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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Skilled In Magic: Five on an Ancient Trail is a work of fantasy fiction penned for children by author Gemma Kirkman. Following the first adventure in the Skilled In Magic series, Five Go Into the Dark Worlds, Julian and his siblings have already faced the daunting task of finding a new home with the Professor and discovering that each of them has magical abilities. Together, they can harness the power of the Five-as-one, but only when they have mastered their own skills. An ancient key and a series of mysterious clues will lead them to their next adventure and their next test of strength – all from a flying bathtub!
Author Gemma Kirkman writes with a fantastic voice and a knowledge of the imagery and action that a middle-grade reading audience are certain to be absolutely delighted by. The dialogue between the Delliks children is warm and witty, with great distinctive personalities and clear individual development given to the whole team of characters. Little Enid was a particular favorite of mine, as I’m sure she will be to many! The descriptive techniques used for the mysterious goings-on, the lavish magical settings and the various clues which are placed give lots of cinematic and easy to imagine moments for the readership, which really lights up quite a dangerous world of mad adventures and allows children (and indeed adults) to be whisked away as if in a dream. Overall, Skilled In Magic: Five on an Ancient Trail is a recommended fantasy read for all MG readers.