Princess Jenren lives in a castle in the kingdom of Aerdem with her mother, father, brother and best friend Bit, her brother’s fiancée. However, her life has been far from easy: thanks to her aunt, the evil Queen Naryfel, Jenren, or Jen to her friends, spent a large part of her childhood separated from her family and living as an orphan in the magic-less Plain World before learning of her royal heritage.
When Queen Naryfel strikes again, Jen and her mother are captured, whilst her father and brother are attacked by a magical plant which is slowly suffocating them.
Bit sets out with her friend the Countess Petunia on a quest to the Plain World for a doctor who can free Dash and the King from their captivity. Meanwhile, Jen befriends a mysterious young man named Blue whom she must learn to trust if she and her mother are to escape.
Jen knows the key to saving her family and their kingdom is the magical Wyndano’s Cloak, but having been injured the last time she wore it, Jen is reluctant to use it. Can she overcome her fear if she has to?
This award-winning fantasy novel is aimed at girls aged between about 10 and 15. It has mainly females as its core protagonists. Whilst I think in principle this is a wonderful idea, and the book certainly provides several very good female role models, it did seem a little one sided, I missed the boys!
I thought the character development in this tale was superb, particularly in the case of Bit who really grows in confidence during the book. All the leads are put in very unusual and uncomfortable situations and it was brilliant to see how they coped and came out stronger and better people for enduring their hardships.
A.R. Silverberry's liking for ending a chapter with a cliff hanger is a well-tested technique and one which succeeded in keeping me reading ‘just a couple more pages’ before bed. With plenty of twists, turns and surprises the plot kept me intrigued and anxious to find out more.
For a book named after the cloak in it, the item of clothing in question was barely mentioned, I would have liked it to have been referenced far more frequently so there was an enhanced feeling of anticipation when Jen puts it on again. When it finally is used, I was so caught up in the immediate happenings that I’d almost forgotten about the cloak’s existence at all.
This novel is sure to be adored by its readership. Silverberry has created an exciting and enticing story set within an enchanting and magical backdrop that’s bound to captivate many. Despite it being aimed at a considerably younger audience than myself I enjoyed it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for the teenage market.
3 and a half stars