Seven Wherewithal Way: Bk 1


Publication Date: 28 Sep. 2021
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781922419224

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    Ferdinand fell out of the sky on the hottest day of the year, while Celeste and Esmerelda Barden were on the front porch eating ice-cream.

    Celeste is having the worst summer ever. Her parents are off on an adventure and she’s stuck at Gran’s house with her annoying little sister, Esme, and strict instructions to be responsible. Or, as Esme says, boring. So when their eccentric cousin Ferd crash-lands a flying bus in the yard, what choice does Celeste have but to follow Ferd back home to Seven Wherewithal Way?

    Wherewithal—Ferd’s house, and the gateway to the many Realms unreachable from Earth—is bursting with magic and mystery and otherworldly creatures. It’s Celeste’s favourite place in any world. But when something tries to break in through the portal in the pantry—the door to the mystical Realm of Forests—Celeste learns that both Wherewithal and her beloved cousin are under threat. If Celeste wants to save her cousin, their home, its inhabitants and possibly even all the Realms, she is going to have to find her adventurous side. Fast.

    Full of heart-in-your-mouth action, unforgettable characters and folklore-inspired magic that feels both fresh and familiar, Seven Wherewithal Way is the unputdownable first book in an epic portal fantasy series.

    Information

    Book Type:
    Age Group: 10 years +
    Traffic Lights: Amber
    Class Novel: No
    Good Reads Rating: 5/5
    Literary Rating: 5/5

    Review

    While their parents are on holiday, Celeste and her younger sister Esme are staying at their grandmother’s house. Neither of them are having a good time: Esme yearns for adventure and excitement, while Celeste has been asked to keep her safe. Esme thinks Celeste is boring, and Celeste is worried she’s right.

    When their mysterious cousin Ferdinand crash-lands in their garden and asks if they’d like to go to Seven Wherewithal Way—a house that acts as a gateway between realms—Esme and Celeste agree. They’re immediately drawn into turmoil. Ferdinand goes with Logan to the Realm of Forests and is kidnapped by poleviks—people made of straw. Esme, Celeste, and Logan decide to make the dangerous journey to recover Ferdinand. Celeste may have been called a bore in the past, but she’s integral to the rescue mission.

    Times only grow more dangerous from there. Ferdinand (who is referred to by they/them pronouns), Celeste, Esme, and Logan venture out on the trail of the Leshy, an ancient tree who once knew Ferd’s mentor the Green Man. The Leshy is on the run, and a mysterious message indicates that he may be in danger—and that Wherewithal is in danger too. They’re being pursued by the Baba Yaga, who has enlisted the help of rusalki and a vodyanoi to get her hands on a Hagstone.

    Across multiple realms, facing off against creatures from folklore around the human world, Celeste begins to prove her mettle as an adventurer. But the more time they spend with Ferd, the more questions go unanswered: how are they related to Ferd? Does Ferd really have their best interests at heart? Is Ferd even human anymore?

    In a heart-racing final showdown, the Baba Yaga wrestles for possession of the Hagstone with Celeste. She gets it, but the Leshy is able to thwart her in his final moments before passing away. The Leshy has sent sprouts across the realms, and he will be remembered.

    When Celeste and Esme return home this time, they know another adventure is in their future—but who knows when or where!

    A high-octane adventure full of witty banter, larger-than-life characters, folkloric creatures, and mystery. Percy Jackson meets Nevermoor as our intrepid heroes travel through wondrous worlds, encounter mythical creatures, and use all their willpower and knowledge to foil evil plots. There are hints to a greater overarching story, as a sinister statue of Pan in Wherewithal talks to Celeste, and it’s unclear what his end goal may be. Based on this excellent read, this series is definitely one to watch for!

    Themes

    folklore, fairy tales, mythology, adventure, action, rescue, chase, feuds, mystery, other worlds, portals, fantasy, coming-of-age

    Content Notes

    1. Elements from myths, folk tales, and fairy tales appear throughout. Some of these are invented for the book, including “hagstone spirits”, the result of someone’s body being separated from their mind in a portal. Some are from myths and legends, for example rusalki—spirits of women killed by men—from Slavic folklore. 2. Celeste slaps Logan to break the rusalka’s hold over him—similar to a siren or mermaid (p. 244). 3. The Domovoy smokes tobacco from a pipe (p. 273). 4. Celeste and Logan are implied to be crushing on one another, but they never discuss it.