New York Times-bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton makes her middle-grade debut with a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky, perfect for fans of Rick Riordan, Soman Chainani, and Philip Pullman.
Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where Marvellers from all around the world come together to practice their cultural arts like brewing Indian spice elixirs, practicing Caribbean steel drum hypnosis, and bartering with fussy Irish faeries. Ella knows some people mistrust her Conjuror magic, often deemed “bad and unnatural,” but she’s eager to make a good impression—and, hopefully, some friends.
But Ella discovers that being the first isn’t easy, and not all of the Marvellers are welcoming. Still, she connects with fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, who is never found without a magical creature or two. Just as Ella begins to find her way at the A.T.I., a notorious criminal escapes from prison, supposedly with Conjurors’ help. Worse, her favorite teacher Masterji Thakur never returns from a research trip, and only Ella seems concerned about his disappearance.
As tensions grow in the Marvellian world, Ella finds herself the target of vicious rumors and growing suspicions. With the help of her new friends, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her beloved mentor Masterji Thakur … before she loses her place at the A.T.I. forever.
Eager to wield their stapiers for Marvel Combat, friends Ella, Brigit, and Jason are back for their second year at the Arcanum Training Institute. With Ella’s celebrity growing throughout the Marvellian world after thwarting the Ace of Anarchy’s diabolical plans, it’s proving hard for her to focus on her coursework. But back home in New Orleans, the Conjure community isn’t too happy about Ella’s return to the skies for another year learning to become a Marveller. As if life weren’t complicated enough, Ella soon discovers more dangerous secrets about the Conjure architect who built the school.
Before she can dig deeper, a mysterious magical illness sweeps through the Institute, and Ella lands at the top of the suspect list. Can Ella and her friends save themselves and the Marvellian world before chaos breaks loose?
The Marvellers deserves the highest compliment I can give a book: I want to live in this world.