Celine Kiernan, The Little Grey Girl (The Wild Magic Trilogy, #2), Walker Books, February 2019, 224 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781406373929
This is the sequel to Begone The Raggedy Witches where when witches kidnap her dad, Mup is swept up into a different world of magic. The Little Grey Girl is the second instalment in a new trilogy by Irish author Celine Kiernan.
The defeated queen, Mup’s grandmother is not dead and is still influencing and creating havoc in a land now ruled by Mup’s mother, Stella. The whole family, Dad, who has no magic at all, Tipper, her young brother who has plenty, Crow, Mup’s shape-changing friend and Baxter the dog have made the journey back to the castle but all is not right. A little grey girl eaten up with bitterness, hate and jealousy is taking revenge for the neglect she suffered. Mup has to marshal all her strength of will, determination and belief in herself to save her family yet again from the corrupted magic that threatens them.
It is always a challenge to read the second instalment of a trilogy without having read the first volume. Can the book work on its own? The Little Grey Girl is an engaging mystery with charming and interesting characters and some special magic. There is not so much attention on world building as I assume took place in the first novel so the charming talking cats/female witches, talking ravens/ male witches, are briefly explained but not enlarged upon. Mup has magical powers – she is ‘the hare, the stitcher of the worlds’, but I am not quite sure what that means.
There are some serious themes touched upon here apart from the usual love of family, and celebration of friendship. The book is dedicated to ‘all the forgotten children’ and is a plea for healing, understanding and forgiveness. There is also some reshuffling of gender roles, a plea for equality, and a push to share knowledge rather than hoard it.
This novel is engaging enough to make readers want to go back to the first instalment and I am sure they will look forward eagerly to the conclusion to the Wild Magic trilogy.
Reviewed by Mia Macrossan