Book Review: The Revenge of Magic (The Revenge of Magic #1) by James Riley

The Revenge of Magic (The Revenge of Magic, #1)Title: The Revenge of Magic
Author: James Riley
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Publisher: Aladdin (Simon and Schuster)
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy

When long-dead magical creatures are discovered all around the world, each buried with a book of magic, only children can unlock the dangerous power of the books in this start to a thrilling new series from the author of the New York Timesbestselling Story Thieves! Thirteen years ago, books of magic were discovered in various sites around the world alongside the bones of dragons. Only those born after “Discovery Day” have the power to use the magic. Now, on a vacation to Washington, DC, Fort Fitzgerald’s father is lost when a giant creature bursts through the earth, attacking the city. Fort is devastated, until an opportunity for justice arrives six months later, when a man named Dr. Opps invites Fort to a government run school, the Oppenheimer School, to learn magic from those same books. But life’s no easier at the school, where secrets abound. What does Jia, Fort’s tutor, know about the attacks? Why does Rachel, master of destructive magic, think Fort is out to destroy the school? And why is Fort seeing memories of an expelled girl every time he goes to sleep? If Fort doesn’t find out what’s hiding within the Oppenheimer School, more attacks will come, and this time, nothing will stop them!

Happy book birthday to this delightful middle-grade book that's filled with magic, intrigue, wonderful characters, amazing settings, and a type of story that helps unleash your imagination.

The Revenge of Magic opens in Washington DC. I've visited DC several times and I could imagine the setting but never have I imagined what would happen if a monster suddenly made its way out of the ground and I witnessed it take my dad. I'm not giving much away as this happens right at the beginning of the book but this is exactly what happens to Forsythe "Fort" Fitzgerald. And you immediately know things are amiss when he starts hearing voices in his head. 

I like that the story immediately jumps in time to six months later, when Fort is living with his aunt, now that he's lost both his parents. This is when an opportunity of a lifetime comes (literally and figuratively) knocking on his door. Fort is given the opportunity to attend the Oppenheimer school - a school dedicated to training young children who have been given the ability to fight these "monsters."

As he arrives and the days pass, Fort becomes the center of secrets held by the school and students who may have once attended and magic books found and those still lost. He's not sure who he can trust, especially when his "friends" all have the ability to use some type of magic: either the power of destruction, the power of healing, or even telepathy. Fort, who is constantly bullied, also notices that not many people trust him and he might be the key to something bigger than he could imagine. It makes for a mystery that I couldn't help but want to solve. Fort also goes through some development of his own because he starts out wanting to avenge his father and towards the end, he's evolved into something more, a tool for defending the fate of the world and feeling less like an outsider, and I loved the characters of Jia and Cyrus and Rachel, who all have a hand in his journey.

This is a long book but most fantastical middle grades are clocking in at 400+ pages these days. But the writing is so smooth, and the story is so much fun, that I'm sure kids will breeze through it. I also think that cover draws you in, as it did with me. This one hits shelves today so let us know if/when you check it out. This is book #1 of the series and I can't wait to find out what happens next!

As always, happy reading!


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