This is a sequel to The Clockwork Crow, and, while this story does stand alone with sufficient background explanation included, it is probably helpful to have read that first to get the full flow of the story. It is, of course, to be a trilogy.
Seren Rhys has settled happily into her godfather’s household at Plas-y-Fran, especially after she rescued the son of the family, Tomos, from the fairies in The Clockwork Crow. Their happy first summer together ends when a new governess arrives, and Captain Jones can’t quite remember arranging for that to happen, but Mrs Honeybourne is charming and elegant and of course it’s all right- or is it? The new governess praises Tomos’ work, but gives Seren harder questions and belittles her, and gradually Seren realizes that she is not what she seems. Mrs Honeybourne’s birthday gift to Tomos, a carousel, plays mystical music that Seren recognizes as fairy music, the enchanting tunes of the Tylwyth Teg, and sure enough, Tomos starts to ignore Seren and to wander about at night, looking for the fairy door through which he disappeared before. The figures on it, the Juggler, the Soldier, the Dancer, and, most deadly of all, the Velvet Fox, come to life-size and hide in the house, and Seren is accused of taking them and breaking the toy out of jealousy. Incidents caused by the figures and their magic are blamed on Seren, and, locked in her room in disgrace, she manages to get a message to the clockwork Crow. Together, with Crow’s knowledge of magic and with some help from unexpected people, they defeat the fairies’ plan to abduct Tomos again, and the reader can take a breather before the next instalment.
Catherine Fisher was the first Wales Young People’s Laureate, and The Clockwork Crow won the Tir na N’og Welsh Children’s Book Award. There is humour as well as excitement in this excellent story of a brave and resourceful heroine who surprises even her mentor, the Crow, and we can look forward to finding out what happens next.