This is what Kirkus Review has to say about Magnolia in Ilium:
A girl and her friends band together to save their magical world from destruction in this fantasy for middle schoolers. In the realm of Faraway, Magnolia is a 12-year-old girl with a prodigious gift for magic and a penchant for hoop skirts and crinolines. She is dismayed when her magician parents decide to send her to Gryndells, a boarding school in the great city of Ilium, to hone her powers. She hates leaving her parents’ steam-powered showboat, which transports magicians up and down the Mississippi, and her social circle of sprites, centaurs, talking trees, and catfish the size of city buses. After her arrival at Gryndells, five students disappear, and Magnolia discovers—with the help of one of the school’s ghosts—that something is very wrong in Faraway. Joined by three fellow students and Joe, her anxious parrot familiar, the determined Magnolia sets out to find the missing kids. Plotted with unforced humor and a dash of horror, Jenkinson’s richly textured fantasy involves astral projection, transport portals, evil Imps, giant ogres, a mystical forest with a mind of its own, and stolen dragon teeth with the potential to destroy the entire world of Faraway. The book’s pleasures, in addition to the well-realized characters, are many. They include references to fairy tales and fantasy literature woven throughout the narrative. In addition to Harry Potter tributes (confusing staircases, sentient books, eccentric professors) there are a mini–Mad Hatter, size-altering potions, quarreling twins (faces on a spinning coin), mentions of hobbits, a powerful magic ring, ceramic Oz figurines, guards in emerald green uniforms, and a witch’s feline familiar named Paiwacket, inspired by Pyewacket in the play/film Bell, Book and Candle. But at its heart, this first installment of a series is a buddy story (and the pals include Joe and Paiwacket), as Magnolia and her companions bond, working together to try to prevent the Imps’ horrific plans for Faraway. A witty, well-conceived, entertaining fantasy featuring a memorable young heroine and genuine chills.
Book one of the Magnolia series is now available
in ebook and paperback at Amazon.com. and can be ordered direct through
©cover art by D.L.Jenkinson
A novel by D.L.Jenkinson
In a parallel universe built on remnants of the human imagination, magic is afoot.
It is a land called Faraway, where things that are imagined become all too real, and where fairy tales come to life.
But Faraway is out of balance, and a daunting task lays ahead for people who have been kidnapped from the domain of men and women and brought here - when they discover what they must do to save themselves and return home again.
Join a large cast of delightful, iconic characters on a madcap adventure that will stir your imagination and carry you off into the very special land of Faraway.
A classic tale that you'll never forget.
Available in ebook only at Amazon.com
©cover art by D.L.Jenkinson
Reviews for Magnolia in Ilium
note: if you'd like your review posted here, contact me at STLdjenkinson@gmail.com and I'll add it. I will not post your last name (for privacy reasons) unless you direct me otherwise. Thank you!
Magnolia Bannister is about as unhappy as a 12-year-old magician can be. She loves her life on the magical steamboat, Theodora, traveling up and down the Mississippi in the kingdom of Faraway. Her friends are her parrot, River Joe; the giant catfish that inhabit the river; and a host of other magical animals and creatures that inhabit the forest of Ardararia. And so she is devastated to learn her parents have enrolled her at Gryndells, a boarding school for magician children, without her knowledge. Reluctantly she agrees to go. Her interest increases after a 300 year old magician foresees a life full of adventure for her and gives her a special ring. Brimming with curiosity she begins a new chapter in her life. A chapter which will bring her new friends, challenge her abilities, and ultimately force her and her friends on an incredible and frightening journey to save Ilium. Magnolia in Ilium is an enjoyable read. It grabbed my attention with an exciting story line and intriguing characters. Independent, tough, and smart, with a taste for outrageous fashion statements, Magnolia is a character who lives in my memory. Hopefully there will be more of her adventures to come.
Kathleen H. - Little Rock, Arkansas
Magnolia is a wonderful, conflicted character who I fell in love with. She's forced to attend a school in Ilium when all she wants out of life is to become an actress and singer on her parent's steamboat (which has a theater). Ilium is out of this world and Gryndells is very similar to Hogwarts but 'different.' The characters and action in this book jump off the page and the story gets so mysterious and exciting that it's hard to put the book down. I did not want it to end. I hope the author writes more of these books. A series?
Anonymous 5 star review on Barnes and Noble
Prepare yourself for an enchanting, provocative, and highly imaginative tale that you'll wish would never end. The characters are fun and dynamic, the story is exciting and mysterious, and the ending is absolutely wonderful. It's my understanding that the author is working on a series involving the same characters and school (Gryndells) and I can't wait for the next installment to arrive. Finally, there is something new and exciting in the market place.
Chris S. - San Francisco, California
I grew up loving Harry Potter and reading all kinds of fantasy books. I also enjoy female heroines, so when I saw this book, I knew I wanted to check it out. I loved every bit of it and can't wait for the next one to come out!
Anonymous 5 star review on Barnes&Noble
Magnolia in Ilium and Faraway are currently available at these locations:
ebook and paperback available at Amazon