Kelcie Murphy and the Hunt for the Heart of Danu by Erika Lewis: Complex and Engaging

Kelcie Murphy is back in another action-packed middle grade adventure, Kelcie Murphy and the Hunt for the Heart of Danu!, the second book in Erika Lewis’s magical series infused with Celtic mythology, The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts.

It’s hard having a father who’s an infamous traitor. It’s even harder having a mother who’s an omen of doom.

After a summer away, Kelcie Murphy is excited to be back at the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts. But she and her friends have barely settled in when they receive a visit from her mother―the war goddess, Nemain―with a warning of coming calamity.

The Heart of Danu, the legendary source of all light and warmth in the Lands of Summer, is going to be stolen. And only Kelcie and her mates can stop it. As they travel with the rest of the students to Summer City to take part in the glorious Ascension Ceremony, Kelcie has no time for the military parade, the lavish ball, or even to visit her father: she’s determined to protect the Heart and her new home.

But the Lands of Summer are still not a welcoming place for Kelcie. When disaster strikes, the Queen, the High Guard, and even some of her schoolmates suspect Kelcie is to blame.

As the world is plunged into darkness, Kelcie will have to decide: does she keep fighting for a place that may always see her as a traitor’s daughter, or for a future greater than the war to come.

In the second novel of Erika Lewis’ series, The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts, she has created a novel that is in some ways far better than the first book. Kelcie Murphy and the Hunt for the Heart of Danu is complex and engaging. It creates a conflict that is bigger than the first book. Kelcie is just as fun and engaging as a character but with the addition of Lexis from Winter, we learn more about the world, the conflict between Summer and Winter, and see more of the complexity of the war and its impact on different individuals in both places. We also see how the Fomorian’s are treated after the actions of Kelcie’s father. And while Kelcie once again has to try and save her world, she has to accept help from unexpected places and learn how to forgive others much as she was forgiven for her actions in the first book. 

The characters and the world are fantastic. I love that Kelcie is able to use her abilities even better in this book and you see true growth in her both as a person and as a leader. All of the characters grow but Kelcie and Lexis grow the most. Both are complex and engaging. And both are incredible characters that will appeal to middle grade readers. This fun book will keep readers on the edge of their seat but also enthrall readers because it is complex and engaging. If you like mythology, you’ll love this novel. It teaches how to work together but also how to change and grow, to accept others. And that’s a lesson all of us can use from time to time. Middle grade readers will love this sequel.

Rating: 5 out of 5 wyverns

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