Kingdoms & Empires series by by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone, The Whispering Wars, The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst

Oh boy is there a story here. So, first, thank you to the publisher for an advance reading copy of The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst. I received it and didn’t really know anything about it so opened it up and started reading. I could not put it down! I just loved the author’s style of writing and how funny it was and clever and just all around good. So I read the whole book and wrote this on Goodreads:

“I love love loved this. I haven’t been this entertained by a book in a while and there was just something about the story, the setting (boarding school) and the storyteller’s voice that I loved. She did refer to some big events that happened in the past and I thought “could that have been another book??” and now I see that this is actually the THIRD book in this series. So oh my goodness, looks like I have two fantastic books ahead of me to read.”

THEN I looked up the author because I kep thinking her name was familiar to me and guess what? Way back a hundred years ago when she wrote her first YA novel, Feeling Sorry for Celia, I read that and loved it. I think I read another book and then sort of lost track of her. Well it turns out she’s been busy writing away in Australia (and is also the sister of Liane Moriarty, another popular author I like). So then I excitedly got the next book from the library, which in this case was #2, The Whispering Wars. So I read the whole trilogy one right after the other, but I read them backwards.

The first book I read (the third book) was all about a girl at a boarding school and right away it’s set up that in this kingdoms (or rather, kingdoms) magic exists and is practiced by certain individuals. There are also many bad magic characters. At the boarding school it seems like a wonderful new teacher might be not all that she seems (she’s really mean to the girl but in a way no one else seems to notice) and there is a lot of excitement that one of the students might be a Whisperer, which is someone who can make spells to hold in bad magic (which might be done by a bad character like a Sterling Silver Fox.) So there’s mystery and adventure and it’s very funny and delightful.

Then, I read book #2 which was taking place BEFORE book three, by about 10 years. So every time they mentioned “the Whispering Wars” and I thought “That seems like it could be a story itself”-it was. Book #2 is The Whispering Wars. So some of the character names are familiar because they had been mentioned, and you do see how it all ties together, but it’s a different set of main characters. What I thought was really interesting about this story was that it retained the same jolly humor and quirkiness but it turned out these wars really were bad. Like, lots of innocent people died. There were internment camps. It was a bad time. (but a great story.)
Then, I finally got to the book that started it all– The Extremeley Inconvient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone. Bronte had been mentioned in book #3 so I was very interested by this point to read her story (which fits in after Whispering Wars, but well before book #3) This was a swashbuckling delight. Bronte has been raised by her aunt and a butler while her parents have been out adventuring around the world. One day they get word that her parents have been killed by pirates. The directions in their will are preposterously specific and elaborate. Bronte must go on a trip by herself to visit all of her father’s nine sisters. She must deliver a gift to each of them at specific times and do certain activities in each location. The trip turns out to be a wonderful way to learn about her absent parents as the aunts all tell her wonderful stories, but it seems there may be another motive.
As with the other two books this was an absolute delight. I’m just going to use the same words over and over for each of them-jolly, delightful, fun. I just felt so charmed and entertained. And I wished that my kids were younger and we were reading them aloud all together. So much so that I do wonder if I need to own them all just to have on hand in our personal library.

*p.s. Paul is reading them in order. He has finished the first book and written about it here (remember, he writes in great detail about what happens in the book so don’t read it if you don’t want spoilers) and is currently reading Whispering Wars.