‘There were loud shouts. Angry noises. Things to make Miles’ skin tingle and stomach flip. He was soothed with quick I love yous and goodnight forehead kisses, and then the room blackened into stillness.’
Establishing pretty quickly that Miles’ home life wasn’t the best, I hadn’t been expecting a start like this. With the bright colours and beautiful watercolour design of the cover, it tricks you into thinking it’s going to be a much more lighthearted fantasy.
If you didn’t come here for emotional upheaval and countless deaths, look away now…
But in the world of Rompu, Miles has magic. He finds a wild dog called a maylan, who has an injured leg. Mortimer tells him to leave the maylan behind which makes Miles distraught. He reaches out to stroke the animal and a blue-green aura surrounds them, after which the maylan able to walk unassisted when moments before he could barely stand. Miles calls the creature Clint, and he joins them on their quest to reach Trafier.
After Miles has had a couple of days to rest, he meets Queen Alys. Mortimer has been corresponding with Jaselle and the Queen during their journey, and he has told them that he believes Miles possesses magical powers. It’s the first Miles has heard of it: he’s just a regular boy who wants to go home. But after a few days of training, they all agree that Mortimer was right.
When Miles is angry, he conjures fireballs in his hands. When he’s sad, it begins to rain, and when that sadness turns to fear lightning strikes all around. He can’t work out what helped him heal Clint, but he knows that the adults are on to something.
It’s difficult to keep random lightning storms under wraps. The King finds out that Miles has powers, and he sends in Jericho and Kricket, an Omne and a Skyr, to bring the boy back to him. He wants Miles to defeat the Veratt, because since he summoned in the King has had two warring personalities. The murderous, evil one seems to be becoming stronger the longer the Veratt is allowed to roam free.
But Miles is only nine, and saving the world is a big responsibility. He needs to focus on the memories that hurt him the most – his parents arguing over something his dad did, his grandmother telling him she thought she was dying – and it drains him. If he isn’t strong enough to face his past, how can he be strong enough to take down the Veratt?