Bavaria in 1900. Cassie Engel gets a shock when a cherub blows into her bedroom during a storm. This is the start of a series of terrifying events but why is the cherub here? As Cassie seeks the truth, we get to explore her family including her self-obsessed opera singer mother, war-ravaged & taxidermist father and best friend Raphael amongst others. As dark forces head towards the castle, will the truth be revealed?
Fledgling was not what I expected. I don’t mean that in a bad way – I just wasn’t sure from what I’d heard what the story was about or where it might go. It’s a really captivating read with great depth to its story – as I tried to predict what would happen next, I couldn’t put this down. It’s an excellent debut from Lucy Hope: I loved the whole gothic setting and it really evoked hints of the Brothers Grimm or a Sophie Anderson magical fairytale. I certainly escaped into this world amidst some chilly nights.
There’s so much I want to say but I don’t want to say something which could spoil a twist. Why is the cherub there? Why can’t everyone see it? Why are the owls changing direction in the owlery? How is the lady in the forest important to this tale? Will Cassie get her goat back? Ok, perhaps the last question isn’t fundamental to the story but it’s certainly a nerve-wracking moment when Cassie looks up and spots something horrifying.
And that ending… wow! I was so emotional reading it and seeing how much the story was flipped on its head. Cassie’s relationships with her mother and grandma were really intriguing, fascinating parts of Fledgling and then seeing how it was resolved was astoundingly beautiful. I didn’t see something important coming!
If you’re looking for a dark, gothic adventure then Fledgling is the book for you. It has heart, magic, a dysfunctional family and friendship galore for you to enjoy!
Suggested reading age: 9+
Fledgling is written by Lucy Hope and will be published by Nosy Crow on 4th November 2021. You can preorder your copy here.