Review Blog

Jan 30 2019

The slightly alarming tale of the whispering wars by Jaclyn Moriarty

cover image

Kingdoms and Empires, book 2. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN: 9781760297183.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. This is a quirky, fun story told by two narrators. Finlay the boy from the Orphanage School and Honey Bee who goes to the exclusive Brathelthwaite Boarding School. They both live in Spindrift, a town that has a collection of ordinary townsfolk mixed with witches, gnomes, pirates and sirens.
The story starts with a race, the Spindrift Tournament, which brings the two schools into conflict and highlights their different school cultures. The children begin a 'tit for tat' series of pranks, which evolves into a school against school battle until the threat of real war, the 'Whispering Wars' begins.
There is a dark side to the Spindrift as children are being abducted and a deadly magic flu is spreading through the town, having drastic effects on the health of the townsfolk. The Orphanage and Brathelthwaite children decide to work together to discover what is happening and try to free the captives. There are some scary mind controlling and life-threatening adversaries to deal with and it is only when the two groups of children cooperate that problems start to be solved.
This is another novel in the Kingdoms and Empires books which can be read as a stand-alone but has a very clever connection to her previous novel, The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone (2017).
The use of two narrators gives an interesting insight into their personalities and viewpoints and Jaclyn Moriarty cleverly challenges first impressions and stereotypes as the story progresses. It is through listening to other people's stories that understanding and compassion develops. Prejudice, war and friendship are strong themes of the book.
I highly recommend this book to students 10 years and older.
A book trailer is available here.
Jane Moore

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