Cover Image: The Girl with the Whispering Shadow

The Girl with the Whispering Shadow

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I found this second book to be a slight improvement to the first book. I still found a lot of similarities with other books I have read in the middle grade genre but can appreciate that it’s difficult to have a completely original idea. The best part about this book was definitely the world building - Dark has managed to create a very whimsical and mystical world which easily pulls in visual readers. I can imagine it would be very popular with young fantasy readers.

Some of the issues I had with the book, however, was that the prose is lacking. The writing feels stunted and awkward at times and whilst the characters are portrayed as mid to late teens, they fail to come across that way. Similarly, whilst I enjoyed that there was little romantic relationships explored - only briefly touched on - and friendships seemed to more substantial; it is hard to believe that mid to late teens would not seek to explore that romantic element. I would say that if the characters had been made a bit younger in the novel it would be much easier to understand however I do appreciate that I am not the target audience and can see this being a very enticing read for younger generations.

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Night’s storytelling prowess shines brighter than ever in this sequel. The narrative weaves a complex tapestry of mystery, magic, and mayhem, all while maintaining the warmth and charm that endeared readers to the first book. Ivy, as our protagonist, continues to be a relatable and spirited character whose determination and curiosity drive the story forward. Her growth, both personally and magically, is portrayed with nuance and depth, making her journey not just a magical adventure but also a coming-of-age tale.

The world-building in “The Girl with the Whispering Shadow” is exceptional. Night expands the universe of Croswald with richer detail, introducing new locations, spells, and creatures that are both whimsical and foreboding. The lore of the land, with its history and mysteries, becomes more intricate, providing a lush backdrop against which the story unfolds.

One of the book’s strengths is its ability to balance dark, suspenseful moments with light-heartedness and humor. The supporting characters, both old and new, add layers of complexity and camaraderie to the narrative. Their interactions with Ivy not only propels the plot but also deepens our understanding of the magical world and its various factions.

The titular “whispering shadow” adds an element of intrigue, serving as both a guide and a mystery to be unraveled. Its presence weaves a thread of suspense through the narrative, keeping readers engaged and guessing at its true nature and intentions.

However, the book is not without its minor flaws. At times, the pacing can feel uneven, with certain sections delving into detail while others seem to rush through pivotal moments. Nevertheless, these moments do not significantly detract from the overall enjoyment of the story.

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This charming and magical read follows Ivy Lovely from her post as a kitchen maid (taking care of the dragons who cook the food) to the magical school, Halls of Ivy, where she will learn to assist royal magical families. It took me about a third of the book before I was truly invested, but once I was in, I was really in! Ivy makes a couple of good friends that she adventures with, in order to satisfy her unending curiosity. Much to the chagrin of her professors and head of school, this requires a fair amount of rule-breaking. She attracts the attention of an enemy, who by the end of the book, almost wrecks the whole school! The ending was a nice little twist (bringing back the first character from the first chapter, finally!), but the cliffhanger was even more “cliffhangery” than usual, to the point of feeling quite abrupt.

Similar to Harry Potter, it seems to follow a school year’s worth of adventures, includes magical creatures and potions and names for things we non-magical folk have never heard of, and also has a focus on the themes of friendship and making things right. I was a little confused how Ivy seemed to me more like a 12 year old than the 16 year old she’s written to be, but maybe that’s just to make her more relatable to the middle grade readers for whom the author is writing.

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The Girl with the Whispering Shadow by D.E. Night is a whimsical and enchanting addition to the Crowns of Croswald series. As a fan of the first book, I was excited to continue Ivy's journey in this magical world, and I was not disappointed.

One of the best aspects of this series is the world-building. Night has created a fantastical realm where imagination and discovery are highly valued. The descriptions of magical critters, plants, and places are vivid and captivating, making it easy to get lost in the world of Croswald. The addition of the game Quogo as a magic system is a stroke of genius and adds a unique and creative aspect to the story.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the world and the overarching plot, I did find that the characters acted younger than their stated ages. Despite this, the development of friendships and the absence of romance in this book was refreshing. I particularly loved the dynamic between Fyn and Ivy and found myself hoping for a strong friendship between them, akin to Harry and Hermione.

The pacing of the story was an improvement from the previous book, although there were still moments that felt slow. However, once the story delves into the magical winter wonderland of Belzebuthe, the book truly picks up and becomes difficult to put down. The vivid descriptions and enchanting moments, such as the flights of romance and the quogo matches, left me swooning and enraptured.

The introduction of new characters, such as the hilarious and sassy dwarves Hodge and Podge, added depth and entertainment to the story. Their magical battle had me laughing out loud, and I couldn't help but become attached to them. Additionally, learning more about Ivy and the members of the Quality Quill's Club allowed for deeper exploration of their relationships and the magical world beyond Croswald.

Overall, The Girl with the Whispering Shadow is a worthy sequel that showcases D.E. Night's growth as an author. The world-building, magic system, and captivating moments make it a must-read for fans of middle grade and young adult fantasy. If you're a lover of books like Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland, this series will definitely capture your imagination. I highly recommend picking up the Crowns of Croswald series, starting with The Crowns of Croswald, if you haven't already. You won't be disappointed.

This book was given to me as an eARC by the author and publisher via NetGalley.

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I loved this book so much, definitely a must for anyone who enjoys whimsical fantasy worlds. This is one of the very few times where I can say I enjoyed the second book more than I did the first one, and that really surprised me. All of the characters were likable and the plot was really good. Parts of this story reminded me a lot of Harry Potter and that's perfectly fine with me!

*Many thanks to Stories Untold LLC for the gifted copy for my honest review*

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Did not finish book 1, The Crowns of Croswald by DE Night as the first few chapters did not pique my interest.

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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the free copy to review!

This second volume of the series clearly shows an improvement in the author's style! The story seemed to deepen, the setting was better described than the previous book and I felt more connected with the characters. That said, it was easy to understand what would happen through the book. Maybe Night should have worked more on being more subtle.
Anyway, an enjoyable reading for sure!

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The Girl with the Whispering Shadow is the second book in the Crowns of Croswald series. Ivy escapes the Dark Queen and flees to a secret town where she will be safe and hidden from danger. This, unfortunately, means she can’t return to the Halls of Ivy for the next school year. Isolated and lonely days stretch on working in the potion shop and learning from books only. But then, through a turn of events, everything changes, and Ivy returns to school and her friends. Will she be safe from the Dark Queen? Can Ivy connect with Derwin and find out more about her past? And can she restore Croswald to its former glory?

The story was predictable, the friendships shallow, and the timeline rushed. But surprisingly, I still had a good time with this book. Partly because it reminded me so much of Harry Potter and therefore gave me time to reminisce. But also because I went into this book with the expectation that it won’t be something extraordinarily new but instead pure, simple fun. And that it was.

I would have wished that the time spent in the village was more eventful or that the return to school would have happened earlier as the book started dragging the story along and then rushing through it. That said, I really enjoyed Quogo and the rides on the beast. I found Derwin’s absence annoying, Gretta’s story could have been more prominent, and just like in the first book, Ivy’s friendships with Rebecca and Fyn were okay, but I didn’t feel the bond as much as I had wished. There were lots of things that could have been better. But hey, there is nothing bad about an easy and enjoyable read from time to time. And I will definitely continue to read the rest of the series.

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Overall, I think this is a respectable addition to the MG fantasy genre. However, I had a tough time getting through this book. While I enjoyed the premise and the characters a lot, I felt overwhelmed by new information and kept getting lost in the weeds. I wish that we got to spend more time with each story element, rather than getting so much new information all at once. I think a series is a good format for this story, but I do think I"d enjoy a more even balance between exposition and adventure/plot.
I definitely recognize what the author is going for and enjoy how thoroughly she has created a world with strict rules to her magic system. I especially enjoyed the relationships with animal familiars, and the worlds trapped inside glass bottles.

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The Girl with the Whispering Shadow by D.E. Night was a wonderful and whimsical read and I can't wait to dive into books three and four!
The start of this book was interesting with Ivy being whisked away to a secret town and the mystery that followed kept me wondering what would happen next. I think I'll be forever intrigued by the scriveners and the magic system is cool. Ivy's friends are always a bright spot, and The Crowns of Croswald is truly one of the coziest middle grade series.

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I have already reviewed the book on Goodreads and Instagram, but I am adding it here right now.

"We just have to see there stars inside of us. I think that's why the stars hang above Belzebuthe. They remind us that even in our darkest times, the bright spot in each of us can never be totally extinguished."
This is the second book in The Crowns of Croswald series which follows Ivy Lovely and it continues from where the first book left off.
The plot of the book was really intriguing. Ivy's search for the stone was accompanied by so many great side plotlines which all made for an amazing reading experience.
This book introduces us to other characters (especially the members of QQC). Their friendships with each other and with Ivy was really heartwarming to read about. The romance! I love love love Fyn and Ivy!!! They're so adorable!
Ivy's time in Belzebuthe introduced so many cool aspects of the worldbuilding (More exploration into the powers if Scrivenists, their life, the whimsical shops in the town, etc.)
The writing was simple. I loved how easy it was to understand and the interactions between the characters were so cute and funny.
I found the first half of the book a lottle hard to get through but I flew through it the moment my favourite character reappeared (Rebecca!)

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I enjoyed the continuation of this story in book two. I enjoyed seeing where the story went The characters are lovable and the magic is loads of fun. Definitely a must read!

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This book was confusing to me. I felt like the pace was too fast and important plot points weren't explained properly. I also have a hard time understanding the magic in this world. I would probably enjoy this more if I had more story development and character development.

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I always love the second book in a series because I’m more comfortable with the storyline and the characters start developing quicker. I enjoyed Ivy’s development as she uncovered her family’s history and discovered her own powers and learned how to take hold of her future. I’m enthralled with the world the author created and cannot wait to see what the next book holds.

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“The most wondrous things, the most impossible of things, are often just ordinary things doing what they are best at.”

Once again, thank you @storiesuntoldpress and @author.denight for a digital copy of the Crowns of Croswald’s second book, The Girl with the Whispering Shadow. Just like the first one, Book 2 sure did not disappoint.

The Girl with the Whispering Shadow was about the continuation of Ivy’s journey to finding out more about her family and how to keep the people, and places that mean a lot to her safe from the Dark Queen. She was once again accompanied by her best friend, Rebecca, and her more-than-beloved friend, Fyn, in her second year in the Halls of Ivy.

In this book, she learned how to play Quogo - a game popular in The Town, which helped her practice her innate skills and magic.

I truly enjoyed reading the second installment of this series. It was an easy, fast, and interesting read for me. I was entertained by the adventures, as well as the humorous conversations, of the Quality Quills Club (QQC) members. I know the orbis incident should have been a horrendous incident for a reader like me but I found it pretty hilarious. I knew it was coming. By doing what they were doing, they were unconsciously looking for something like the orbis and I was like, “Uh oh, here it goes.” Read the book to know more about the orbis.

Ivy and Fyn were so adorable together. I know that this is a middle-grade novel but I cannot help myself but ship them together. They are the reasons why I am looking forward to read the next book, apart from how Ivy will defeat the Dark Queen, of course.

A lot of reviews that came out about this series compared it with the Harry Potter books. I did, too. Yet TGWTWS gave The Crowns of Croswald series more depth and back story to set it apart from the well-established and extremely popular wizarding world of Harry. Though both series have included magic in their plots, the differences between them will keep any readers entertained until the very last page of each book of the series.

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"The Girl with the Whispering Shadow" by D.E. Night is a thrilling sequel to "The Crowns of Croswald." Ivy Lovely has just discovered that she is the fulfillment of the Moonsday promise and is whisked away to Belzebuthe, a secret town for only those with magical blood. Her mission is to uncover the second facet of the Kindred Stone while eluding the Dark Queen's wrath.

The world-building in this book is fantastic, and readers will love exploring Belzebuthe with Ivy. The magical creatures and unique magical powers are creative and fascinating. The characters are well-developed, and readers will enjoy seeing the growth of Ivy and her relationships with others.

The plot is full of twists and turns, and the pacing is just right, keeping readers engaged throughout. The ending leaves readers wanting more and sets up for the next book in the series.

Overall, "The Girl with the Whispering Shadow" is a must-read for fans of fantasy and magic. D.E. Night has crafted a compelling and enchanting world, and Ivy's journey will keep readers hooked until the very end.

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D. E. night has created such a unique magical world and I fell into it so easily. Right from the start, the writing itself felt magical, like there really was this world with deep ancient magic. It's hard to explain but the vibe/mood of the book was so good and believable, I could feel that it was magical. Unlike most books, the words the author created felt *right*. Scrivenist, sqwinch, scaldron, slurry fields? They all flow so nicely and feel so true. I just love to say scrivenist! I want to be one lol!

The Crowns of Croswald is so packed full of fun and magic. Although time in the book went fast, I loved that it never slowed down. Ivy is constantly learning new things, making discoveries, finding secret rooms and going places she shouldn't lol. The year goes by fast and full of adventure as she searches for answers about herself and who D. E. Night is.

For a "middle grade fantasy" it didn't feel too young at all. The characters are all 16+ and it was just a very easy read. I appreciated that nothing felt too predictable because new things are constantly happening and parts turning out unexpectedly.

Not only did I LOVE the story, but the book itself is beautiful. The cover and title page illustrations all perfectly embody the magical feel of The Crowns of Croswald. Fun and full of magic, the world feels entirely unique, believable, and is refreshing to read. There are so many different and exciting concepts I loved. I would recommend it to anyone looking to enjoy a refreshingly new magical story full of mystery and intrigue.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second book in The Crowns of Croswald series, and follows Ivy after she discovers she is a descendant of the queenly bloodline and the Dark Queen is after her. The Dark Queen is searching for the magical stone Ivy has been entrusted with. Ivy has to find the remaining pieces of the stone, so she can use them in the future, all while keeping the stone and herself safe from the Dark Queen. Ivy must stay in Bezelbuthe, a secret, hidden town as she cannot return to the school she misses so much.

I really love the setting of these books. The world is similar to the Harry Potter series in some ways, but I find it far more whimsical and magical in many other ways. You may read the premise of the first or second book and think, a witch who goes to a magical school? But, it is honestly so different and unique in comparison to other well known magical stories. I particularly liked the part where Fin teaches Ivy how to fish for stars! Yes, that happened! And, learning about the sport of Quogo, which I don't think I can explain well, but includes competitors battling quills with the use of their long dead owners.

Much like before, I really liked the characters in this story. Ivy herself is relatable and very fun to read, and her friends are a good bunch too. A very easy and enjoyable read!

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I would like to thank Stories Untold Press and NetGalley for sending me an ebook copy of this amazing book by D.E Night in exchange for an honest review.

Mystery, darkness, hope, magic and friendship are just a couple words that better describe the second installment in The Crowns of Croswald series. The story follows a troubled Ivy, desperate to find a place where she belongs now that she’s not allowed back in The Halls, all for the safety of everyone, including hers. But that doesn't stop her adventures as she spends countless hours exploring The Town, its otherworldly shops and fishing for wishing stars with Fyn and her new friends from the Quality Quills Club.

The characters are very charming, they have a huge sense of loyalty and protectiveness, which helps Ivy in her big discovery journey when the Dark Queen does everything in her power to deceive them in the most wicked ways.

Exploring the dangerous and secret Quogo matches was a scary and thrilling experience. Every aspect of it had me wishing I could be part of it, even if it got me in so much trouble for using stolen quills to save my home.

The highlights of this book were definitely the new and enchanting places, full of light, power and wonder but also somewhat somber and chilling, which makes them even more interesting. And seeing Ivy and Fyn´s relationship blossom even more was so heartwarming and sweet.

I wish I could say I enjoyed this book as much as I thought I would, mostly because half of it was quite slow and lacking in action, but with the beautiful descriptions and mystery, the surprising twists and turns that lead to the end were worth the wait.

If you enjoy the found family trope, mythical creatures and beasts, magic quills and some spooky things, this is definitely the book for you.

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Thank you Netgalley for the arc of this book.
I really enjoyed the magical world the author built and the main characters were interesting!
Such a fun read and fun world will recommend to my friends with kids as a fun start into the world of fantasy!

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