Subtitle: Book 1
By: Dhonielle Clayton
Genre: YFH - Fantasy & magical realism
Published by: Harper Collins Publishers
Published: 1 Jun 2022
ISBN: 9781460762882


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.

Purchase Online


Ella and her family are Conjurors, and she is the first Conjuror selected to attend the famous Arcanum Training Institute.

Marvellers from all over the world send their children here to find out which element of marvel they belong to. But Ella’s dreams are soon shattered when she realises most people don’t trust her or her ability to conjure things. Luckily, she makes friends with Brigit and Jason, and her favourite teacher, Masterji Thakur, takes a special interest in her magical abilities.

When Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears at the same time as dangerous criminals escape from prison, Ella and her friends decide its up to them to find him.

This is a wonderful story set in a world that I would love to live in! The fantasy world created in the Marvellers is exciting, interesting, full of intriguing characters, and has a wonderful sense of friendship and family woven through it.

It is a perfect fantasy story for middle grade readers in upper primary and lower secondary, and they will find it so hard to put down. I can only hope that there is a Book 2 not too far away!

Reviewed by Michelle