I loved the first book in this spooky, magical series, and A Sprinkle of Sorcery is even better!
Book: A Sprinkle of Sorcery by Michelle Harrison
Read before: No
Ownership: Paperback purchased by me from Waterstones. All opinions my own.
A Sprinkle of Sorcery picks up a little while after the end of A Pinch of Magic, with the three Widdershins sisters on edge as their granny tries to sell the pub they live in. I think you could definitely get away with starting here, as it’s a wholly new adventure for Betty and her sisters, and everything you need to know is well explained – that being said, I would highly recommend starting with A Pinch of Magic just because it’s wonderful! You can check out my review here if you want more details. As with the first book, Sprinkle is full of dark, lush atmosphere – you can almost feel the fog in the air as you read (and I read this on a bright spring day!).
There’s such an adventure feel to this book, with will-o-the-wisps, a runaway girl, legends coming to life, and best of all, pirates! Betty and her sisters are drawn into the search for a missing man that takes a turn for the dangerously magical, and it requires all their resourcefulness, loyalty, and courage to make it back home. I adored the twists and turns of the plot, and the way in which it pays to know your local myths, because you might just end up needing them to survive. I meant to only dip into the story for half an hour or so, but I ended up reading the whole thing in one go! It’s magical and kind of classic feeling – old-fashioned in a good way, like the fairy tales and adventures that enthralled you as a kid.
I think what I love about these books so much is that they have so much heart in them. Every character is exquisitely drawn, and they feel hugely real – they never fall into lazy stereotypes. I particularly love (as I mentioned in my review of Pinch) that 17-year-old Fliss is not condemned for being aware of her own attractiveness, and I also find Granny very endearing, with her fierceness combined with her obvious love of the girls. There’s such a warm feeling of family that emanates from the Widdershins, even when they’re driving each other mad, and it’s wonderful to read.
An absolutely gorgeous read (which suits that absolutely gorgeous cover by Melissa Castrillon!) that I would recommend to anyone looking for smart, dark, magical middle grade. It’s perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones, Edith Nesbit, and KA Reynolds. Five out of five cats!