AUTHOR: Judith Rossell
SERIES: A Stella Montgomery Intrigue
PUBLISHER: ABC Books
RELEASE DATE: November, 2014 & October, 2016
GENRE: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction; Victorian Mystery; Fantasy
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Orphan and adventurer-at-heart, Stella is tragically misunderstood by her three horrible aunts. When a mysterious villain brings death and destruction to the Hotel Majestic, Stella is flung headfirst into a perilous adventure that makes her question everything she thought she knew about magic and her past.
I believe this series gets stronger as it progresses! From the first pages of Withering-By-Sea, I surrendered to the heady atmosphere of the Victorian era. I love that there is a fantasy element, but it’s subtle enough that the historical setting is the shining feature. All the fantasy touches are so creative and original, which I appreciated since so many books simply reimagine the same old tropes over and over. As I await the third and final installation of the series, I have so many questions I need answered.
Two things got on my nerves, however. Firstly, I noticed that Judith Rossell repeatedly uses short sentences without much variation. This made both books feel like they had a young reading age, that contradicted the vocabulary she uses. Secondly, we get very little insight into what goes through Stella’s mind. Even after reading two books, I feel like I hardly know what makes her point of view unique. That said, the series so far is entertaining and fascinating.