Banish the gloom and journey to The Weatherlands to join Ray Grey and her friends on their second whirlwind adventure! I couldn’t have wished for a more appropriate book to read on the weekend that the UK was battered by winter storms. This story erupts with vivid world building, meteorological characters and excitement of hurricane proportions.
Ray Gray is the only Rainbow Weatherling to have lived in The Weatherlands for the last one thousand years, and is still trying to get to grips with her magnificent magical powers. In addition, she is made to feel “othered” as her magic stands out from that of the Cloud, Rain, Sun and Snow Weatherlings amongst whom she lives. The importance of her loyal friends, Snowden Everfreeze and Droplett Dewbells, the reformed Rogue Weatherling LaBlaze Delight, as well as her explosive cloud cat Nim is central to her wellbeing and self-belief; a theme which will be relatable to many young readers.
When Ray’s fledgling grasp on her magic is blamed for the disappearance of the baby cloud creatures from their puff pods, a cloud detective, Agent Nephia Weatherwart arrives on the scene. However, Ray’s suspicions are heightened when she begins to see a glowing eye symbol at the site of every cloud creature disappearance. As the City of Celestia begins to fragment, it appears that legendary Rogue Weatherling, Tornadia Twist has returned and is threatening the very existence of The Weatherlands, with ominous knock-on consequences for the weather on Earth. The future of the kingdom depends on the bravery of Ray, Snow and Droplett, ably assisted by LaBlaze. They must travel to the eye of the storm and hope that Ray can summon and master the magic of the entire tribe of Rainbow Weatherlings to break Tornadia’s dark spell. As the tension rises the reader finds the pages turning as quickly as if blown by a hurricane-force wind and then there is a powerful moment where time almost stands still. The eye of the storm! Ray’s bravery rises in relation to the threat to those whom she loves most, as well as the very future of cloud magic and the weather on Earth. This is a fantastic story of determination, bravery and friendship set in a perfectly imagined fantasy kingdom with relatable and inspirational characters, brim full of humour and action.
There are many elements which I loved; the imaginative character names, the world building complete with illustrated map, the pacing of the plot and the underlying ecological theme which is carefully threaded through the plot, just enough to spark thoughts about the causes of extreme weather. It it touches the full spectrum of emotions from Ray’s feelings of being “othered” at the opening family party; her deep feelings of gratitude for the friendship displayed by Snow and Droplett; her fear, anxiety and ultimate bravery in the face of dark magic; and the explosive relief offered by humorous situations usually centred around the antics of Nim her adored cloud cat.
I can imagine Rainbow Grey – Eye of the Storm, being hugely appealing to readers of 8+ from the moment they see the gorgeous rainbow coloured cover and the bright orange sprayed edges! Laura Ellen Anderson’s expressive and delightful illustrations appear throughout the story, sometimes as full pages, sometimes panels and sometimes just on page edges or chapter titles. I applaud this attention to design which makes the story accessible to readers of any ability, which is so wonderful for inclusivity in the classroom. I highly recommend this to every school library, Key Stage Two classroom and for anyone who wants to buy a child of 8+ a book which will which they will thoroughly enjoy reading. With the UK celebrating World Book Day, the event which promotes reading for pleasure, next week, I recommend adding Rainbow Grey – Eye of the Storm to your reading choices!
I am most grateful to Hannah Penny and Farshore for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.