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Ghosts and Exiles

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Tilda Gray hates Spellhaven, the city where her husband was born, even though she has never set foot in the place, and she does not believe in the magic it's supposed to have held. Now her husband is dead, she would rather avoid any mention of the city. But her sons, Nicholas and James, have befriended Hugo, a young boy threatened by forces none of them understand. When Hugo's uncle and guardian, Stephen Cole, visits the Gray family to ask for help, Tilda agrees against her better judgement. Between them, as they search for ways to banish or at least help Hugo cope with the ghosts that are driving him mad, they seek out the dubious aid of the exiles from Spellhaven. In doing so they must face new dangers and unknown magic, unlike anything Tilda could have ever believed possible.

300 pages, ebook

Published April 17, 2018

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Sandra Unerman

13 books1 follower

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Profile Image for Tonja Drecker.
Author 3 books185 followers
June 2, 2018
I did read the first book in the series, Spellhaven, and although Ghosts and Exiles weaves around mostly new characters, it would be advisable to start at the beginning of the series to understand the background information.

Hugo is a boy, who has an odd problem. He sees and hears ghosts. Lots of them. When his uncle approaches the mother of his best friends to try to figure out what is going on with Hugo, the mother, Tilda, wants nothing to do with. Her deceased husband was from Spellhaven, something she wants nothing to know about. But when one of her own sons claims to sense ghosts, and her other one is kidnapped and place inside a glass ball, she can no longer ignore everything her husband tried to tell her.

This is a lovely following story to Spellhaven. While the first book takes place on a magical island, this one digs its feet into a very normal, past London. The author does a fantastic job of building into the magic slowly, allowing the real world to stand fairly firm while the fantastical elements mount.

Tilda stands at the center of the mystery as she tries to figure out what is happening with her son and the identity behind a man, who is determined to capture the boy. She's uptight at first and sharp on the edges, but as the story unfolds, she softens. Still, this isn't only a story about her. The point of view switches between several characters, allowing even the boys a large time in the spotlight. In many ways, this isn't only a tale for adults but also leans toward the upper middle grade level, at times. The boys are a handful and lots of fun, although the tension around them is constantly high thanks to the evil man they have to deal with. It was a joy to follow them.

While magic and fantasy build, the world also holds a nice, historical feel, and it makes for a lovely mix. When the spirits appear, it doesn't come across as odd. But much of that has to also do with Tilda's own reactions. She takes everything pretty much in stride, although she fights against disbelief too. The story and the fantastical aspects mount along with the tension, insuring that there's never a boring moment. There are still some stumbles in the magical logic, but nothing serious. And the reactions of the exiles are not sometimes hard to understand, but it's still an engaging read which holds until the last page.

In many ways, I enjoyed this book more than even the first and can highly recommend it to magic fans who love a historical setting.

I won a copy through Library Thing and am leaving my honest thoughts and opinions.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,305 reviews27 followers
June 16, 2018
Hugo is being tormented by ghosts. They are the ghosts he summoned himself in hopes they would befriend him and keep him company at his boarding school. However, the ghosts have done anything but, causing Hugo to become even more of an outcast and act out. Hugo's uncle, Stephen has become concerned about him and has turned to the mother of the two boys who have seemed to befriend Hugo at school. Tilda Gray and her boys, Nicholas and James seem to understand Hugo's problem more than Stephen can comprehend. Tilda Gray's husband came from the land of Spellhaven where magic was used regularly, a gift from the spirits and unseen inhabitants of the land. However, Spellhaven is no more. The spirits are now free and there are those who would like to use their powers again. When Hugo's ghosts attract the attention of a Spellhaven native who is using the spirits for evil. the boys, the Gray's and Stephen get pulled into the world of the Spellhaven natives, the Exiles club and the Unseen spirits that still roam then land.

I did not realize that this was a second book in a series and I think it would have helped me a lot to read the first book, however I was still able to understand everything. I was pulled in by Hugo's ghost problem, although it is Tilda who pulls everything together for me. Her nature was sweet and surprising considering the danger her children were in. I enjoyed the fantasy elements with the ghosts and the spirits, especially Tilda's interactions with Thistlebeard. I did get confused for a few parts in the middle especially with Lyulf, but was able to pick things back up. Part of the suspense was not knowing who to trust throughout the story, although I'm still not sure about a few characters. Overall, Ghosts and Exiles is a good combination of suspense and fantasy for young adult to adult readers.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Laura.
3,187 reviews318 followers
May 18, 2018
A time and place no one will talk about. A lost civilization and way of life. Magic that the survivors will deny.
This is a spell binding tale of building a new world when their old one is destroyed. Yet the magic will not be left behind. It is a coming of age story and a tale of friendship and strength. There is a mystery to be solved. Those who have clues are unwilling to give them up.

I was entrigued yet a little lost at first. I enjoyed the language and the cryptic hints. There was enough there to pull me into a strange tale and wonder why Hugo is the one being plagued.

Disbelievers must open their minds and accept as truth that which can not be denied.
I was seriously worried at various points throughout the book!

Clean fantasy for ages twelve and up.
Profile Image for Tanya.
882 reviews14 followers
September 6, 2021
‘Whatever happened on the island, there is no magic here, in twentieth century London.’
‘There was for a while,’ Rowan said and Tilda’s heart sank. [loc. 188]

A generation after the fall of Spellhaven (see Spellhaven for details), the refugees from that realm, and their English families, are still coming to terms with a very different world. Tilda Gray is the widow of a man from Spellhaven: she admits that if she had really listened to Alick's stories, really believed in the magic, she would never have married him. She doesn't give much credence to the stories her sister-in-law, Rowan, tells her, and she doesn't believe that her sons' schoolmate Hugo is haunted by actual ghosts. When Hugo's guardian, his uncle Stephen Cole, asks for help, though, Tilda agrees to do what she can. Unfortunately, this means seeking out Spellhaven's exiles, and discovering that Spellhaven wasn't the only place where spirits dwelt.

I didn't enjoy this as much as Spellhaven, perhaps because it's wholly set in the mundane world -- though 'mundane' may be the wrong word, since there is plenty of magic spilt over from the lost realm, and some intrinsincally English magic too. I wasn't wholly convinced by Hugo's sketchy account of how he acquired his ghosts (‘It was in a book. A grown-up book about primitive tribes. I didn’t think it would work nowadays, though.’) or by Tilda's stubborn refusal, in the face of mounting evidence, to believe that her husband's family came from a magical realm. The novel switches between Tilda's story and that of the three boys -- the latter narrative reminded me, at times, of Diana Wynne Jones -- which I sometimes found frustrating: Tilda's story has a very different ambience to the boys' adventures.

Ghosts and Exiles felt ... shimmery, allusive: the magical elements were seldom clearly seen, perhaps because we were experiencing them through Tilda's perspective. I liked the sense that a whole new story was beginning, a story about Nick (the elder son, his father's heir) and about Stephen and Tilda, and about how Hugo finds shelter. Would be happy to read more set in this world ...

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews

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