by T. Kingfisher
Oliver, a young mage who only knows three unimpressive spells, is forced by his town to make the dangerous journey to the Rainblades with only his armadillo familiar and end the drought.
This story reads like a spooky middle grade, in the best way. I wouldn’t recommend this for any middle grade aged reader, but if you have a young reader who’s interested in horror at all I can definitely see this being fun for all ages. I think it was perfectly paced. We get right into the story and I was never bored, but it also never got too intense even at the height of danger. There are monsters, bandits, and spirits, and the most loyal of armadillos.
It’s overall a wholesome tale of a boy who learns how much he can do with his current amount of power, even if that’s a very small amount of power. On his way to the Rainblades, he both asks for help and gives help to a few beings he meets along the way. There’s some lovely bits on compassion in the face of mob mentality, and Oliver’s relationship with his family is just the best even if we basically never see them throughout the adventure.
Definitely recommend this for a short, fun fantasy read.