Review: The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars, Jaclyn Moriarty

October 25, 2018 Reviews 1 ★★★★★

Review: The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars, Jaclyn MoriartyThe Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars by Jaclyn Moriarty
Series: A Kingdoms and Empires Book #2
Published by Allen & Unwin Children's on November 1, 2018
Genres: Adventure, Children's Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Amazon • Book Depository

The town of Spindrift is frequented by pirates, Shadow Mages and charlatans. It's also home to the Orphanage School, where Finlay lives with Glim, Taya and Eli. Just outside town is the painfully posh Brathelthwaite Boarding School, home to Honey Bee, Hamish and Victor, Duke of Ainsley. When the two schools compete at the Spindrift Tournament, stakes are high, tensions are higher, and some people are out to win at any cost. Before long, the orphans and the boarding school are in an all-out war.

And then Whispering Wars break out, and Spindrift is thrust onto the front lines. Children are being stolen, Witches, Sirens and a deadly magical flu invade the town, and all attempts to fight back are met with defeat.

Finlay, Honey Bee and their friends must join forces to outwit the encroaching forces of darkness, rescue the stolen children, and turn the tide of the war. But how can one bickering troupe outwit the insidious power of the Whisperers? And who are the two mysterious figures watching them from the shadows?

From the award-winning Jaclyn Moriarty comes a spellbinding tale of unlikely friendship, unexpected magic and competitive athletics.


I was taken by Whisperers at 2pm, so I never pulled the lever for the laundry chute.
That’s what bothered me most.
This is way ahead in the story, though. A lot happened before that.

Jaclyn Moriarty delivers again with another whimsical adventure set in the world of Kingdoms and Empires. While it could be enjoyed as a standalone novel, this is best read after finishing its predecessor due to a smattering of cameos and events that featured in the first book.

Set at the beginning of the Whispering Wars in the town of Spindrift, the story alternates between two protagonists, Finlay and Honey Bee. These children are from two rival schools – the Orphanage School (Finlay) and Brathelthwaite Boarding School (Honey Bee) and all out war begins between them at the shocking conclusion of the Spindrift Tournament.

Strange things start happening in Spindrift and the greater world of Kingdoms and Empires [K&E], which include children vanishing and a terrible flu that is infecting townspeople and princes alike.  When it is discovered that the Whispering Kingdom is responsible for all the terrible events that occur, war is soon declared. The K&E Forces move into town as lots of important people say it’s in a “very strategic location for both sides”. Brathelthwaite Boarding School soon hosts secret intelligence personnel who can be found mysteriously chanting and making odd suggestions about toenails and full moons. The novelty of war quickly wears off and the children find themselves putting aside their war of pranks and socioeconomic disparities to join forces and rescue the stolen children.

Like all of Jacyln’s previous novels the writing is lyrical, quirky and keeps the reader completely engaged. The banter between Finlay and Honey Bee plays out in a delightful conversational style  and both of these characters are just full of gusto and life.

While adventurous and fun this story does touch on more profound topics of war, prejudice and fear, and it shows how this trifecta can often bring out the worst in people. Due to the fantastical setting, lighthearted prose and chocolate shop owning witches this is a wonderful introduction for middle grade children to get a small taste in complex global issues of race, refugees and ethics.

This novel was simply delicious and I devoured it, the same way Finlay devours twisty-pastries-with-melting-chocolate-inside for breakfast. This may be a children’s book however it is one that can be enjoyed by grownups as well, making this an excellent choice for reading out loud to the kids. The hard part for adults and children alike will be not sneaking in extra chapters before the next bedtime!

A Kingdom and Empires Book


Email | Goodreads | | Twitter | Instagram Philippa lives in Brisbane, Australia with her partner and two daughters. She is an avid reader and reviewer of Young Adult literature as well as being a student midwife, closet geek, procrastibaker and coffee addict.

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