Sunday 19 November 2023


WHAT: Fairspell Academy
WRITTEN BY: Ava Richardson

Christmas is coming and it is always so hard to think about Christmas presents. I think I have just uncovered a genius solution for those of you who have young adults to consider. If you haven't heard of her dragon books already, let me introduce you to Ava Richardson. Richardson has authored a multitude of books in her fantasy dragon world, and Fairspell Academy is book two of her latest trilogy about the dragon defenders of Destia.

For those of you familiar with the scifi/fantasy genre, imagine Anne McCaffrey's dragons of Pern and Leigh Bardugo's magical realm of Ravka combined, and all of them living at the Winx academy. This is the world Richardson has created in Fairspell Academy. It's a heady cocktail which skirts the danger of overcomplication really well. As I mentioned, Fairspell Academy is the second book and I haven't read the first one - Pack Dragon - yet, but I have already bought it and it is sitting on my Kindle right now to read along with all of the previous books in this world because Fairspell Academy really is that good! (And yes, I have preordered book 3 too).

The great thing about the way Richardson writes is that we can piece together the history of the story even though, as in my case, I might not have read anything coming before it. This has the potential to become laborious for an already addicted audience, but I think it is done with a light touch so that you don't really quite feel like it happened. 

If you are a true addict - and I was certainly one of those pre-teens who had to read every book in every series written by any author I loved - you will be totally invested in this story moment by moment. For initiates, this is like the Goblet of Fire book in JK Rowling's Harry Potter books. It's full of intrigue and practice and competition you can't put it down. I haven't stayed up to finish a book in ages, but I had to do it with Fairspell Academy.

Eva Thirsk is a private in the Destia army, who accidently bonds with a small pack dragon. She is a farm girl orphan and her dragon, Perrell is too small to be a fighting dragon despite it being her great dream. The first book, Pack Dragon, is about how Eva finds her magical powers and how she and Perrell find themselves in a battle they are the key to winning.

In the second book, Fairspell Academy, Eva has formally been admitted into magic school with Perrell by her side. Eva has to start at the bottom, in magic classes with students several years younger than her. She soon discovers her magic is a bit different than everyone else's and she and Perrell also have to figure out how that brave little dragon can compete in strength contests with the bigger fighting dragons. 

The magic of Fairspell Academy is more than the usual isolated child overcoming insurmountable odds, and secret pasts, and inherited talents. Normally in these kinds of stories the protagonist is the one with all the shortcomings and everyone has to gather around and work as a team to help that person reach their true potential. In Fairspell Academy though, as well as mastering her own arts, Eva has to work with her dragon to help Perrell find ways to achieve her goals and dreams too. Thus, in Eva and Perrell we have a beautiful pairing which goes far beyond selfish ambition. This tale is about team work on a much deeper level than was found at Hogwarts for example.

The beauty about giving these dragon books by Richardson as a Christmas gift is that the world is so well developed the stories will sustain your young adults for possibly the whole next year. They are the gift that will keep on giving! (Oh, and why not give them the McCaffrey books too?)

5 Stars

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