The Doomspell Trilogy: The Doomspell by Cliff Mcnish

Unlike the Harry Potter Series, you don’t have to wait for the villains to emerge. Unlike Harry Potter, they didn’t have wands or any other external “tools” that held all the magic.  The magic naturally runs within…

Cliff Mcnish opens the book with a presentation of the story’s worst nightmare, the power hungry witch named Dragwena, and describes her in full-detail. How’s that for an exciting, in-your-face-grab-your-guts-to-face-her premise? 🙂  This British author serves you the obstacles straight up, then expertly inserts how Rachel and Eric, the two magically-gifted children slowly adjust, adapt, and master the skills inherent to them in the quickest possible time to save the world.  After being abducted from their home cellar, the readers are transported to the gloomy planet of Ithrea, where children who never die but only wrinkle in age serve as slaves to this condemned witch and are waiting for centuries for their ‘child-hope’.

Dark girl she will be,

Enemies to set free,

Sing in harmony,

From sleep and dawn-bright sea,

I will arise,

And behold your childish glee.’

The two siblings are joined by new-found friends: Morpeth, a child-man,  and the prapsies who are talkative crows with baby-heads, bald and gummy-toothed. Together they support each other in one adventure after the other to release the child captives and survive the battles against Dragwena and her army of witches. Rachel is the lone warrior who matches the magical abilities of Dragwena, but Eric discovers the anti-thesis for all the magic that abound. He can kill spells, and when that spell is lost to his doing it is unrepeatable. There is a deux-ex-machina in the end in the form of Larpskendaya, a powerful wizard who condemned Dragwena from the land of witches (Ool), and imprisoned her in Ithrea.

Action-packed, vivid imagery, earnest characters. It is high fantasy, yet the heart of the novel overwhelms. It is about defending your family and friends, about the joy and the power of children’s goodness and innocence, about a future we can expect and hope for through the young. It does not sugarcoat the reality of imminent danger, even death. It is in finding courage to face evil within oneself, with another entity, and overcoming it.

This is a hefty first installment for the Doomspell Trilogy. It presents a glimpse of a plot that will uncover more characters, more worlds, more moral contexts that the children and their friends find in the next two books, The Scent of Magic, and The Wizard’s Promise.