Eva Evergreen and the Cursed Witch

Little, Brown. (Eva Evergreen: Bk. 2). Aug. 2021. 368p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316493949.
Gr 3-7–This sequel features a more confident Eva Evergreen who is beginning to come into her abilities as a witch, and feeling more sure-footed as a valued member of the magical community. Mysterious catastrophic weather events continue to plague Rivelle Realm. When evil Grand Master Grottel curses Eva’s mother and drains her of magical powers, it becomes evident that he is responsible for the disasters that are affecting town after town and the strange disappearances of Rivelle’s citizens. Grottel’s motivation and goals are murky, but Eva is determined to fight evil with kindness, and to protect Rivelle at all costs. As she seeks to restore magic to her mother, and to reunite her friends Davy and Charlotte with their parents, Eva embarks on a dangerous quest, fighting on the frontlines alongside much more experienced witches and wizards while acting as a live-map tracker as they hunt for the source of Grottel’s power. Throughout the story, Eva stands up for herself, for the community she loves, and for those too vulnerable to save themselves with her faithful and spirited flamefox Ember by her side. We see her take on the role of mentor and protector, and a clear correlation is made throughout the narrative of the link between courage, self-belief, resilience, and magical ability. Eva’s magic is only as strong as her heart, and she is most successful when she pours the love she has received from her family and friends back into her community. The narrative thread can feel plodding, especially during the first half of the story, but the plot pace picks up, and ends on a satisfying note with an action-packed resolution that indicates the series will continue. Character ethnicities are not explicitly described, though context clues in the text and artwork imply Eva is Japanese.
VERDICT Recommended for fiction collections committed to also purchasing the first book in the series.

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