Parents' Guide to


By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Exciting magic fantasy is an empowering read for teen girls.

Close-up of a young woman's face who has blue eyes, painted lips, and brown hair in a short bob; large blue birds are tangled in her hair. The air around her sparkles in a white-blue hue.

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Fresh Story

Only some girls inherit magic in this book which they can give away to others because they can't use it themselves. It can't be taken by force but there are several situations that lead to potential assault which are stopped before anything major happens. This book is engaging all the way through and plenty of secrets are revealed along the way. The conclusion sets up for a sequel.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

There's so much to love in this debut fantasy that is equal parts thrilling magic, well-drawn characters, and compelling feminist themes. And all weave seamlessly together like a well-cast spell. The magic the Nightbirds wield morphs dramatically. At first they are masked young women in beautiful dresses giving away spell-laced kisses for money. At least Matilde, the most upper crust of the group, thinks giving away her magic is the right, safe thing to do and never questions why it's not hers. But as their lives become more dangerous and exposed, they discover what they can really do. And no one is more afraid of the Nightbirds' power than the mostly-male government and a religious sect called the Red Hand. They want to tame it, possess it, and put women in their place. If women are the only magical ones, of course a church like that one thinks there's some evil afoot.

The best part about the characters is that each of the women has a very different take on how to handle her power in the face of all the danger it poses. They are sisters in the struggle, bound together by the elements they mold, but also driven and conflicted for their own reasons. Some battle shame and fear that they will cause harm, one yearns to use her power for revenge but knows the costs, and one is desperate to find a way to invoke change from within so the persecution stops. By the end of the story, after all the chases and kidnappings and jailings and narrow escapes, it's sad when this exciting and empowering story comes to an end. But luckily there's more magic from this series to come.

Book Details

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