Synopsis from Goodreads.
On his ninth birthday, Gwyn is given a brooch and told to cast it into the wind. Later he discovers the wind has sent something back: the snow spider. So begins Gwyn’s journey as a magician. Against the shimmering backdrop of a magical domed city, Gwyn has to battle evil and heal a fractured family. A spine-tingling trilogy of stories, full of magic and power.
This book. This book.
I always wondered when I read reviews that start with “This book”… I mean, what does that even mean?
Now I understand.
Because, guys, this book.
I first read this book (I don’t really need italics do I? You get it. I love this book) when I was eight. I found it in our ‘library’ (we don’t really have a library by the way, we had a book shelf that we called the library) and I was intrigued instantaneously.
OK, well no… that’s a lie. I was terrified instantaneously because this is my cover.
Isn’t it horrifying? And retro? And horrifyingly retro?!
Anyway, I picked it up and devoured it and it instantly became one of my favourite series.
Fast forward a few years when I was cleaning out my room when I had returned from university and I was suddenly inundated with Norton Anthologies and about three copies of Heart of Darkness (I swear they multiply) and I found my copy again. After the initial “What is with this cover? I fear it may be possessed by evil!” panic, I opened it with giddiness knowing that I had loved it but not really remembering why. I read the first chapter, and then the second and then about an hour later, I realised I’d actually read the first book.
Twenty one year old Jo was no longer allowed to exist because eight year old Jo had pushed her way forward and was currently immersed in a land of magic.
And if that wasn’t lovely enough, I realised/remembered that these books were set in Gwynedd where I went to university. It’s like it was fate… except I wasn’t a magician.
Or a farmer.
Anyway, when I decided I was going to do a Welsh Week on my blog, I knew that this series had to be featured because, to me, it is the ultimate celebration of all things Welsh.
In three books, you have Welsh culture, myths, legends, traditions, sheep (no seriously, sheep play quite a big part in the first book), other worlds, magicians, cursed toy horses, possessed strangers, mad princes, art projects, a passionate celebration of all things natural, family, community, the importance of friendships, trust, malevolent forces, sheep dogs, unicorns (I know, right?), children getting into mischief and going against their parent’s wishes, ships made of seaweed, glow in the dark flowers, cake.
And that’s just a snippet.
I tend to read these books in one go so, to me, they are all one book but if I had to pick my favourite it would be Emlyn’s Moon, the second book. Here we meet the wonderful and brilliant Nia Lloyd, the middle of seven (soon-to-be eight) children who befriends a mysterious boy named Emlyn and his father, even though she is told to stay away. It’s all about family secrets and dark forces and the past and feuds and magic.
Also, arts and crafts projects, which I feel is an extremely underrated subject in children’s fiction.
I know a few people might be a bit “Um…?” about the lack of world building in this series and, even though this book and I are for keeps, I am not completely blinkered.
I understand that the magic and the shenanigans that happen within this book aren’t feasible, even in Wales where dragons roam free and where spoons are classed as magical instruments of love. And I know that there are plot holes and there are unanswered questions but even in the bestest of books you get them.
And, whatever, I just don’t care. Maybe I am a little blinkered, I think that’s allowed with your favourite children’s books though.
Magic happens in this book and you have to just go with it.
This is a series for people who can believe in magic unconditionally.
I am one of those people and I hope to be one of those people forever and ever.
Fun Welsh Word of the Day!Cariad = Love.Pronunciation: ca – ree– add.
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