The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton
Format: E- ARC
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Number of pages: 416
Publishing: May 3rd, 2022
Source: Edelweiss +
Opening Line: "Salutations & Greetings of the Most Magnificent Kind, we are thrilled to inform you that you've been accepted into the Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors."
Ella Durand has been invited to attend the prestigious Arcanum Training Institute (ATI), a magical school floating in the sky that is never in the same place twice and can only be reached by a sky ferry. Ella is the first Conjuror to attend, having gained her spot after her father won his case at the Marvellian court and the three-hundred-year-old ban on Conjurors attending was lifted. Before that the Institiute admitted Marvellers from all around the world, but never a Fewel, or non-magical student. Ella is apprehensive about attending the institute, not only is she feeling the pressure of representing all Conjurors, but she really wants to belong and make some friends. At the same time, she's fully aware that most Marvellian's don't seem to trust Conjuror magic. After meeting her mentor, Masterju Thakur and fellow student Jason, Ella feels a little more optimistic about her year. But when her new roommates reject her, and she's placed with Brigit, a girl who hates magic, being at the institute, and is homesick for her Fewel community, Ella is once again discouraged.
Then news of the notorious Ace of Anarchy, Gia Trevilino's escape from the Cards of Deadly Fate, a high security prison reaches the ATI. The Marvellian community suspects a Conjuror helped her and Ella's fellow students once again turn on her. To make matters worse, her mentor is missing, and it seems that Gia Trevilino has found her way to ATI and may be the one pulling all the strings. Can Ella, Brigit and Jason track down and save Masterju Thakur before the institute is brought down in runes?
I really enjoyed the immersive and diverse magical world and school that Dhonielle Clayton created. So many different cultures are represented and each student has their own unique form of magic, or Marvel. Everyone starts out the year on an even playing field, not knowing what their specific Marvel will be until the end of the years Marvel Exam. I loved the magic of the Conjuror's and Marvellian's, both sounded very cool. How Marvel's are performed with light and come from one of the five Paragon's (Touch, Sound, Taste, etc.) which provides for many different combinations to include brewing Indian spice elixirs, marvels that make predictions or even control the weather. And how Conjurors, sing spells and have intricate tattoo's of roots and flowers on their bodies because of the magical spells they cast. I'm sure there are many other subtitle differences I missed while reading, but that only means a re-read is in order.
I do love my magical schools, think The Hound of Rowan, The Magicians Guild or Wundersmith. I relish all the lovely details about foods and classes and there were certainly enough here to satisfy. The only thing I was saddened by was all the prejudices that were directed toward Ella and Conjurors, and especially the unfair treatment she received when it was perceived that she broke a rule. However, Ella admirably stands up for herself and challenges the Marvellers thinking. Overall, I enjoyed the characters and varied magic systems, I can really see this expanding into a longer series of books. I especially can't wait to explore more in the Underworld. Did I mention that multiple children book authors appear as characters in the book? Such fun.
**Happy to see this tweet from Dhonielle Clayton announcing this will be a four book series and check out this book trailer**