A while back, I reviewed The Secret of Zoone, a multiverse novel about a boy who ends up working for a station that acts as the center of the multiverse itself. It rekindled my love for books that I had since I was a kid. A while back, Mr. Födi released a new book entirely called Spell Sweeper. While definitely on the more mature end of the middle-grade spectrum, this story was definitely one I would have adored as a teen.
So yeah. Today, we’re reviewing Spell Sweeper by Lee Edward Födi. You can buy it here. The story has that magical school flair with a down-on-her-luck main character who defies the odds to become the hero she wanted to be. So let’s see what’s in store.
Magic is messy.
Cara Moone is the classic case of a normal kid attending wizard school, except she has little to no magical talent and is stuck being a MOP, a member of magical janitors designed to clean up magical messes. Her boring job becomes chaotic when a toxic pile of magic manifests before her. Her suspicion goes to one person: Harlee Wu, the Chosen One and the most popular student in all of Dragonsong Academy.
I enjoyed this twist on the magical school trope. Despite having all the familiar cliches, the story makes each one unique and not feel formulaic. It definitely carries that fantastical flavor Zoone has, while still standing out.
After all, the hero attending a school of magic is the dream of every kid. Forget math, social studies, boring tests, and homework, how about learning transfiguration and alchemy instead?
Cara lives a double life both as a student of Dragonsong Academy and in a normal, real-life world. Those who blend the two are called Blisses, those blissfully unaware of their pupil’s true ambitions. Whether it’s dealing with rude teachers or star students, or dealing with Cara’s sister and her crude boyfriend, Cara has no shortage of bad luck.
I like the twist here with a magical school filled with gifted wizards and witches and Cara’s basically become the school janitor for her entire career. It’s such a funny reversal of the numerous magic school tropes. Of course, you have the usual school tropes. The popular girl, the nervous friend, being a loner, a weirdo, rude teachers, and not to mention playing on the perfect chosen one with Harlee. Throughout the story, Cara suspects that Harlee might be the one causing all of the toxic magic dust in the school, so naturally, she’s the one causing it, right?
Much like Zoone before it, we have another animal companion by the name of Kazuki the kitsune, or Zuki for short. When he’s not flaunting the fact that he has multiple broom-like tails, he serves as Master Quibble’s familiar, acting as an errand boy for Cara and Gusto, her friend and fellow MOP. I love kitsune characters, especially playful ones. Zuki looks adorable too if the cover is any indication. He’s usually more of a nuisance for Cara than a real companion, often siding with whoever’s convenient to him at the time.
The story overall is darker compared to most middle-grade stories. It deals with topics of tobacco, and family death, among others, usually revolving around Cara’s sister, Su. It does have its amusing moments, but it shows no mercy when serious topics are involved. In between chapters are details that expand on both the world and Cara’s relationship with her family.
Overall, this is a very fun story all the way to the end. The narration from Cara was fun, Zuki showing off any chance he got was a treat, and there was no shortage of magic. Definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for a fun new magical school story.
That’s all for today. If you liked this article and want more from Silver Claw, check out my Patreon where I have all sorts of perks. Moonlight Blade is coming soon. Of course, the story will be free here for everyone over the coming weeks. Patrons, however, will get the full story before the Spring, with chapters being released semi-frequently afterward.
Safe travels, adventurer.