Reviewer Lois C. Henderson: Lois is a freelance academic editor and back-of-book indexer, who spends most of her free time compiling word search puzzles for tourism and educative purposes. Her puzzles are available HERE and HERE Her Twitter account (@LoisCHenderson) mainly focusses on the toponymy of British place names. Please feel welcome to contact her with any feedback at LoisCourtenayHenderson@gmail.com.
Author:Virginia Burton Stringer
Publisher: Archway Publishing
With appeal to a slightly older age group than the first two books in the Maagy series comes Enchantment by Virginia Burton Stringer. The central character, Crown Princess Melania Abigail Alice Grace, known as Maagy, is ready to take on a whole new range of challenges as she reaches the age of 16 with her father by her side. Moving away from the more childlike pursuits and adventures of her younger years, which tended to be seen within the relatively narrow perspective of a younger child, Princess Maagy is now even willing to defy her regal father’s instructions to achieve what she believes to be right, however misguided that might be. That she is brave and intrepid has already been shown in the first two books, ‘Just Maagy’ and ‘Krispen’, in which she not only has had to encounter her own personal fears, but also had to confront larger magical forces that sought to upend some of the valued traditions of her society.
Enchantment deals with much more profound issues, though—ones that strike at the very heart of Maagy’s integrity and moral being. The consequences that she faces for her actions have a much more resounding depth than do those that she experienced when she was younger. The prejudices that she has to overcome also reflect the mores of a wider society, against which, at times, she clashes head on, so that she can develop into her true and significant self.
Whereas, in the earlier books, the full-page illustrations conveyed meanings integral to the text, and enhanced the vision of the author in such a way as to appeal to a relatively young audience, only one picture is repeated here. The cover illustration of Maagy in her official uniform as a member of Her Majesty’s Royal Guard in training to become a knight, staring at herself in a full-length mirror, with her bed in the background, reflects a young woman who is willing to stand up tall and strong for what she believes to be right, and who becomes ever more conscious of the role that she must play in the well-being of her kingdom. She is willing to defend her own heritage to the death, if need be, despite her having, at her inner core, a very feminine appeal and awareness.
The magical element of Maagy’s past is also a central focus of the book, with her coming to terms with her great and mysterious gifts with which she has been endowed by her forebears. The appeal to such an extrasensory dimension should, no doubt, entice many girls in their teens to wish to read further, and there are many more Maagy books on the way, so they are bound not to be disappointed if they wish to read more about this adventurous heroine. Apart from appealing to a readership of young women, ‘Enchantment’ is a book well worth venturing into if you have a keen spirit for adventure, and are willing to learn a few ethical lessons along the way.