Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Ronald L. Smith
Publisher: Clarion Books
Haunted by the echo of “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down,” Jessamine Grace discovers her powers as a mesmerist. She is able to read the thoughts of others and communicate with the dead. This is a gift inherited from her father, who died facing the greatest necromancer to have ever lived. When this same evil rises again, Jess rallies with other powerful children to defeat the threat before London is decimated by a plague spread by rats.
The theme of discovery propels the plot of this book. Jess discovers her powers, both literal and metaphorical, allowing her to transform into a warrior. She discovers the history of her parents and family and finds new friends that open her eyes to both the wonder and the danger in the world. This theme is powerful for young readers as they can also come to realize that their world can be much bigger and contain much more magic than they ever might have realized. Each character that Jess meets likewise serves a valuable purpose to a reader; a central quality of each character grounds them and provides a framework of goodness and support for Jess as she battles against the evil threatening London.
*Contains mild violence.