4 out of 4 stars
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Silent Lee and the Oxford Adventure is a middle-grade, fantasy novel for young fans of the Harry Potter series. It is the second in the Silent Lee series by Alex Hiam. The book is set in a magical world where “side doors” can lead to other worlds and times. Silent Lee (Sie) and her male friend, Raahi, both attend schools in one of the “side door” worlds, learning to hone their magic at separate magical academies.
Unfortunately, some people have learned of their “side door” connections and are targeting them. The friends find themselves in hot water when enemies of an unknown origin attack them and their Boston-based “side doors.” After a narrow escape, they find themselves at Oxford University with some mysteries to solve. Who is attacking them? Why did they kidnap Sie’s aunt and Raahi’s mother? How will the duo save their loved ones? And what do the giant, alien bees have to do with this?
This book was a great read. The plot flowed well right from the start with only a little downtime between events. There was a brief pause in the middle, but it didn’t detract from the overall story. Despite the fast pace, the author still found the time to explain the mechanics of this magical world, without having to resort to long explanations. While there were a few details that the reader might miss from starting with the second book rather than the first, those appear to be minor. The only missing elements may pertain to the series's overarching mystery of Sie’s parentage.
I had many favorite parts of this book. In particular, there were few characters that I disliked. Sie is a powerhouse of magic, while Raahi is equally useful as a fountain of knowledge. Despite having less magical training, he manages to hold his own throughout the book and provides key information to match Sie’s more physical prowess. I would’ve liked to see more of Sie’s aunt, who was kidnapped early on though. From what I gather, she also disappeared during the first book, so I’m hoping future books will bring her back into the story.
The only negative part for me was that the plot briefly paused for a time in the middle. There was a very decisive moment that seemed like a climax in the middle of the text. After that, it slowed as if concluding, which left me wondering where the story was going from there. This only lasted for half a chapter though, and then the plot picked back up. Also, as a side note, people who aren’t fans of puns might not appreciate hearing about Silent’s relatives!
This book was exceptionally well edited with only 1 typo. I thoroughly enjoyed this book for what it is, a middle grade, fantasy, adventure story. I recommend that any fans of Harry Potter give this series a try. Due to the great storytelling and solid world-building, especially for a second book, I give Silent Lee and the Oxford Adventure by Alex Hiam 4 out of 4 stars.
Silent Lee and the Oxford Adventure
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