Summary: Fifteen year-old Melantha Caldwell is caught between magical and human worlds. After her mother’s death, she lives with her grandmother, trying her best to live a normal teenage life. When the Council that oversees the magical world asks for Melantha’s help to find her mother’s killer, Melantha is left to decide if she wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and be a secret agent for the Council or not. But all is not as it seems as the adults in Melantha’s life have many secrets, and Melantha is left to piece together the truth of her parents, her status as a blood turner and the mysterious nature of the magical world, all while trying to hold on to her new boyfriend Rory.
Number of Pages: 191
Age Range: 14-16
Review: Melantha has a lot on her plate for your average fifteen year-old. Both of her parents are dead and her grandmother practically has her under lock and key to prevent her from getting hurt. Melantha comes from a long line of witches, or turners as they are called in Sara Walker’s “Catching a Sorcerer” and her sixteenth birthday means her powers will become full-fledged.
I admit I had trouble keeping up with the magical side of the book. I didn’t quite understand all of the different types of turners and the significance of magic being about to choose you. Melantha’s grandmother tries her best to keep her from making friends so they can’t be used against her, but it seems to me if Melantha had been raised more in the magical world she could have had the friends she always wanted. Because by the end of the book she has a bunch of new friends in Paul, Ethelwulf, and Rhiannon.
I couldn’t tell you what exactly a focus is, or why Gerrard could use his son’s power but only until he turned sixteen because he wasn’t a blood turner. And I don’t understand why Paul’s brother Vincent died either. I think because Paul was a blood turner and Vincent was not, but if they were twins I don’t know why they didn’t have the same kind of magic.
What I did like was Melantha’s sense of humour. From her initial comments of about a summoning spell not being an adequate cell phone substitution to being able to recognize the ridiculous elements in her adventure, I truly enjoyed her wit. Also, Paul as the cricket/guide with his snarky comments and his mysterious past wasn’t bad either.
In the end, it is Melantha’s character and her take on her experiences that carry the book. She ends up realising that while she isn’t a typical teen, she does have a lot of people who cared about her and being a witch might not be as bad as she thought it would. I wish the adults had been able to trust her more with the truth, because I thought she could have handled it. I understood her desire to live a normal life, and also why it was impossible at the same time. She is a character I would like to read more about, and I hope in Walker’s sequel that Melantha gets a boyfriend with magical powers so she doesn’t have to hide who she is.
“Maybe that’s all you wanted to do. What did he know about what I wanted? What did anyone know about what I wanted? I didn’t want this job. It was forced on me. I didn’t want magic. I was born with it. Nobody ever asked me what I wanted.
I wanted a normal life. No spell-turners. No elves. No ogres. No magic. A normal life with normal friends. I wanted a best friend. I wanted a boyfriend. I didn’t want to worry about what I could and couldn’t say to them. I didn’t want magic to ruin my friendships.
What did they know about what I wanted?” Melantha from Catching a Sorcerer by Sara Walker, page 95
“Gardening was never a pastime of my mother’s. She preferred reading to most everything. My father’s time in the outdoors amounted to little more than cutting the grass every week. So to be here, up against a gnome wielding a pickaxe in one hand and ball-peen hammer in the other, with only a shovel and electrical cord in defence, was an entirely new experience for me.” – Melantha from Catching a Sorcerer by Sara Walker, page 166