Charlyn Trussell's Reviews > Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by A.J. Hartley
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Dec 31, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: adventure, bullying, fantasy, fiction, friendship, magic, school_story
Recommended for: Gr. 5 and up
Read from October 05 to 08, 2011, read count: 2

(Review of ARC) Some tragedy in his life has brought Darwen Arkwright from his home with his parents in England to life with his aunt in Atlanta, Georgia. Aunt Honoria Vanderslay is a successful businesswoman who has enrolled Darwen in Hillside Academy, a private academy for children of wealthy families. Darwen quickly learns that he doesn’t fit it with the lock-step regimen of the school and neither students nor faculty make him feel welcomed.
A chance encounter in the mall with a strange birdlike creature brought Darwen into an anachronistic mirror shop where he met the proprietor, Mr. Peregrine. Darwen takes a small mirror he received from Peregrine home and attaches it to his closet door. Once darkness comes, Darwen is able to see another world through it, a world that he is able to enter through the mirror. Moth, a fairy-like creature called a dellfey, introduces Darwen to Silbrica, the beautiful land there, a land that he truly doesn’t want to leave.
When Darwen goes back to the mirror shop to talk to the proprietor, Peregrine identifies Darwen’s ability. Darwen is a mirroculist, one who can travel between the two worlds through the mirror. And when Peregrine learns of destruction in Silbrica, he makes use of Darwen as a spy.
As Darwen becomes more and more concerned about the chaos in Silbrica, school fails to improve and Darwen doesn’t endear himself to the students or the staff. His lower-class English accent and his unfamiliarity with American games and customs make him the target of the wealthy bullies at Hillside. Two other misfits, Rich and Alexandra, are the only ones to befriend him. Rich is a bright young man who is considered “poor white trash,” and Alex is a very pushy Miss Bossy-boots. Darwen joins Rich in an archaeological dig on the school grounds that provides clues that dangerous creatures Darwen has seen in Silbrica have visited the campus site in the past. Alex intrudes into his life by wrangling an invitation for her mother and herself to his home. Once she’s there, she invites herself to his bedroom where she learns the secret of the mirror when the two tumble through it.
Soon Rich and Alex become involved in unraveling the mystery of the dark forces of Silbrica and why the Guardians of the land have not stopped the onslaught. When Mr. Peregrine, the only adult they trust, is beaten into a comatose state, the three forge the Peregrine Pact to uncover how Hillside Academy fits into the impending demise of Silbrica and the sure war that will erupt when its destructors break through into Hillside Academy and Atlanta, Georgia.
This is a beefy fantasy that fans of the genre will enjoy. Darwen is an underdog for whom readers will care. The book is a bit dark, but middle grade readers will enjoy it and hope that the Peregrine Pact goes on to more adventure in future books.
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