Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today is my stop on the Kaleidoscopic Tours for The Spectaculars: The Four Curses, a middle grade fantasy bursting with adventure.
Beyond the gateway, in the Hidden Peaks, live the Spectaculars – magical performers, with special powers gifted from the stars. They can levitate you out of your seat with a song, make a costume that will turn you invisible and create a snowstorm with a dance.
When Harper joins The Spectaculars at their travelling boarding school, she can’t wait to learn all kinds of magic. But when the song of the Four Curses comes to life, and a terrifying creature threatens everything, she must use her new powers to save her school…
While dreams come true at the Wondria, nightmares might just be lurking in the wings.
Rating: 4 stars
One of the reasons I most love reading middle grade is because of the sense of wonder and magic that often is inked into the story, and this book takes that theme and runs with it. It has one of the most unique magic systems I have ever encountered; magic powered by stars. It’s beautiful, clever, and oh so very witty.
The friendship between Harper and Trick is a friendship of ages, one that he never lost hope of even when Harper wasn’t around, and that just warms me all the way to my toes. The way their relationship is full of discovery, plotting and relying on one another, right from the very start, is genuinely beautiful. Everyone would be lucky to have a friendship like this, and it’s the best we can hope for to find one. Trick and Harper are especially close, but their other friends too are there for both of them, and become a steady source of love and puns throughout the book.
Despite having grown up exposed to the Spectacular’s world, Trick doesn’t have that much of a head start on Harper, and they learn things from the very beginning for this first year of their education. The book strikes the perfect balance between Trick knowing that bit more to educate Haprer – and so, the reader – on things, and them learning together, keeping the story fresh and interesting on every page.
There were plenty of twists and turns throughout the story, keeping the reader guessing with what was coming next. The clues that were dotted throughout still didn’t mean I knew what to expect, and the deeper storyline was a really joyful surprise to discover. The edge-of-your-seat scenes were dotted throughout, and the final few chapters were ones I absolutely relished.
As well as a love letter to friendship and stardust, the way this book looks at the wonders of theatre is precious. It’s enough to make you want to crowd into the audience, and also to climb back stage, ready to perform, and feel that exhilaration of bright lights and beautiful music. There’s magic of multiple kinds at work in this book.
Thanks for stopping by for this review today. If you’re a fan of different magic systems, check out my post here with some of my favourite books – although I will absolutely need to add this one to the list now! Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Usborne Books for my involvement in this tour and copy of the book.