WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
In The Guitar of Mayhem, young sorcerer Fable Nuthatch and her friends -Thorn and Brennus – are settling in to a quiet life of safety. After narrowly escaping Fable’s villainous great-grandmother, the young adventurers try their best to stay out of trouble.
But when visions of Brennus’s missing mother are seen in the woods just outside the protective shield surrounding their home, the three tumble into one scrape after another. On a hunt for stolen loved ones, and racing to retrieve a powerful magic star before Endora reaches it, Fable and her courageous companions face their fears head on.
Will they finally end Endora’s wicked scheme?
WAS IT WORTH THE READ?
The Guitar of Mayhem is the stunning second installment in Jessica Renwick’s children’s fantasy series. When I read the first book, The Book of Chaos, earlier this year I was charmed by the author’s world building and character development. This sequel is just as intricate, bringing back favorite characters from the first book and introducing new corners of the Starfell map.
I was especially struck by the deep emotion of Guitar of Mayhem. A central theme throughout the story is Fable’s growth as a sorcerer in training, and her unique ability to channel emotions to strengthen her powers. For a thirteen year old, feelings are not only abundant but larger than life – watching as Fable stepped into her power and took ownership of feelings that were often overwhelming was a flashback into my own childhood. (Note: I’m not saying I’m a sorcerer. I’m also not saying I’m not a sorcerer).
Few children’s books offer complex villains. Usually, character development is reserved for the heroes and, on a rare occasion, the side kicks. Renwick makes a point of developing all her characters, however, giving even the cold-hearted warlock Endora a few moments of humanity that make the reader pause. What do we really know about the inner lives of our darkest antagonists? Renwick invites her young readers to see that even the “bad guy” might have heart hidden deep inside.
Over all I’m giving this sequel a four out of five. It is a thrilling development in Fable’s story, with wrenching twists in the last chapters that have me counting down the days until the third book’s release.
Looking to dive a little deeper into Guitar of Mayhem? Download the discussion guide at the link below.
If you enjoyed the read, check out these excellent books with similar themes!
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
- The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner
- The Neverending Story by Michael Ende and Ralph Manheim
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