I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Series: Rachel Griffin #1
Published by Dark Quest, LLC on September, 2013
Number of Pages: 380
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
Purchase: At Amazon
Rachel Griffin wants to know everything. As a freshman at Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts, she has been granted to opportunity to study both mundane and magical subjects.
But even her perfect recollection of every book she has ever read does not help her when she finds a strange statue in the forest—a statue of a woman with wings. Nowhere—neither in the arcane tomes of the Wise, nor in the dictionary and encyclopedia of the non-magic-using Unwary—can she find mention of such a creature.
What could it be? And why are the statue’s wings missing when she returns?
When someone tries to kill a fellow student, Rachel soon realizes that, in the same way her World of the Wise hides from mundane folk, there is another, more secret world hiding from everyone—which her perfect recall allows her to remember. Her need to know everything drives her to investigate.
Rushing forward where others fear to tread, Rachel finds herself beset by wraiths, magical pranks, homework, a Raven said to bring the doom of worlds, love’s first blush, and at least one fire-breathing teacher.
Curiosity might kill a cat, but nothing stops Rachel Griffin!
This book reminded me both of Harry Potter, as well as Narnia, and RPG’s. Each of the main characters had one specific talent that they were really good at. For Rachel, it is an eidetic memory. She can remember everything she has ever heard, read, or seen, and can also play it back to herself to see things she didn’t notice at the time as long as it was in her vision (peripheral or otherwise.)
Princess Nastasia is more fixated on authority than Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter books ever was. A teacher says not to do something? She won’t do it, and reprimands her friends if they step even one eyelash out of line. A teacher asks her to betray a friends trust and tell her something that friend refused to? She tells them. She is a very unbending character, does not understand how in some circumstances it is a good idea to bend the rules slightly.
Siegfried is the epitome of a young boy who likes nothing better than to fight and blow things up. He is a hero for killing a dragon, and wishes to be a knight like in the days of King Arthur and his knights.
I really liked this book, it has all the best bits a favorite book should have. It made me giggle, at times laugh out loud, at others I found myself yelling (out loud!) at the characters. There were really only a few points that I had issues with. The first one is that for a young adult book, there are occasionally words that I have never heard of in the story. I’m in my mid-30’s, have been reading since I was a small child, and still had no idea what some things meant. Even my father who is 30 years older than I am, and is where I got my love of reading, had never heard of these words. Things like “horripilation” which upon going to Google, apparently is another way to say that the hair rose on the back of someone’s neck. I’m all for learning new words, but really?
The other thing that slightly bothered me, was Rachel’s cat. It is explained in the book that he was a ‘throw back’, and had no magical inclinations at all. But she was really attached to him and insisted on taking him to school as her familiar even so. And then for a bit he’s mentioned when she needs him for class but he has decided to hide in a hole in her room and not come out. And once he was sleeping on her bed when she awoke. But the other kids familiars seemed to play a more visible role. They were talked about often, even the ones who weren’t central to the plot. It just seemed odd to me that the main character’s familiar came across almost as an after-thought.
Oh, and we never do learn anything about the statue. Hopefully it will be in the next book in the series. But having it in the book description blurb, made me think it would play more of a role instead of just 2 appearances and no idea what it is or why the wings have vanished.
For all that, I did really enjoy this book. Rachel was fun and interesting to read about. The small thread of romance that appeared towards the end of the book was believable, and I’d like to see what kind of adventures she gets up to in the next book. The story takes place over the course of only 5 days, and the amount of mischief she manages to get into was amazing but also believably written. I will be picking up the next book in this series, and I highly recommend you do the same.