YA Fantasy Award Winner 2015
Deep in the woods sits an unassuming house, one not noticed by those who pass it by, but inside exists those the world has forgotten: the Unnaturals, children born with magic from an ancient source, who also possess supernatural powers that make them dangerous to the outside world. Outcasts, misunderstood, they are taken in by Miss Crabtree, the loving headmistress of the school. Here, at the School for Unnaturals, they learn to control their gifts and learn the art of spellbinding under her care.
When the war comes to England, their lives are placed in danger as the threat of the Nazis overtaking England brings a secret society called the Ahnenerbe, desiring to use the Unnaturals to give them an advantage during World War II. When an impassioned plea is made for her children to help save England, Miss Crabtree must rally her students to stand tall in the world of the Mundanes, the same world that made them outcasts. With time running out, they must fight to stay alive and out of the hands of the Nazi regime as the war rages.
This book comes across like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and I can see the similarities, but these are are only facile ties, and Crabtree is most definitely not Peregrine. When I got this I did not realize it was YA, silly me, so I had my kids listen to it with me, and they absolutely loved it. My oldest son is a fan of the formerly named series and even he said that he liked this as much if not more.
A little warning, the book does end on a cliffhanger, so don't get your pajamas in a knot when you realize that the story isn't over. Just be happy that there is MORE coming later. The book is set in WWII, and that fits the tale. I don't know if it would work as well in modern day. . . we'll see, who knows what the future holds. The magic works, and the kids are interesting.
Johns does a great job narrating, and we can't wait to hear more of his work in the future.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Just from the start, you know that you will totally enjoy this novel! The story involves a group of children and their teacher/guardian who was born with usually powers and are shunned from society.. yet during the start of WWII, it is their abilities that will make a difference. This is so worth the listening/reading and I look forward to Book 2 and find out what else will happen.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is well written and enjoyable to listen to but it just stops without giving an adequate conclusion. I hate half story cliffhanger books.
Many of the ideas in the premise of this book are not very original but they are very well told. I particularly liked the telling of Mrs Crabtree’s story. The history in the book is wonderfully written and while frightening at times, not overly detailed or graphic in a way that would scare a child of preteen age. The narrator does a wonderful job of drawing you into the story and making each character really come alive. I would have enjoyed this a lot if it simply would have drawn a conclusion. My 6th grade English teacher would have reprimanded me for something like this saying, “A story must have a beginning, a middle and an END.”
This story kept making me think Harry Potter since the main characters are all kids with special abilities that go to a school to get taught how to use the abilities. It is written well and narrated decently well. The narrator has a British accent which is excellent since the story takes place in England.
If there are more books I may just get them.