I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Firstly, this is one of the plot points that I particularly liked.
The people in this kingdom have never seen a tree. And so they don’t know about apples, cherries, walnuts, or maple syrup.
This never ceased to amuse me. I enjoyed the characters’ reactions to the giant plants. The kingdom’s lack of trees was actually one of the main problems of the book; It had never occurred to me how important trees really were, especially in the areas near bodies of water.
This plot point was very original in the way that it was done; not to mention the originality in the way that the main characters were able to have the trees return to the kingdom from which they had, essentially, been banned.
I loved the world that the author created; it was so easy to get sucked into this novel. I found myself completely oblivious to the world outside me, only wondering what would be happening next, and how each problem would be solved.
The characters. Oh the characters were such fun! There was the tomboy Bee, our main character, who lives up to her name; she’s got a bit of a sting. She amused me, and I loved her ability to (view spoiler) I was interested to see how this ability was used throughout the book; it was useful at times that I would never have expected, and the other characters’ reactions when they found out that she had used her ability on them were also quite funny.
Then there was Wil the Blacksmith who would rather be a gardener than a blacksmith, Princess Anika who reads the dictionary in her spare time, the fatherly Master Bouts who is the baker who takes Bee in as his apprentice, the evil mage Master Joris with his … strange collections, a pretty dang awesome pirate captain named Zafira Zay (A woman, no less!), and lastly there was the hedge wizard Bartholomew.
Bartholomew doesn’t actually enter the story until a little over half way through. Bartholomew is a hedge wizard, meaning that though he does have magic, he isn’t nearly as powerful as a mage and can only control one little part of the world. For example, another hedge wizard in the book had power over bees.
There is a plot twist regarding Bartholomew. When I found out what this plot twist was, it made me smile. I really liked the character development it prompted in Bee.
From characters getting rescued by a pirate ship, to instructing trees to paddle an island around, to unintentionally starting an argument between a bunch of old, retired mages, this book is full of fun twists, turns, and events. Among all its fun, however, it has a lot of heart and leaves you feeling warm and happy.
I give this the highest possible recommendation.