This book is a fantastic, more mature addition to the world of the Hollow Earth series, also written by the Barrowman siblings. In my previous review of Hollow Earth, I noted that I liked the series and recommend it, but didn’t always feel it delved deep enough or went quite far enough in building its world. All of those minor issues I had with that series are nowhere to be found in Conjuror. Before I really get into it, I need to tell you: I received this book for free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I’m grateful to Trafalgar Square Publishing for the opportunity to review it. Okay, now let’s get into it!
Conjuror introduces us to a different supernatural group & conflict outside of the Animare and the Council of Guardians previously introduced in the original trilogy. The character of Remy is a wonderful addition to the series, well-developed and so very real in all of his feelings given his life circumstances to date. He is a Conjuror, and can use music to do some of the same things the Calders can do with art. The love of music and musical references infused throughout the book really help build the world, and brought a smile to my face. While the Calder twins are there, they are no longer the very central focus. Switching perspectives often, as well as times often, throughout the story really helped the story move along and provided enough context to truly understand where everyone was coming from and it was fun to tease out all the ways they were interlocked throughout. The book is also more mature in some of its content, feeling much darker and more violent than its predecessors, which is fine considering that this series is far more in the purview of YA than middle grades.
The last thing that truly made this book so great were the plethora of pop culture references beyond the music that were also cheekily sprinkled throughout, such as a character saying time could be “wibbly wobbly” or referencing the Force, really helped ground it in our world despite the fantastical elements. I did miss the Scottish setting, but the London setting prevalent contributes much better to the tone of this book.
Overall, Conjuror has really set the tone for a series grounded in Hollow Earth that has been able to mature with its characters and its readers. The setting, the new characters, and alternating perspectives held my interest, and the little pieces of pop culture and musical joy I found throughout made the read enjoyable. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next!
Recommend: Yes, especially for fans of Hollow Earth, the Barrowmans, just plain good YA urban fantasy, and musicians
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars