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Warning: This review contains spoilers for Changeling by Philippa Gregory.

Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Stunning historical story is even better than the first in this series. Massively recommended. Philippa Gregory popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0857077349

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Luca Vero, his servant Frieze, and his clerk Brother Peter are investigating signs of the end of the world. Accompanied by Lady Isolde and her servant Ishraq, they arrive in Piccolo just before the mysterious Johann, a young body claiming to be called by God. He's followed by a horde of children who he's leading on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Even though his grandiose claims that the sea will part for them would seem absurd if anyone else said so, he's so charismatic that Luca and Isolde believe him - could he really be chosen by God? Or is he leading the children, and Luca and Isolde, into tragedy?

I loved Changeling because of the strength of the core quartet of characters, and their relationships, but if anything this is even better in that regard. Ishraq and Isolde's friendship suffers a couple of blows, while the romance which started in book one gets hotter here - despite the social customs of the time meaning it's moving at a very slow pace, that doesn't stop it from being seriously intense. Also, the character development - particularly Ishraq's - is very good.

There's also more excitement in this one than the first book, with one nearly unbearably tense scene which left me biting my nails, and a couple of others not far behind. As you'd expect from an author as widely praised as Gregory, she brings the time period to life vividly, and I felt like I was being transported back to medieval Europe as I read the novel. The pacing is also an improvement from the first book, in which my only criticism was that the climax seemed rushed - here, there's more for readers to get their teeth into.

I really enjoyed this one and am desperate to get my hands on the third book in the series. A strong recommendation for all!

For more historical fiction for teens, Sigrun's Secret by Marie-Louise Jensen is well worth reading.

You can buy this book as part of a bindup.

Bookinterviews.jpg Philippa Gregory was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

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