Reviews of The Veil Weavers

Fern Folio

OCTOBER 8, 2014

Fourteen-year-old Josh and his seven-year-old sister Maddy have been summoned back to the magical world they discovered the previous summer. Hidden by a veil of magic from the human world, this world is filled with creatures both everyday and fantastical, all of whom are able to sense the magic around them.

The siblings learn that the tears in the veil have not healed since they destroyed the nexus ring, and that magic is leaking into their human world so quickly that their magical friends are dangerously weakened.

Travelling to the Gathering, they note with alarm how exhausted and drained of strength their otter-people friends, Greyfur and Eneirda become. At the Gathering, at which all the animals are represented, Maddy, whose ring allows her to see magic, and Josh, who can sense and at times wield it, are asked by the Keeper to find a way to repair the veil.

Knowing they need to learn more about the veil and those who created it, Josh and Maddy seek out Gronwald the troll whose long memory may offer valuable clues. They approach warily for the troll uses the tears in the veil to slip into the world of human where he searches for and steals gold to add to his treasure. Compelled by the will of the Gathering, he must answer Josh's questions about the Ancients, but cannot be prevented from trying to attack Maddy and their companions.

Aided by the crows, who have adopted Josh as one of their own, carried far by buffalo and sheltered by the otter-people, the teen and his young sister travel high into the mountains to the home of the weavers, descendants of the Ancient Ones who wove the veil. It s a difficult journey but Josh and Maddy are propelled by the same sense of urgency as their magical friends. Everywhere they meet creatures worn thin and tired as this hidden world's magic leaks away.

Josh and Maddy are welcomed by the weavers into their remote sanctuary, and marvel at their ability to weave any substance, including the mountains and the sky. Filled with hope that he has found those who can repair the veil, Josh explains their quest and is shocked and saddened to learn that they weavers cannot help him. Though their ancestors created the veil, they cannot so much as touch it.

The humans leave the mountains and return to one of the otter-people's camps. As Josh sits that night staring into the fire, overcome with worry and dread, and thinking about everything he has learned in the magical world, he conceives an audacious plan to mend the veil. It will demand all the combined resources of his friends, it may demand his life and that of his sister, but Josh knows it's the only chance they have to save the magical world from destruction.

Written by Maureen Bush, The Veil Weavers is the third book in the Veil of Magic series, and tells the exciting story of a teen and his younger sister who are summoned to a magical world of talking animals, giants, trolls and spirits because only he might be able to save it. Threatened by a powerful troll bent on foiling his efforts and frequently surrounded by creatures who view humans with suspicious and, sometimes, worse, Josh will have to risk everything. Intriguing characters, from an affectionate little crow to a buffalo who likes to sing to magical spiders and a terrifying ochre monster intent upon destroying humans, and a fast-paced plot that balanced fear and tension with moments of humour and joy, The Veil Weavers is bound to captivate young readers of fantasy from Grade 4.

FernFolio Editor

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Rona Altrows, Writer and Editor

MAY 7, 2012

Maureen's work is of a consistently high standard and every book so far has been a deeply satisfying read. At Maureen's launches the smallest children in the audience and the adults have something in common. Neither the wee ones nor the oldsters are in the "correct" demographic.

The books are, in theory, directed to kids in grades four to six or so, I think. Yet we all listen intently as Maureen reads. We do so not out of politeness, but out of interest. Excellent writing, even if it is supposedly above their level of comprehension, engages even tiny tots. And a word-loving adult who truly goes after a great read will take it in any form — a 400 page novel, a haiku, a middle-grade level kids' book like Maureen's.

Rona Altrows
Author of A Run On Hose and Key In Lock

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SPG Book Reviews

JULY 9, 2012

The Veil of Magic series, by Maureen Bush, is a great, accessible series for young fantasy readers who are ready to start reading chapter books and novels. It's set in Calgary and the Canadian Rockies where readers are given a chance to learn about and appreciate the nature all around them as they follow along on a fantastical story about friendship responsibility and bravery.

The Veil Weavers is the third book in the series. It follows a brother and sister called Josh and Maddy as they race to save a magical world that has been damaged by the misuse of power and magic. While much of this damage has been caused by the evil villain, Gronvald the troll, Josh and Maddy's friends have unknowingly contributed as well. When the damage is discovered everyone is able to learn about actions, consequences and problem solving. The book easily talks about problems like global warming, environmental concern and animal rights in a simple way that kids can understand.

Many of the warm and bright friends made by Josh and Maddy are animals that will be well known to a Canadian audience, such as crows, wolves and buffalo. Respect for these animals and their habitats is a strong theme through the book as the animals themselves explain common concerns shown in the real world. The magical world that the story inhabits shows one example of the natural habitat these animals thrive in and encourages young readers to be mindful of their impact on nature.

The author is also unafraid to break from some of the norms that come with talking animal characters. The crows, for instance, enjoy human company but aren't very good at speaking our language so they have a crow interpreter! The Veil Weavers is an exciting book with an empowering magic system, endearing characters and lots of opportunities for learning. Maureen Bush has done an excellent job of catering to the growing interest in the fantasy genre while incorporating real world problems that young readers should be aware of.

Review by Brinnameade Smith

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Prairie Fire Review of Books

September 20, 2012

The Veil Weavers by Calgary author Maureen Bush is the third book in the Veil of Magic trilogy, a fantasy series aimed at young readers aged 8 to 11. In the first two books, Josh, "almost twelve," and his sister Maddy, aged eight, obtained an unusual ring, which enabled them to pass through a magic veil into a co-existing magical world in the Rocky Mountains. The ring actually belonged to a friendly giant named Keeper who lived in Castle Mountain in Banff National Park, but it had been used by a villainous troll called Gronvald to steal gold from the human world. In doing so, Gronvald had caused tears in the veil that separated the magic world from the human one. After several adventures the children managed to return the ring to Keeper and hoped that all would be well in the kingdom.

But now, in The Veil Weavers, Keeper sends a message to the children's Calgary home via the "otter people" saying that Josh and Maddy are desperately needed back at Castle Mountain. The torn veil is not healing as expected, and magic is escaping into the human world. With it goes the strength and perhaps the very life of the magic world's inhabitants. The two children, who both have some magical powers of their own, set off to solve the problem, though they fear they may not succeed.

First they must visit the powerful and evil Gronvald, but when that fails, their only hope is to search for descendants of "the Ancient Ones" who had woven the veil long ago. Perhaps they can learn from them how to protect the magical world's creatures.

Once again Josh and Maddy must face Gronvald, as well as other creatures such as Aleena, an untrustworthy water spirit, and the frightful ochre monster, who lives in the region known as the Paint Pots (bubbling mineral springs in Kootenay National Park, adjacent to Banff.)

Children with a yen for fantasy will enjoy the Veil of Magic series. They can find the settings on a map or check out the author's Internet site, which includes a map of places the children visit.

As an adult, I am especially pleased to see a fantasy series with a Canadian setting, including such spots as Castle Mountain, Marble Canyon, and the Paint Pots. The books also include details promoting respect for wildlife and the environment.

The Veil Weavers outlines some background material, so it could be read on its own, but most young readers would probably find it easier to read the three books in order. The two previous books in the series are The Nexus Ring and Crow Boy.

Reviewed by Donna Gamache

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CM Magazine

September 28, 2012

"Get out. GET OUT!" Gronvald growled, furious.

Keeper simply pulled out the bag and poured gold coins into his huge, cupped hand

When Gronvald reached for them, Keeper closed his hand over the pile. I could see Gronvald's longing, almost as if it had its own magic, driving him to hoard gold

Gronvald hissed in frustration. "Get on with it, then. That won't buy you much time. And don't touch my gold," he snapped at Corvus, who'd straightened his ruffled feathers and was pecking at the gold again.

Keeper nodded to me.

I cleared my throat. "What can you tell us about the ancient Ones?"

 

The Veil Weavers, the third and concluding story in the Veil of Magic trilogy, is an exciting ending to a truly Canadian story that has a familiar setting and a cast of characters familiar to any Canadian child.

Josh and Maddy are two children who discovered a magic alternate reality that is set in the Rocky Mountains. They learn that this magic world is leaking into the human world as the result of tears in the fabric of the veil. In The Veil Weavers, two otter people, Greyfur and Eneida, come to the human world and act as Trick or Treaters at the home of the main characters. They have been sent by the Giant (Keeper) at Castle Mountain to bring Josh and Maddy back behind the magic veil because the magical world is in trouble. The veil that separates both worlds has terrible tears that won't repair themselves, and the Keeper believes that Josh can help them. Josh loves his magic and offers to go back. and his sister, Maddy, will come too for moral support.

The Veil Weavers succeeds so well because the two main characters are close in age to the intended readership. Josh is in grade seven and Maddy is eight-years-old, ages which make it easy for readers to relate to them and believe in the story. Furthermore, the author makes sure readers understand right from the beginning that the siblings will return home after their adventure.

Once at Castle Mountain, the pair are presented to all the wild animals that live there and are promised all the help that the animals can give. This promise will even apply to the evil troll, Gronvald, who really doesn't want to see the veil repaired. Josh figures out that, in order to repair the veil, they have to find the Ancient Ones who wove it in the first place. After several adventures and a long trip to the mountains, they find the spiders who made the veil and arrange to have it rewoven and the tears joined, thereby saving the magical animals and keeping their world safe from humans.

While this animal fantasy has a setting more familiar to children from Calgary and the Prairies, the troll and types of animals in the magical world will be familiar to Canadian children everywhere. The two buffalo characters, Brox and Vivienne, as well as the otter families and the company of crows to name a few, are all given characters that again will engage the readership, both male and female.

The Veil Weavers can be read alone without readers having first read the first two books, The Nexus Ring and Crow Boy.

Highly Recommended.

Review by Janet Johnson.

****/4

Janet Johnson is a retired children's librarian and past instructor of Children's and YA fiction for the Library Tech program at Red River College, Winnipeg, MB.

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