Kidlit :: The Threads of Magic :: Alison Croggon

March 02, 2020

Something about the cover of Alison Croggon's new middlegrade/upper primary fantasy novel - The Threads of Magic - caught my attention the very first time I saw it, so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on an early copy (kindly sent to me by the team at Walker books).

Pip lives on his wits in the city of Clarel. When he pickpockets the wrong man, he finds himself in possession of a strange object – a heart in a silver casket. What’s more, the heart seems to be trying to communicate with Pip, and the royal officials who lost it will stop at nothing to get it back. Pip has unwittingly broken an ancient spell, and his theft will have far-reaching consequences for the whole city. As the ancient war between the Spectres and witches of Clarel reignites, the heart prepares to seek revenge for all it has suffered.

This book is an absolute delight from beginning to end - I've spent the past three days or so completely under its spell, and enjoyed every moment of it! I can't really say much more about the plot without spoilers, but the story felt really fresh and original to me, and the pacing was just perfect - I felt like I was being drawn along with the adventure and there was something happening all the time without it being overwhelming. The tension built really nicely, and I think Croggon does an amazing job unfurling the story from a bunch of different perspectives, switching between them in a really natural feeling way, rather than the abrupt jolt you can sometimes get when the perspective changes mid-story.

The characters were fantastic. I liked seeing the contrast between Pip and some of the characters from inside the palace, and I think that the way the book pokes at the issue of whether money and power makes people happy was really well done. I particularly enjoyed when we started to meet some of the witches and the characters they hung out with - I'd actually love to see another book set in this world just so I could spend more time there with them! 

I thought the writing was absolutely perfect. It felt accessible and relatable for the target audience (upper primary/ 9 yrs and up) but still felt really sophisticated, which gave me a sense of respect for the reader from the author (if that makes sense?). I think this makes for a great read for young fantasy lovers, and one that grown-ups will be wanting to borrow from their shelves too!

I gave this one somewhere between 4.5 and 5 stars, and am looking forward to diving into some of Croggon's backlist soon!

xo Bron

The Threads of Magic by Alison Croggon

Out now from Walker Books 
Source: I received a free advance copy from Walker Books (Thank you!)
Category: Middlegrade/upper primary (ages 9+) historical fantasy adventure
Themes:  magic, friendship, power, revolution
Format: Paperback
Pages: 380
RRP: $16.99

The Threads of Magic on Goodreads.
Find Alison Croggon online here. 

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  1. I love books that just leave you dying to know what happens next!
    I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Bron! 💜