Of Witches and Wind: The Ever Afters, Book 2

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Of Witches and Wind: The Ever Afters, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Action picks up in fairy tale fantasy sequel.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Like Of Giants and Ice, the first book in the Ever Afters series, this installment plays with the idea of fairy tale archetypes and conventions.

Positive Messages
Loyalty, teamwork, and trust -- in yourself as well as your friends and family -- are vital to the characters' mission. Being open-minded helps the teens see some characters in a different -- and helpful -- light. 
Positive Role Models & Representations
When Rory's confidence and faith in her friends and family are tested, she finds the strength to push aside her doubts and trust her inner voice. She's brave and frees a horse enslaved by witches, ignoring the obvious danger. Rory's considerate and thoughtful as she tries to ease Lena's burden and protect Chase's secret. Although she lies to her parents about her whereabouts, she does so because of her mission and to spare them worrying about her. Rory's father pushes her into an audition, ignoring her reservations, and then doesn't defend her when she's ridiculed. He later apologizes, sincerely, and repairs some of the damage done. Rory and Chase grow to understand and befriend a notorious villain.
Violence & Scariness
The heroes battle an array of magical creatures in violent encounters. Rory repeatedly dreams that one of her companions becomes dismembered. Several tragic family backstories are briefly recounted, including the deaths of parents and siblings.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the young heroes in Of Witches and Wind: The Ever Afters, Book 2 risk life and limb in battles against villains. Rory, however, is intent on not killing anyone. She continues to deceive her parents about the true nature of Ever After School. She tells them she's spending vacation week at a friend's house, when she's actually going to the magical school. She arranges to visit her father as a pretext to pursue a mission and then runs away to complete her task, causing her parents great anxiety. Main characters describe a mute girl as a "weirdo" and give her the teasing nickname "Chatty." 

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What's the story?

Rory has settled in happily at Ever After School, which finds and trains Characters for their roles in real fairy tales and quests, like battling trolls and griffins. Rory, used to notoriety as the daughter of Hollywood royalty, already has a reputation in the fairy tale world for a mysterious Destiny that remains secret to her. Rory arrives at Ever After School for what should be a fantastic vacation week with her friends, Lena and Chase. But the Snow Queen carries out a terrible attack that threatens the lives of nearly everyone at school. To save the school, Rory and her friends have just seven days to find and retrieve the Water of Life from Atlantis, teeming with hostile creatures.

Is it any good?

Author Shelby Bach introduces an abundance of plot twists and new creatures the second installment of her fun Ever Afters series about a magical school for fairy-tale Characters in training. Binding Oaths, enchantments, and boons play a large role in the harrowing journey to Atlantis, inhabited by hostile Fey fairies and witches. Rory's inner doubts and family drama will resonate with any young teen. Revelations about Chase and Rapunzel give both characters more emotional resonance.
Bach aims for a preteen voice and captures some of the sardonic give-and-take among friends. Overall, however, the characters lack depth and authenticity, making it a less engaging choice for older readers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the activities Rory hides from her parents. Are her lies justified? Should she try to better reconcile her life as a destined hero with her life as the daughter of famous, divorced parents?
  • Look at how children's fairy tales are reinterpreted for different-aged audiences, such as the classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "The Little Mermaid," the world of Shrek, and dark films like Snow White and the Huntsman.
  • Talk about some of the hallmarks of magical school stories -- the wise mentor, the conflicted hero, the loyal friends, the menacing nemesis -- then use these archetypes to create your own story about a magical program for kids.

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and fairy tales

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