this and not mention the similarities to Harry Potter. A parentless boy is whisked away from the ordinary world and taken to a fantastical school. He ends up with really only two friends, one of whom has constantly unruly hair. Each class focuses on a different discipline and has a quirky and/or mean teacher. The kids will all eventually be sorted into different houses…er cliques. The boy’s past and parentage obviously are important, with more to the story than we’re told right away. There are creatures. There are hovering deathly beings. There’s an unseen dark-lord-type with evil followers. Etc. Etc.
In a lot of ways, this feels like an obvious attempt to appeal to a certain crowd of readers, almost like a kind of fan fiction. BUT, I soon forgave all that and just went with it because the author does a lot of unique things too. For example, one of Ewan’s two friends (both girls) is a pirate. It’s also refreshing that the world-building is not *entirely* based in magic. There is magic, yes, but we’re told pretty quickly that most people aren’t good at it and instead focus on other talents. And I really enjoyed what the author did with the true Queen of England.
It’s easy to fall in love with Ewan as a character. The poor kid just can’t win, and he’s a very believable 11 to 12-year-old boy thrown into new and overwhelming circumstances. Enid and her pirate family added a much-needed feeling of newness to this story, and I loved that her character was rough around the edges. Mathilde is great too, with her confidence and loyalty and almost-ever-present smile. I even enjoyed the adult characters, who are a little flat because the focus is more on the kids. As the plot thickens, you aren’t supposed to know which adults and older kids to trust, so their elusiveness adds to the suspense. It usually drives me nuts when there’s some huge danger and kids don’t bother to tell the adults about it, but here it completely makes sense that they try to stop the danger themselves.
As for the author’s writing, there is a LOT of description. It really is a bit too much, slowing the dialogue especially. And sometimes a word is used incorrectly so that a sentence might sound flowery but really doesn’t make sense.
Still, I stayed in this book for the three main characters because their friendship dynamic was so lovely and fun. And, yeah, if you miss Harry Potter in your life, give this a go.
Most recent customer reviews
I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.Read more
Already when I started reading it, I knew it was going to be good because of the writing style.Read more
Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 12+ (one mature flashback).
Favorite Quote: "'Mind you keep your eyes open in this new life...Read more
This book is about Ewan, an orphan boy that sees Creatures that others don’t.Read more
First off, I just want to...Read more
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