The stolen prince of Cloudburst

Jaclyn Moriarty

Book - 2021

Esther, an ordinary middle child, returns to school after a quiet summer to discover that her friends haven't returned and the mountains surrounding the school, usually alive with Faeries, have become dark and threatening with Shadow Mages, and it's up to Esther to do something extraordinary.

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Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Novels
Published
Montclair : Levine Querido 2021.
Language
English
Item Description
"Originally published by Allen & Unwin as The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst in September 2020"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
434 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781646140763
1646140761
Main Author
Jaclyn Moriarty (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* This third volume in the Kingdoms and Empires universe (begun with The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone, 2018) takes place a generation after The Whispering Wars (2019), as Esther Mettlestone-Staranise begins grade six at Katherine Valley Boarding School (for a non-magical education within a very magical world). Esther, an accomplished eavesdropper, pens her own story, often—delightfully—breaking the fourth wall as she contends with an escalating series of troubles: the sudden absence of her best friends, the threat of Shadow Mages encroaching on school, the most repugnant teacher since Dolores Umbridge, and a shrinking sense of self-worth. Quick chapters (more than 150 of them!) and punchy prose will bind readers to the page as Esther's day-to-day school life gradually expands into a fairly epic, high-stakes climax, the smattering of little mysteries—embedded early on—growing from trifles into significant puzzle pieces. Moriarty brilliantly fits it all together and, as usual, 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 moments 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. Grades 4-8. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

When Esther Mettlestone-Staranise—an unexceptional child from an exceptional family—returns to Katherine Valley Boarding School after summer break, she's distraught to learn that her two best friends have transferred elsewhere. What's more, the normally peaceful mountains surrounding the academy now teem with malevolent Shadow Mages, and sixth grade teacher Mrs. Pollock is a mean-spirited old lady who grades her harshly. Esther's initial strategy is to keep her head down and muddle through, but then illness sidelines the undercover Spellbinder tasked with protecting the campus. None of her teachers or fellow students knows, and Esther has been sworn to secrecy, so "ordinary" Esther resolves to do whatever it takes to protect her peers until reinforcements arrive. Scant worldbuilding aside, Moriarty's standalone book, set in the Kingdoms and Empires universe, largely succeeds thanks to Esther's earnest, enthusiastic narration. The start meanders, hindering drive, but the tale crescendos to an uplifting close that promotes honesty, bravery, and self-confidence. Ages 10–14. Agents: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management, and Tara Wynne, Curtis Brown Australia. (Mar.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 3–6—"Just Esther." That's how Esther sees herself. Her younger sister, Astrid, can always tell if people are telling the truth and is a marvelous poker player, and her older sister, Imogen, is a champion swimmer. As far as Esther is concerned, she's nothing special. Even Esther's mother never seems to remember her middle child. Esther is looking forward to sixth grade at the Katherine Valley Boarding School, which she has attended for years and loves. But this year is different. Something magical is happening to the ocean; Esther's best friends, Georgia and Hsiang, haven't returned to school; her new teacher, gray-haired Mrs. Pollack, is rumored to be an ogre; Esther is having a terrible recurring nightmare; and the school is under the threat of attack by Shadow Mages. Still, Esther is determined to make the best of the school year—but no matter how hard she works, she can't seem to achieve anything higher than a C-. She will have to rise above her self-doubt in order to come into her own. 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.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Lib., Castle Rock, CO Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Esther, an ordinary middle child, returns to school after a quiet summer to discover that her friends haven't returned and the mountains surrounding the school, usually alive with Faeries, have become dark and threatening with Shadow Mages, and it's up to Esther to do something extraordinary.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Esther is a middle child, in her own mind a pale reflection of siblings who are bright, shining stars. Her mother doesn't show the slightest bit of interest, no matter what Esther does. Still, she's content to go back to school, do her best, hang out with her friends, and let others take care of things.But her best friends aren't AT school when she gets there. Why didn't they tell her they wouldn't be coming back? Why were they silent all summer? But stuff like that happens. And it's bad luck that her new teacher makes Esther the butt of all kinds of jokes. Mrs. Pollock is rumored to be an ogre'and maybe she IS one. Could be.Then things go from unfortunate to outright dangerous. The mountains surrounding the school'usually sparkling with glaciers and lakes, alive with Faeries, and sheltering a quaint town with really great bakeries'are now crowded with Shadow Mages, casting a noticeable pall, and clearly'to Esther'signifying something very dark and threatening. As the people she might have depended on to help are either strangely absent or in hiding, it's left to ordinary, middle-child Esther ("just Esther") to act. But she'll have to burst out of the box of mediocrity she's been but in, and do something absolutely extraordinary.Praise for Jaclyn Moriarty"Magically uplifting." 'the Horn Book, for The Spellbook of Listen Taylor". Moriarty [is] a genre-bending author who gracefully weaves metaphysical questions into outwardly ordinary circumstances." 'Publishers Weekly, for A Corner of White" "[A] highly entertaining and brilliantly plotted fantasy... With its storytelling aplomb, humor, imagination, and many twists and turns, this novel places Moriarty . . . firmly in Diana Wynne Jones territory."'the Horn Book, starred review for The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone"Jaclyn Moriarty makes me laugh, hysterically'and cry, unexpectedly... Startlingly original fantasy." 'E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Splendidly entertaining."—Kirkus Reviews? "A delightfully quirky story with nuance, depth, and a colorful cast of characters, this book begs for multiple readings."—School Library Journal (starred)? "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 (starred)"The tale crescendos to an uplifting close that promotes honesty, bravery, and self-confidence."—Publishers WeeklyTwelve-year-old Esther Mettlestone-Staranise loves reading books and writing stories but is troubled by low self-esteem and recurring bad dreams.When she starts the year at boarding school in earnest, she quickly notices something isn't quite right. Her two best friends are mysteriously missing. There are rumors her new teacher is secretly an actual ogre. And the scenic mountains of her quaint little town are teeming with Shadow Mages and danger.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?

Review by Publisher Summary 4

"Splendidly entertaining."—Kirkus Reviews★ "A delightfully quirky story with nuance, depth, and a colorful cast of characters, this book begs for multiple readings."—School Library Journal (starred)★ "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 (starred)"The tale crescendos to an uplifting close that promotes honesty, bravery, and self-confidence."—Publishers WeeklyTwelve-year-old Esther Mettlestone-Staranise loves reading books and writing stories but is troubled by low self-esteem and recurring bad dreams.When she starts the year at boarding school in earnest, she quickly notices something isn't quite right. Her two best friends are mysteriously missing. There are rumors her new teacher is secretly an actual ogre. And the scenic mountains of her quaint little town are teeming with Shadow Mages and danger.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?