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The Marvellers

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Author Dhonielle Clayton makes her middle-grade debut with a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky. Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where Marvellers from all around the world come together to practice their cultural arts like brewing Indian spice elixirs, practicing Caribbean steel drum hypnosis Author Dhonielle Clayton makes her middle-grade debut with a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky. Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where Marvellers from all around the world come together to practice their cultural arts like brewing Indian spice elixirs, practicing Caribbean steel drum hypnosis, and bartering with fussy Irish faeries. Ella knows some people mistrust her Conjuror magic, often deemed "bad and unnatural," but she's eager to make a good impression—and, hopefully, some friends. But Ella discovers that being the first isn't easy, and not all of the Marvellers are welcoming. Still, she connects with fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, who is never found without a magical creature or two. Just as Ella begins to find her way at the A.T.I., a notorious criminal escapes from prison, supposedly with Conjurors’ help. Worse, her favorite teacher Masterji Thakur never returns from a research trip, and only Ella seems concerned about his disappearance. As tensions grow in the Marvellian world, Ella finds herself the target of vicious rumors and growing suspicions. With the help of her new friends, Ella must find a way to clear her family's name and track down her beloved mentor Masterji Thakur . . . before she loses her place at the A.T.I. forever.


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Author Dhonielle Clayton makes her middle-grade debut with a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky. Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where Marvellers from all around the world come together to practice their cultural arts like brewing Indian spice elixirs, practicing Caribbean steel drum hypnosis Author Dhonielle Clayton makes her middle-grade debut with a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky. Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where Marvellers from all around the world come together to practice their cultural arts like brewing Indian spice elixirs, practicing Caribbean steel drum hypnosis, and bartering with fussy Irish faeries. Ella knows some people mistrust her Conjuror magic, often deemed "bad and unnatural," but she's eager to make a good impression—and, hopefully, some friends. But Ella discovers that being the first isn't easy, and not all of the Marvellers are welcoming. Still, she connects with fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, who is never found without a magical creature or two. Just as Ella begins to find her way at the A.T.I., a notorious criminal escapes from prison, supposedly with Conjurors’ help. Worse, her favorite teacher Masterji Thakur never returns from a research trip, and only Ella seems concerned about his disappearance. As tensions grow in the Marvellian world, Ella finds herself the target of vicious rumors and growing suspicions. With the help of her new friends, Ella must find a way to clear her family's name and track down her beloved mentor Masterji Thakur . . . before she loses her place at the A.T.I. forever.

30 review for The Marvellers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zoraida

    This world is phenomenal. I desperately want to be a Marveller, even if I'm biased. This world is phenomenal. I desperately want to be a Marveller, even if I'm biased.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    Highly recommend if you loved Nevermoor and Amari and the Night Brothers, this is such a whimsical story, and I loved the magic school setting!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    13 out of 10, highly recommend to *everyone*. Welcome to the future of magical schools. The Marvellers takes on difficult topics with ease. Clayton’s writing is accessible but also packs a punch when necessary. I particularly love that Ella has a lot of adults in her life who care! And are alive! I also love Ella herself for being earnest and smart and relatable. The kids are going to loooove this book. There’s magical talking animals! The school and cities in the SKY! Different houses that you 13 out of 10, highly recommend to *everyone*. Welcome to the future of magical schools. The Marvellers takes on difficult topics with ease. Clayton’s writing is accessible but also packs a punch when necessary. I particularly love that Ella has a lot of adults in her life who care! And are alive! I also love Ella herself for being earnest and smart and relatable. The kids are going to loooove this book. There’s magical talking animals! The school and cities in the SKY! Different houses that you don’t get sorted into until the end of your first year (I am looking forward to seeing more of them in book two)! Academy secrets everywhere! It is a fact in this world that different kinds of magic are still important and all valid and I adore it. Truly and sincerely cannot wait to read the rest of this series. Will be promoting this one quite a lot to the kids at work. Thank you to NetGalley for a preview copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review. I ended up purchasing the audiobook via www.libro.fm as well. Readalikes: Amari and the Night Brothers, The Last Fallen Star, Race to the Sun, The Trials of Morrigan Crow

  4. 5 out of 5

    Manon the Malicious

    *4.5 Stars* I was provided an ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The Marvellers is Dhonielle Clayton's middle grade debut and what a debut it is! Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to ever go to the Arcanum Training Institute where Marvellers go to learn everything there is to know about magic; but she receives a less than warm welcome from her classmates. Tensions keep growing as the year goes by, especially after a famous convict escapes from prison and the escape is blamed on Con *4.5 Stars* I was provided an ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The Marvellers is Dhonielle Clayton's middle grade debut and what a debut it is! Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to ever go to the Arcanum Training Institute where Marvellers go to learn everything there is to know about magic; but she receives a less than warm welcome from her classmates. Tensions keep growing as the year goes by, especially after a famous convict escapes from prison and the escape is blamed on Conjurors everywhere. At least, Ella can count on her two friends: the angry Brigit and the friendly Jason. The Marvellers was a great middle grade boarding school book. I enjoyed its plot, its setting, its characters. The mystery elements seemed a bit predictable to me but I didn't mind one bit. The story was very well woven and appealing from beginning to end. The characters were layered and I loved seeing them grow as characters but also seeing their relationships change. I really liked the writing, I found it easy to read yet detailed and even lush in the setting descriptions. I felt like I was there, right beside Ella and i loved every second of it! I hope there will be more books in this series and cannot wait to read more by Dhonielle Clayton.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Heather Sobek

    Is this the new Harry Potter?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Vega

    Many thanks to the author for the e-arc, I am very grateful. Note: My english review will be at the end, just scroll down. “Some things have to be faced. They can’t be avoided.” Español: Estamos ante el que espero sea mi nuevo instituto de magia favorito, el Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors es la academia de magia del mundo que la autora construyo, y a diferencia de anteriores escuelas de magia que aclamaban ser abiertas para todas las personas de todas las cultura Many thanks to the author for the e-arc, I am very grateful. Note: My english review will be at the end, just scroll down. “Some things have to be faced. They can’t be avoided.” Español: Estamos ante el que espero sea mi nuevo instituto de magia favorito, el Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors es la academia de magia del mundo que la autora construyo, y a diferencia de anteriores escuelas de magia que aclamaban ser abiertas para todas las personas de todas las culturas sin embargo al momento de representar dichas culturas no eran más que llenas de estereotipos, esta academia de verdad aclamaba ser abierta para todas aquellas personas que reciban su carta, no importa su religión, nacionalidad o cultura; mientras iba leyendo me maravillaba al ver distintas culturas de todo el mundo en un solo lugar, y me refiero a una buena representación, incluso ver representación latina dentro de este libro me lleno de alegría como latino. Una vez que terminé de aclamar la excelente representación que tiene este libro me voy a centrar un poco en la historia. Tenemos a nuestro protagonista Ella quien es una Conjurer, y junto a su familia y demás conjurer son los encargados del Underworld. A lo largo de la historia, los conjurer han sido dejados de lado por el mundo mágico al tener presunciones de que la magia de estas personas es mala, y al mismo tiempo les ha hecho ser rechazados por las personas sin magia o también conocidos como “fewels” Pero después de muchísimos años, y muchas conversaciones entre las autoridades del mundo mágico, se produce un avance dentro de la sociedad mágica y se admite a Ella a que entre al instituto, hecho que causa opiniones divididas en el mundo mágico; nuestra protagonista Ella se encuentra muy emocionada por ir al instituto, pero al momento de irse es aconsejada por su familia de que su vida no será muy fácil por los estereotipos que se tiene hacia ella y su magia. Como era de esperarse, dentro del instituto algunas personas eran muy malas con Ella, hecho que me enojaba bastante, pero al mismo tiempo hubo personas muy bonitas que fueron amigos de Ella. Pero no todo puede ser color rosa, ¿verdad? Finalmente tenemos el giro donde la líder malvada de una sociedad de magos se fuga de la cárcel especial, misma que se encontraba en el Underworld, este hecho hará que la sociedad mágica enloquezca y culpe de traición a los conjurer, haciendo la vida de Ella mucho más difícil. Todo quedará a manos de Ella y sus amigos de descubrir el paradero de su maestro favorito cuando este desaparece misteriosamente y las demás personas del instituto actúan de manera extraña. Espero haber dado una buena premisa porque a lo largo del libro esta historia puede engancharte bastante, su sistema de magia es asombroso y ni hablar de los paragon, que son como las especialidades dentro del mundo mágico y donde cada alumno es ubicado al final de su primer año; yo en lo personal me siento bastante identificado con el paragon de la visión, ¡el ojo es sabio! Pero de igual manera los demás paragon son bastante interesantes; las materias que se enseñan son algo particulares y volvieron a avivar en mi las ganas de haber recibido una carta para entrar a este instituto a los 11 años. Este nuevo instituto va por buen camino en convertirse en mi nueva obsesión y entrar a mi top de sagas favoritas, volviéndoles a recordar que tiene una representación fascinante y solamente faltaría saber si es open mind en cuanto a la sexualidad de sus estudiantes, pero se comprende que no se trate este tema en el primer libro pues la mayoría de personajes aun son niños y se encontraban enfocados en otras cosas, espero en futuros libros se pueda ver esta clase de representación y creo que el instituto finalmente podría ser para abierto para todo el mundo, claro, si recibes tu carta. Me encuentro halagado de haber podido leer este libro antes de su publicación y obviamente estoy ansioso por tener una copia física en mis manos cuando salga, porque algo también a agregar es que su portada es super bonita y los detalles dentro del libro prometen bastante. Impresionante, cautivador y atrapante, el Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors tiene todo para volverse la saga favorita de muchísimas personas, sus puertas se encuentran abiertas. Calificación Final: 5 estrellas English: We are before what I hope will be my new favorite magic institute, the Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors is the magic academy of the world that the author built, and unlike previous magic schools that claimed to be open for all people of all cultures however when representing those cultures they were nothing more than full of stereotypes, this academy truly claimed to be open for all those people who receive her letter, no matter their religion, nationality or culture; as I was reading I was amazed to see different cultures from all over the world in one place, and I mean a good representation, even seeing Latino representation inside this book filled me with joy as a Latino. Once I am done hailing the excellent representation this book has I am going to focus a little bit on the story. We have our main character Ella who is a Conjurer, and along with her family and other conjurers are in charge of the Underworld. Throughout history, the conjurers have been sidelined by the magical world with the presumption that the magic of these people is bad, and at the same time has caused them to be rejected by people without magic or also known as "fewels." But after many years, and many conversations between the authorities of the magical world, there is a breakthrough within the magical society and Ella is admitted to enter the institute, a fact that causes divided opinions in the magical world; our protagonist Ella is very excited to go to school, but at the time of leaving she is advised by her family that her life will not be very easy because of the stereotypes that are held towards her and her magic. As expected, inside the institute some people were very mean to Ella, a fact that made me very angry, but at the same time there were very nice people who were Ella's friends. But not everything can be rosy, right? Finally we have the twist where the evil leader of a society of wizards escapes from the special prison, same that was in the Underworld, this fact will make the magical society go crazy and blame treason to the conjurers, making Ella's life much more difficult. It will be up to Ella and her friends to discover the whereabouts of their favorite teacher when he mysteriously disappears and the other people in the institute act strangely. I hope I have given a good premise because throughout the book this story can hook you quite a lot, its magic system is amazing and not to mention the paragons, which are like specialties within the magical world and where each student is placed at the end of their first year; I personally feel quite identified with the paragon of vision, the eye is wise! But in the same way the other paragons are quite interesting; the subjects that are taught are somewhat particular and rekindled in me the desire to have received a letter to enter this institute when I was 11 years old. This new school is well on its way to become my new obsession and enter my top favorite sagas, reminding you again that it has a fascinating representation and I just need to know if it is open minded regarding the sexuality of its students, but it is understandable that this topic is not addressed in the first book because most of the characters are still children and were focused on other things, I hope in future books you can see this kind of representation and I think the school could finally be open for everyone, of course, if you get your letter. I find myself flattered to have been able to read this book before its publication and I'm obviously anxious to get my hands on a physical copy when it comes out, because something also to add is that its cover is super nice and the details inside the book promise quite a lot. Impressive, captivating and enthralling, the Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors has everything to become the favorite saga of many, many people, its doors are open. Final Rating: 5 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie Martinez

    What an accomplishment this story is. It subtly addresses racism and prejudice and children’s ability to overcome these negative perceptions and behaviors in a way that adults often cannot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    This was fantastic! It isn’t even officially released yet, and I already can’t wait for Book 2

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    4.5 stars rounded up to 5. RTC

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Ella is excited by apprehensive to be the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute. This school floats in the air and changes its appearance every year, and students travel to it by a magical water-zeppelin. Students come from all over the world, and have language crystals that help with translation. This makes for a very multicultural school, although most students are from Marveller communities and not Fewel ones; Ella is from Conjurer communities E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Ella is excited by apprehensive to be the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute. This school floats in the air and changes its appearance every year, and students travel to it by a magical water-zeppelin. Students come from all over the world, and have language crystals that help with translation. This makes for a very multicultural school, although most students are from Marveller communities and not Fewel ones; Ella is from Conjurer communities in Mississippi and New Orleans,but her family occasionally interacts with the Fewels. Her mother would rather have her at home, attending Madame Collette's Conjure Ecole, but her prominent conjure-politician father wants to see conjurers accepted into the elite academy. The staff are generally accepting, and Masterju Thakur is assigned as a staff mentor, while Jason is a student who is supposed to show her around. At first, she is assigned three roommates, Lian, Samaira, and Siobhan. While they are a little apprehensive about having Ella as their roommate, especially after her mother sets up several conjurer wards to help protect Ella, they aren't actively mean to her. Nonetheless, Ella finds herself uprooted soon after and placed in an out of the way room with Brigit, who has been raised in a Fewel community and does NOT want to be at the school. Brigit was raised by a foster mother and doesn't think she has a marvel, although she does a lot of magically inspired knitting. While Ella is shielded from the worst of the news about how people are negatively reacting to a conjurer at Arcanum, she does have to put up with various microaggressions. She does enjoy her classes, and even starts to get along better with Brigit, but things are not going well in the Marveller world. A generation ago, there were students who were fighting against the magic, and these students were called Aces. The major player was named Gia Trevilino, the Ace of Anarchy, but she has been imprisoned in the Cards of Deadly Fate. She managed to escape, and eventually works her way to the Institute to extract her revenge. Ella has been working with Masterji Thakur to understand how conjurer history intertwined with Marveller history, and when he goes missing, she feels compelled to look for him with Jason and Brigit. Will she be able to find her mentor and sustain her position at the Institute? Also, with Gia on the loose, how will the next school year unfold? Strengths: Pick this one up for the richly developed fantasy world, complete with magical classes, a fantastic school campus, and a selection of magic from many different cultures. I did enjoy the fact that the students weren't given their Marvel Examinations until the end of the year, when an elixir and a magical machine told them their Paragon (one of five) and their Marvel (a specific trait within the Paragon). There are so many good details, along with food, magical creatures, and innovative ways of traveling that it would be easy to read this book and not really care a lot about the plot. While Conjurers haven't been officially in the Institute, there was some interesting hidden history, and surprising secrets of other characters who had Conjurer roots. Ella's family was so interesting that I wouldn't have minded an entire book before this one, explaining her life with her family, and maybe a lot more back story of Gia Trevilino and the Institute. The fact that she was generally welcomed, but there were some people who weren't happy with her being there, made this seem much more brutal and realistic than if the hatred and prejudice had been very bold. A very interesting and well developed fantasy title with characters of color. Weaknesses: Given the other meanings of Ace (a shortened form of asexual), I found it slightly problematic that the evil characters in the book had that name. Young readers might not be aware of this. There was also some confusing language describing Brigit's crafting; she seems to be knitting with needles, but her work is sometimes referred to as quilting or quilt blocks. Fantasy books are the hardest things for me to read, so I personally struggled a bit with some of the backstory and feel like I need to reread the entire book to fully understand what crimes Gia and the Aces committed and how and why they were punished. This will be important going forward with the series. What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and this will be fun to hand to students who have read the Tristan Strong series, since they will get the shout out to author Kwame Mbalia, who is apparently moonlighting as a fictional character! The fantasy world will appeal to readers who couldn't get enough of Bell's The Crooked Sixpence, Black and Clare's The Magisterium series, or Townsends' Nevermoor books.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    The Marvellers is a fantastical original story I am sure many will enjoy. I will be buying it for my school library. There have been lots of (negative) press compared to the HP series that, as an educator, I will now address. The Marvellers is frequently compared to Harry Potter. Before you go down that road, it is as much akin to Harry Potter as Rick Riordan's Camp Half-Bloods is akin to Hogwart's. There is a historical literary tradition, it evolves over time. Each new author adds to the canno The Marvellers is a fantastical original story I am sure many will enjoy. I will be buying it for my school library. There have been lots of (negative) press compared to the HP series that, as an educator, I will now address. The Marvellers is frequently compared to Harry Potter. Before you go down that road, it is as much akin to Harry Potter as Rick Riordan's Camp Half-Bloods is akin to Hogwart's. There is a historical literary tradition, it evolves over time. Each new author adds to the cannon by helping to reshape it with new prose representing unique voices. Like JK Rowling added to the YA Fantasy cannon of Edith Nesbit, and others, Dhonielle Clayton, has submitted a new addition and introduced us to a fantastic setting with rich and engaging characters. What JRK did for the British schooling tradition, Clayton also created a story familiar to the American educational experience. Here thousands of kids are bussed out of their communities for hard fought educational opportunities to places that are not as welcoming. What HP started in 1997 and Percy Jackson continued for dyslexic kids; this book's Ella Durand will do for children who have rarely seen themselves in middle grade Fantasy literature. This is a book that will get kids reading! Something that is more important than ever in our post-pandemic Era. We have new data from Harvard, that gaps in reading GREW the past 2 years. Stories that kids want to read, that they connect with, are MORE important than EVER!! I had Harry and Hermione when I needed them and did not want to read. I loved that the kids I teach had Percy, I would have loved having him when I was struggling with my dyslexia in middle school. Millions of girls and boys will see themselves in Ella, Jason and Brigit. I wish there was a Marveller series for kind of every kid, a new universe to discover and love. One that brings them into the fantasy literarily tradition where they read characters like them written in a manner appropriate to their skill level. This book was engaging, exciting, and intriguing. I will be eagerly and not very patiently waiting for the rest of the series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brechae’

    Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for providing an e-ARC of The Marvellers in exchange for an honest review. Ella Durand is an eleven year old conjuror who is attending the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the sky. She is the first conjuror to ever attend the Marvellian school and many students, teachers and parents mistrust the magic her family practices. When a dangerous criminal known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes from the Underworld prison, supposedly Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for providing an e-ARC of The Marvellers in exchange for an honest review. Ella Durand is an eleven year old conjuror who is attending the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the sky. She is the first conjuror to ever attend the Marvellian school and many students, teachers and parents mistrust the magic her family practices. When a dangerous criminal known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes from the Underworld prison, supposedly with the help of a conjuror, tensions rise to an all time high throughout the Marveller universe. Ella and her friends must use their growing powers to clear her people’s names before it’s too late. The Marvellers is Black Girl Magic come to life! I absolutely adored this book! Not only is the cover beautiful, but the world building and attention to detail is so phenomenally done that I felt fully immersed in the Marveller universe. The world Ella inhabits is whimsical and unique. I could easily see this story being adapted for film. The story was well paced and the mystery element kept me engrossed from start to finish. I loved how diverse the characters were and how many cultures were highlighted through the students and teachers at the Arcanum. I enjoyed Ella’s journey being the first conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute. Many tried to make her feel unwelcome because they believed the conjure folk practices to be too different and bad. Her strong family ties, support from her mentor Masterji Thakur and friendships with Brigit and Jason gave her the courage to stay and stand up for herself and all conjure folk. The Marvellers is a book that I wish 12 year old me could read. When I was in middle school I desperately craved books with Black girls like me getting to go on adventures and attend magical schools. It makes my heart so happy to know that today Black girls and other girls of color are getting to see themselves in stories like this because representation matters! The Marvellers is now tied with Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky as my favorite middle grade fantasy novel. I finished the story wanting to be a Conjuror/Marveller just like Ella. While it’s not currently listed as a series, I am almost certain there will be another book and I can’t wait for it!

  13. 5 out of 5

    C.L. Colyer

    The Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors claims to be open to everyone, except, until now, Conjurers. And while the administrators of this fine magical academy say all are welcome, Ella’s family and friends warned her that there would be those who cling to the stereotype that Conjurer magic is evil. There is also the threat of evil returning, as any good fantasy would have. This story is about acceptance, good vs. evil, and overcoming stereotypes. Ella faces many challe The Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors claims to be open to everyone, except, until now, Conjurers. And while the administrators of this fine magical academy say all are welcome, Ella’s family and friends warned her that there would be those who cling to the stereotype that Conjurer magic is evil. There is also the threat of evil returning, as any good fantasy would have. This story is about acceptance, good vs. evil, and overcoming stereotypes. Ella faces many challenges, including classmates who don’t like her just because she’s a Conjurer and not a Marveller. These students aren’t outright mean to Ella, but their dislike of her does get Ella moved from the room she shares with three Marvellers to a room with a new roommate raised by a Fewel (mortal) family. Ella makes friends, though. Jason, Brigit, and Masterji Thakur are great allies. The Marvellers is a delightful magical book with a fun magical academy and a diverse cast. The world-building is wonderful and imaginative. Fans of fantastical worlds are sure to enjoy this one. Thank you NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for a review copy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Exquisite Williams

    This story is Dhonielle Clayton's Middle-Grade debut however you cannot even tell. She tells this story with the true whimsey that it deserves. This story is so incredibly fun. As someone who loves what the YA genre can bring this story does all of that. The magic is delightful. Every middle schooler dreams of going to boarding school, or at least I did, and this book makes that desire even more real. With so many mysteries to unfold the story is unendingly engaging. The descriptions of the set This story is Dhonielle Clayton's Middle-Grade debut however you cannot even tell. She tells this story with the true whimsey that it deserves. This story is so incredibly fun. As someone who loves what the YA genre can bring this story does all of that. The magic is delightful. Every middle schooler dreams of going to boarding school, or at least I did, and this book makes that desire even more real. With so many mysteries to unfold the story is unendingly engaging. The descriptions of the set are equally amazing as well. The characters in this story are lovable if a bit one-dimensional at times but never in a way that takes away from their stories. Ella, Bridget, and Jason I love you. Little Black girls everywhere are going to love Ella as well and I cannot wait to see more of her in the future. If you loved Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky you will love this story as well. More Black girls and magic please and thank you.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Layla

    Everything we needed and more. If you're looking for a book filled with mystery, diverse characters and set in a magical school with a best friend trio - then this is for you. Ella's journey through her first year at the Arcanum is non stop action. This world is rich and fully fledged with magical creatures, marvellous abilities and very real, raw, experiences. The way that Ella is treated by students and teachers alike really drew a lot of parallels with my childhood as we as struggles that conti Everything we needed and more. If you're looking for a book filled with mystery, diverse characters and set in a magical school with a best friend trio - then this is for you. Ella's journey through her first year at the Arcanum is non stop action. This world is rich and fully fledged with magical creatures, marvellous abilities and very real, raw, experiences. The way that Ella is treated by students and teachers alike really drew a lot of parallels with my childhood as we as struggles that continue to this day. This book really made me feel things. Book 2 cannot come quick enough!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Gaddy

    This was a work of love by author Dhonielle Clayton. The worldbuilding is supremely lovely. I loved Ella and all the cast. Great for readers who want to sink into another world and experience magic and beautiful culture. I'm glad there will be more to come. This was a work of love by author Dhonielle Clayton. The worldbuilding is supremely lovely. I loved Ella and all the cast. Great for readers who want to sink into another world and experience magic and beautiful culture. I'm glad there will be more to come.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    I'm obviously in the minority here, but this book is just not a success This is such a Harry Potter wanna-be (and I say this as a mild fan of HP like 10 years ago) without any of the successes of the books. - There's division into 5 houses based on talent, or "marvels," but people can have more than 1 of that talent and can even steal each other's (not explained). I'm over this very old and now outdated trend to separate people into different categories based on some random trait/talent that is n I'm obviously in the minority here, but this book is just not a success This is such a Harry Potter wanna-be (and I say this as a mild fan of HP like 10 years ago) without any of the successes of the books. - There's division into 5 houses based on talent, or "marvels," but people can have more than 1 of that talent and can even steal each other's (not explained). I'm over this very old and now outdated trend to separate people into different categories based on some random trait/talent that is never exclusive to any given group of people - There are small creatures like house elves that serve you/watch over you. Not explained - The "star" theme is overused: star folk, star mail, Stariary (the worst), Stardust Pier, star-lanterns, "star's teeth!," "star ink".... it's repeptitive and uncreative. - Plot is... not well-paced and there's a lot of random off-shoots that mean nothing later. - Writing is not good. I was lost from one sentence to another more than a few times. And this is a children's book. My random complaint that will not bother other people is that there are professors and other characters named after children's book authors, straight-up first and last name. Some characters that appear are Dr. Kwame Mbalia, Dr. Anne Ursu, and Jason with long locs (Reynolds?) It's cute if it's first names, and I love the multiculturalism throughout the entire book, but referencing the full names is cringy. All that said, the story picks up a lot at the end and despite the lack of explanation and weird timelines, it's kind of interesting when the characters are puzzle-solving to find their missing professor. But still there's so much left unexplained, and I was way too frustrated and not having fun to care to read the second book. For the wonderful premise of a super-diverse mutliculutral school of magic with interesting concepts and explorations of discrimination, this book falls so short that it becomes a waste of the interesting concept. And I will end on the thing that enrages me... the strict and domineering dean of discipline is Russian, with an incorrectly gendered name of Nabokov instead of Nabokova for women. Comlpetely zero redeeming characteristics and obvious lack of even the most bare minimum of research. That's a real slap in the face for this so lovingly constructed world of diversity and the story of a girl seeking acceptance. Real nice. I couldn't be more disappointed in this book, and I'm a little hurt by it. I hope this gets redone and republished after a few more months of workshopping with actual sensitivity readers and extensive editing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review. The Marvellers follows Ella, an eleven-year-old girl who is invited to attend the Arcanum Training Institute as its first ever Conjuror student. Though she is excited to show the Marvellers what it's like to be a Conjuror, and to learn to be a Merveller herself, Ella and her Conjuror family face rumors, suspicion, and distrust around every corner. My favorite thing about this book was the world. The Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review. The Marvellers follows Ella, an eleven-year-old girl who is invited to attend the Arcanum Training Institute as its first ever Conjuror student. Though she is excited to show the Marvellers what it's like to be a Conjuror, and to learn to be a Merveller herself, Ella and her Conjuror family face rumors, suspicion, and distrust around every corner. My favorite thing about this book was the world. The Marvellers live in cloud cities and attend school in the sky. They eat magical foods like squirmy japchae and jumping jollof. Each magic wielder has a different affinity, and though they're sorted into groups based on affinity for training and community purposes, they're all generally open and accepting of any affinity (there is, of course, the exception for magic wielders like the Conjurors, who are perceived to use their magic in a vastly different way than the Marvellers, and that bias is explored by the narrative). The plot is also a fun time, though the external conflict with the Ace of Anarchy, etc., does end up being kind of a backseat conflict. The story itself is much more focused on Ella, on her friendships and her experience with discrimination in school. While I don't particularly find that to be a drawback, it's something to note for readers who are looking for more of an adventure. Masterji Thakur isn't even discovered to be missing by our characters until 65% of the way through the book. I do think this book is an absolute marvel, and a worthy addition to the middle grade genre. It is rich and vibrant and digs into not only a new magical world, but also real world prejudices that both adults and children see, struggle with, and participate in today. A book like this that explores those themes is beyond valuable.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC of this title! Love, love, love! Dhonielle Clayton has built a lush, vivid, and detailed world that readers will enjoy exploring. It is richly woven with touches of different cultures. The author’s nods to her writing peers throughout the book are sweet and middle grade/ya readers will likely recognize some of the shoutouts. Yes, the base story of an exceptional student enrolling as an outsider in a magical school is not new, but Clayton takes t Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC of this title! Love, love, love! Dhonielle Clayton has built a lush, vivid, and detailed world that readers will enjoy exploring. It is richly woven with touches of different cultures. The author’s nods to her writing peers throughout the book are sweet and middle grade/ya readers will likely recognize some of the shoutouts. Yes, the base story of an exceptional student enrolling as an outsider in a magical school is not new, but Clayton takes this blueprint and masterfully spins a tale both compelling and unique in detail that young readers will enjoy. Ella is a Conjurer, the first Conjurer to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where the Marvellers study. Ella faces a lot of prejudice - there are many parallels between this magical world and what happens daily in real life. She is determined to learn as much as she can about the Marvellian world while also helping them to understand what Conjuring is - and what it is not. Along the way, Ella is joined by unlikely friends, her loving family, and a kind mentor who suddenly disappears, much to her dismay. Ella is determined to get to the bottom of what is happening, even as her standing and position in the school becomes more precarious. I have many questions after this book and look forward to reading more in future books. I’m hooked on this series! Book 2 will be an automatic preorder for me when it comes out.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beth Mendelsohn

    Thank you to Henry Holt & Co. and NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Eleven-year-old Ella Durand comes from a family of Conjurors in New Orleans and is the first Conjuror admitted to the prestigious Arcanum Training Institute for Marvellers. Students come from all over the world to study and hone their skills. Ella is immediately subjected to prejudice because they don’t like or trust conjure magic and she is seen as lesser. She connects with fello Thank you to Henry Holt & Co. and NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Eleven-year-old Ella Durand comes from a family of Conjurors in New Orleans and is the first Conjuror admitted to the prestigious Arcanum Training Institute for Marvellers. Students come from all over the world to study and hone their skills. Ella is immediately subjected to prejudice because they don’t like or trust conjure magic and she is seen as lesser. She connects with fellow misfit and roommate Brigit, who hates magic, and Jason, the youngest in a large Marveller family. Just when she is starting to find her way, a notorious criminal escapes from her supposedly inescapable prison allegedly with Conjuror help. On top of that, her mentor disappears just when he starts explaining to Ella her heritage at the school. With her friends’ help, Ella work to find her teacher and clear her family’s name. What a great start to a new series! Readers will see similarities to Harry Potter but this story brings in a richness of different cultures and customs. It also addresses real world issues and prejudices. Adult readers, especially librarians, will see Clayton’s call outs to other authors by name (A.T.I. teachers). Overall, a “marvelous” book! I can’t wait for the next one in the series! I would recommend this middle grade fantasy for readers in grade 4 and up. #TheMarvellers #NetGalley

  21. 4 out of 5

    Josephine Sorrell

    This novel is a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky. Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, like brewing Indian spice elixirs and bartering with irritating Irish pixies. Being the first isn’t easy or Ella, as some Marvellers mistrust her magic, which they deem “bad and unnatural.” But eventually, she finds friends in elixir's This novel is a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky. Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, like brewing Indian spice elixirs and bartering with irritating Irish pixies. Being the first isn’t easy or Ella, as some Marvellers mistrust her magic, which they deem “bad and unnatural.” But eventually, she finds friends in elixir's teacher, Masterji Thakur, and fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures. Ella becomes a target of suspicion after a dangerous criminal known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror’s aid. To make matters worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her mentor before it’s too late. This middle grade novel is sure to be a hit. The writing is delightful, charming, exceptionally clever, and filled with suspense and humor. A number one pick for fantasy fans.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Antoinette

    Exceptional!! I fell in love with the world of this story instantly. Paragons, marvels, star posts, bottle trees, pixies and star folk there was so much to discover! I enjoyed Ella, Jason and Brigit's friendship; looking out for and encouraging one another as they navigate their first year at Arcanum Training Institute. I thought the peek into the villain's story was a great addition to the layers of the story. A wonderful tale about finding your true self, discovering friendships and bringing c Exceptional!! I fell in love with the world of this story instantly. Paragons, marvels, star posts, bottle trees, pixies and star folk there was so much to discover! I enjoyed Ella, Jason and Brigit's friendship; looking out for and encouraging one another as they navigate their first year at Arcanum Training Institute. I thought the peek into the villain's story was a great addition to the layers of the story. A wonderful tale about finding your true self, discovering friendships and bringing communities together. A must have in every middle grade classroom!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

    I literally pressed "want to read" after reading the first sentence. Black led MG fantasy with a magic school setting? I'm gonna say yes every time! I literally pressed "want to read" after reading the first sentence. Black led MG fantasy with a magic school setting? I'm gonna say yes every time!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisad

    4.5 stars A great read! A wonderful world to be immersed in, delightful characters, and fast-paced. There are Marvellers, Fewels, and Conjurors - three different societies, each including members of different ethnicities and backgrounds. The reader can see how the story mirrors our own life experiences/histories. “When we were enslaved, our talents and skills adapted under brutal torture, and after freedom, there was more terror. Enduring that leaves a mark. Conjure is a bittersweet cross between 4.5 stars A great read! A wonderful world to be immersed in, delightful characters, and fast-paced. There are Marvellers, Fewels, and Conjurors - three different societies, each including members of different ethnicities and backgrounds. The reader can see how the story mirrors our own life experiences/histories. “When we were enslaved, our talents and skills adapted under brutal torture, and after freedom, there was more terror. Enduring that leaves a mark. Conjure is a bittersweet cross between rage and hope, but yet still full of love. … A bruised fruit is still sweet.” For those familiar with Harry Potter and the Wizarding World, this is a fun story to dive into. Noting similarities and differences is enjoyable. For those readers new to such a world, read with care and enjoy the unique details and descriptions (food, animals/pets, clothing, air trolleys, messaging balloons, starfolk, etc, etc). This first novel has a fabulous ending and will leave you eagerly waiting for the next. I know I am.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Rush

    I am fond of all stories about magic. This is a nice and way read too

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erricka Hager

    This was a cute read! I think this will resonate with a bunch of middle grade kids.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ashton Reed

    4.5/5 stars I really really really enjoyed this one! Think Harry Potter but whimsical instead of cozy… Goodreads synopsis Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where Marvellers from all around the world come together to practice their cultural arts like brewing Indian spice elixirs, practicing Caribbean steel drum hypnosis, and bartering with fussy Irish faeries. Ella knows some people mistrust her Conjuror magic, often deemed "bad and unnatural 4.5/5 stars I really really really enjoyed this one! Think Harry Potter but whimsical instead of cozy… Goodreads synopsis Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where Marvellers from all around the world come together to practice their cultural arts like brewing Indian spice elixirs, practicing Caribbean steel drum hypnosis, and bartering with fussy Irish faeries. Ella knows some people mistrust her Conjuror magic, often deemed "bad and unnatural," but she's eager to make a good impression—and, hopefully, some friends. But Ella discovers that being the first isn't easy, and not all of the Marvellers are welcoming. Still, she connects with fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, who is never found without a magical creature or two. Just as Ella begins to find her way at the A.T.I., a notorious criminal escapes from prison, supposedly with Conjurors’ help. Worse, her favorite teacher Masterji Thakur never returns from a research trip, and only Ella seems concerned about his disappearance. As tensions grow in the Marvellian world, Ella finds herself the target of vicious rumors and growing suspicions. With the help of her new friends, Ella must find a way to clear her family's name and track down her beloved mentor Masterji Thakur . . . before she loses her place at the A.T.I. forever. This book is really precious and fun and magical! It was the perfect little taste of fantasy to get me back in a fantasy mood! First of all, the setting is fantastic. The magical academy vibes are immaculate and whimsical, with a focus on stars and clouds that make everything oh so dreamy. But there’s a lightheartedness, as well, that reminds me so much of Harry Potter and other books in that realm of middle-grade fantasy. The blend of epic magic and quirkiness is absolutely perfect, and I was very impressed with the little details that completed the vibe. Clayton does a fantastic job of making her middle-grade characters actually realistic for their age. I truly felt, the whole time, that I knew exactly how old these characters were by their dialogue, their actions, and Ella’s internal commentary. I completely understood their motivations because I could easily think “hmm how I did I act in 5th/6th grade? … Yep, I get it.” Speaking of characters, I really really loved every single character in this book. Honestly. There are mean kids, of course there are. But every character felt three-dimensional and realistic, especially our main character Ella! I LOVE HER. She struggles with middle school things like wanting to belong, but she also knows what she stands for and stands up for others too. She’s precious and I love how she reacts to how she’s treated as an “outsider.” Plot-wise, this book slays. In a lighthearted, Harry Potter-esque way. I was completely intrigued the entire time; Clayton also does a great job at unfolding the mystery at a nice pace where it isn’t overly predictable but also doesn’t stress you out because you don’t know what’s going on… maybe that’s just a me-thing, but still, I appreciated it haha! Oh, and lastly, the diversity in this book is AMAZING. As it should be. I'll leave that there. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. While I wish a few details were a little less similar to Harry Potter, I loved loved loved the vibes, the themes, the characters, everything about it! I recommend this one for lovers of Harry Potter and fantasy worlds / vibes like that! *I received a free e-arc of this novel from Fierce Reads in exchange for exposure and an honest review; all opinions in this review are my own. This book was published on May 3rd, 2022!* Thanks for reading my review! If you enjoyed it, you can friend/follow me here on Goodreads or on Instagram and Pinterest @ashton_reads for more bookish content (@ashton.reads on Tiktok)!! If you want, you can give this review a like or comment with your thoughts so I know you've read my review; your support means a lot to me! Happy reading!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Ryckman

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Note: I was provided an ARC of this novel at the North Texas Teen Book Festival. “The Marvellers” is a book with a number of strengths: it brings us fascinating, creative magical systems, a world full of life and history that feels like a natural fit for said magic system, and characters who are engaging to read about. Unfortunately, it is also a novel with a number of weaknesses. Let’s start with the most prevalent: the worldbuilding. Now, once the story gets going, it is incredibly easy to become Note: I was provided an ARC of this novel at the North Texas Teen Book Festival. “The Marvellers” is a book with a number of strengths: it brings us fascinating, creative magical systems, a world full of life and history that feels like a natural fit for said magic system, and characters who are engaging to read about. Unfortunately, it is also a novel with a number of weaknesses. Let’s start with the most prevalent: the worldbuilding. Now, once the story gets going, it is incredibly easy to become lost in the magic of this world, an alternate Earth with just enough similarities to our own to seem somewhat familiar. But it is unfortunately one that is very complicated, with not just one but two magic systems: Conjuring and Marvelling. Marvelling, at least, is described in some detail, which makes sense given the nature of the story (I mean, the title is literally “The Marvellers”, after all). But even so, there are still many questions left by the end of this book that feel like they should have been answered: what does it mean if someone steals someone else’s Marvel? How does having two Marvels even work? Conjuring is described with even less detail, which is unfortunate since the main character, Ella Durand, is herself a Conjurer from a long line of them. Why exactly Marvellers stand at the top of society why Conjurers are looked down upon is unclear, as is what the difference between the two magic systems. In addition to how complicated the magic systems are, the rest of the worldbuilding results in what can best be described as a sluggish pace. The plot often takes a backseat as Clayton goes on to describe fine details of her world, such as food or creatures that end up having no real bearing on the story, and it results in a pacing that is uneven and awkward. When the plot does get going, boy howdy does it get going. But there are so many long pauses and breaks in between that it is easy to forget what exactly we’re supposed to be caring about. Some of this, I feel, is due to the very forced nature of the plot’s timing: like many magic-school books, this story is set over the course of Ella’s first year at Arcanum Training Institute. Yet important parts of the plot don’t mesh with the slower nature of this kind of story: a prisoner breaks out of the Underworld (which it’s never really explained how that exists in this world), and then it takes…2-3 months for them to do anything? The heroes find out that their beloved teacher is missing in January, but don’t really do anything about it until May. A student accuses Ella of harming her in December but doesn’t bother to report it until May. Much of the story feels like it is standing in place – the characters don’t necessarily grow much during these intervening months, and yet the time has passed regardless. In the end, “The Marvellers” is a book with a lot of promise, certainly with the ambition of setting up a stellar series, but it falls somewhat flat when it is crippled by awkward pacing, maybe-too-detailed worldbuilding, the very nature of its own type of narrative. Rating: 7.5/10

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tianna kelly

    If you are ready to enter the whimsical world of the Marvellers and the Conjurors, then step right up for a tale of friendship and mystery. We follow our main character Ella who was born and raised into a family of Conjuruors, and in their magical world, they are considered outcasts. They are bothered by the Marvellers until her father challenges the court system of the magical world. The court ruling will allow for Conjurors to attend the magical institute, but only one was admitted into the in If you are ready to enter the whimsical world of the Marvellers and the Conjurors, then step right up for a tale of friendship and mystery. We follow our main character Ella who was born and raised into a family of Conjuruors, and in their magical world, they are considered outcasts. They are bothered by the Marvellers until her father challenges the court system of the magical world. The court ruling will allow for Conjurors to attend the magical institute, but only one was admitted into the institute...Ella. Upon entrance into the institution, Ella is met with foe but makes unlikely friends and explores how to find balance in the Conjuruor and Marveller debate while remaining true to herself. Ella makes At times the pacing felt slow, and it was hard to understand and get to know our character while the world-building distracted from screen-time for our trio and our villain. But the world was a wonderful escape that young readers will absolutely enjoy and be eager to explore further.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Rivera

    This was just a really great book about magic, being misfits and accepting yourself. I enjoyed Ella, Jason and Brigits friendship and how they looked out for each other during their first year at Arcanum. I really loved the world building and how the magic of everyone was portrayed and how the stigma that Ella received being the first Conjuror to attend the school and how she had to overcome peoples prejudice about her form of magic. Really great start to a series and I can’t wait to read the ne This was just a really great book about magic, being misfits and accepting yourself. I enjoyed Ella, Jason and Brigits friendship and how they looked out for each other during their first year at Arcanum. I really loved the world building and how the magic of everyone was portrayed and how the stigma that Ella received being the first Conjuror to attend the school and how she had to overcome peoples prejudice about her form of magic. Really great start to a series and I can’t wait to read the next one. Thanks to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Netgalley for the complimentary copy of this book in e-book form. All opinions in this review are my own.

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