In the first book in the Shadow Grail series, an orphan, suddenly beset by mysterious circumstances, is sent to a posh boarding school accessible only by train, and discovers that she is a magician. Sound familiar? Lackey and Edghill know it, and pepper their tale with self-conscious references to Harry Potter. Spirit White is sent to Oakhurst Academy in Montana, where she learns she is a "Legacy"—the child of an alumnus, gifted with magical powers. Spirit's gift is not immediately apparent, but her friends, who have similarly portentous monikers such as Lachlan Spears and Burke Hallows, perform amazing stunts from the get-go. Their Dumbledore is a rather nasty character named Doctor Ambrosius, who assures them that they must prepare for war with nameless forces, but offers nothing so useful as an explanation or even an invisibility cloak. The inclusion of contemporary references—the school's Wi-Fi setup, Spirit lamenting the loss of her parents at Thanksgiving (even though they served tofurky)—seem intended to put a novel spin on trod territory, but there is little that is freshly imagined. Ages 13–up. (July)
Reviewed on: 09/27/2010 Release date: 07/01/2010 Genre: Children's
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