The Serpent's Spell

Children - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 02/11/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Serpent's Spell is a work of fiction in the fantasy, adventure, and action subgenres, and is the opening novel in the MiddleGate series. It is intended for middle-grade and young adult readers to enjoy, penned by author Rae St. Clair Bridgman and narrated in this audiobook version by Larissa Thompson. Readers are invited to follow the journey of Wil Wychwood, a ten-year-old whose life is upended by a suspicious fire. Left with only a snake named Esme, a mysterious black medallion, and a gold ring, Wil discovers a magical portal leading to the hidden city of MiddleGate. There, he uncovers family secrets and becomes embroiled in a case of serpicide in the ancient caves of Narcisse. Alongside his cousin Sophie, Wil must harness the power of shadows to unravel the mystery of the medallion and save the snakes.

Author Rae St. Clair Bridgman has crafted a superb opening to an enthralling fantasy series where adventure waits around every corner. I found the character development to be a particular triumph of the work, crafting in both Sophie and Wil some very endearing figures whom young readers can look up to, but also relate to for their vulnerabilities and uncertainty in the face of tough challenges. The narrative is highly descriptive, with gorgeous imagery and clever wordplay to bring the action to life in a fully multisensory fashion.

Listening to Larissa Thompson's narration was a delightful experience that enhanced the magical and adventurous atmosphere of the story. Thompson's expressive delivery brings the characters to life, and her ability to capture distinctive voices and make it clear who’s speaking is a great asset for the target audience. Bridgman's intricate storytelling and Thompson's narration come together beautifully to weave a captivating tale that transports the audience into the enchanting realms of MiddleGate, and I cannot wait to hear more. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend The Serpent's Spell to the young and young at heart who love compelling and endearing fantasy fiction.