Stolen Prince of Cloudburst, The
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HONOUR BOOK: 2021 CBCA Book of the Year, Younger Readers
SHORT-LISTED: 2021 Prime Minister's Literary Awards, Children's Literature
SHORT-LISTED: 2021 Queensland Literary Awards, Children's Book Award
Long ago, the little Prince of Cloudburst was stolen from the seashore by a Water Sprite. Now, ten years later, the prince has found his way home. The King and Queen are planning the biggest party in their Kingdom's history to welcome him.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Kingdoms and Empires, Esther Mettlestone-Staranise is looking forward to another year at Katherine Valley Boarding School. But she arrives to find a number of strange and unsettling changes. For one, her new teacher is rumoured to be an Ogre. Two mysterious students have joined the school, and one of Esther's classmates is an undercover Spellbinder. Most disturbingly, the mountains surrounding the school – usually a delight of glaciers, teashops, lakes and Faeries – are now crowded with wicked Shadow Mages.
As secrets and dangers escalate, Esther must find the answers to several puzzles. Why is her teacher behaving so oddly? Which of Esther's classmates is the Spellbinder, and can they really protect the school from gathering hordes of Shadow Mages? Could the Stolen Prince of Cloudburst be connected?
How can Esther – who is not talented like her sisters, nor an adventurer like her cousin, but just Esther – save her family, her school and possibly her entire world?
'There's a lot packed into this sweet tale told in a deceptively simple, authentic 12-year-old voice. Without devolving into a didactic tone, this novel addresses the concept of safe adults, the danger of comparing oneself to others, the importance of telling the truth and standing up to bullies, and the value of apologizing. Readers can return to this text over and over, and always discover something new. VERDICT: A delightfully quirky story with nuance, depth, and a colorful cast of characters, this book begs for multiple readings.' School Library Journal
'Moriarty … is relentlessly clever throughout, maintaining a tone firmly on the comic side of fantasy, though this doesn't keep Esther's story from nailing critical points of emotional resonance. This title, like its siblings, is a perfectly accessible stand-alone, although, together they give a deeper immersion and lay the groundwork of something like a middle-grade version of Terry Pratchett's Discworld – fantasy adventure steeped in humor, with a touch of satire, and set in a whimsical secondary world of the highest order.' Booklist