Kelcie Murphy and the Hunt for the Heart of Danu (Academy for the Unbreakable Arts #2)
Published July 25, 2023
About Kelcie Murphy and the Hunt for the Heart of Danu
Kelcie Murphy is back in another action-packed middle grade adventure, Kelcie Murphy and the Hunt for the Heart of Danu, the second book in Erika Lewis’s magical series infused with Celtic mythology, The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts.
It’s hard having a father who’s an infamous traitor. It’s even harder having a mother who’s an omen of doom.
After a summer away, Kelcie Murphy is excited to be back at the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts. But she and her friends have barely settled in when they receive a visit from her mother―the war goddess, Nemain―with a warning of coming calamity.
The Heart of Danu, the legendary source of all light and warmth in the Lands of Summer, is going to be stolen. And only Kelcie and her mates can stop it. As they travel with the rest of the students to Summer City to take part in the glorious Ascension Ceremony, Kelcie has no time for the military parade, the lavish ball, or even to visit her she’s determined to protect the Heart and her new home.
But the Lands of Summer are still not a welcoming place for Kelcie. When disaster strikes, the Queen, the High Guard, and even some of her schoolmates suspect Kelcie is to blame.
As the world is plunged into darkness, Kelcie will have to does she keep fighting for a place that may always see her as a traitor’s daughter, or for a future greater than the war to come.
I’ve been curious about this book since I first heard about it earlier this year. Books about a magical school can be a lot of fun to read, so it was exciting getting to read a new one. I liked the playfulness of some of the magic elements and tricky weapons.
The story is told from two points of view. First, there’s Kelcie, who recently saved her people from a cursed eye. She returns to school for another term only to learn of a new threat to the Land of Summer. Alternately, the story follows Lexis, the leader of a warrior group from the Land of Winter, whose group is tasked with infiltrating Summer as spies.
Of course, the two sides meet and discover that not all the terrible things they’ve believed about one another are true. But with their people caught in a war without a known cause, peace seems impossible. I liked the way that Kelcie and Lexis’s relationships develop and change through the course of the story.
Though it’s a story about war, there are lots of lighthearted, cute, or silly moments between the characters. At over 400 pages, it’s a bigger book. Lots of things happen in each chapter, but some readers might find the length challenging. Fans of books about magical schools or fantasy inspired by Irish folklore will want to check this one out.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Kelcie and some other characters are white. Lexis is described as having dark brown skin and curly hair. Niall has only one hand. Many of the magical elements or lore are inspired by Irish or Welsh folklore. Two minor characters, both men, are married.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Reference to a first kiss. A boy and girl hold hands briefly.
Kelcie, Brona, and Jack are cousins on their mothers’ sides. Their mothers are sister goddesses. Most characters have the ability to perform magic.
Battle scenes and references to torture. Kelcie’s clan is required to live in a restricted area filled with dangerous monsters and experiences prejudice in the rest of the realm.
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