"Robert Priest, in writing his second fantasy book for young readers, has crafted a great adventure-fantasy tale in the tradition of the classics. However, in following the familiar formula of quest and tests, Priest has succeeded in creating a highly original tale. Instead of the typical cast of elves, trolls, dwarves, and goblins, there exist thralls, triplicants, and wraiths of various kinds, as well as countless other beasts and beings who are all as strangely beautiful and bizarre as the spells that created them ... a remarkable first book to a promising series which will surely entertain and fascinate readers of every age. Highly Recommended."
- Andrew Laudicina, CM magazine
"I haven't enjoyed a fantasy novel as much as this in a long time. The characters are realistic and engaging and none of them are so goody-goody as to recall either Harry Potter or Cinderella. We believe in their interactions and we sympathize with their tribulations so that first off this is a story about real people coming of age. But Priest's magical system is also a stunner. He has invented a mechanical way of casting a spell - spell kones - cone shaped devices which are turned by crank handles. These stem from the great Kone itself a giant ancient paper cone upon which the foundational spells of the world are written. I found this whole system fascinating and original. Plus I love a good love story. The main character, Xemion, is a bit of a romantic despite himself and this gives the intense feeling of the novel a good grounding in his sometimes poetic musings. The overall effect of this is that of a literary novel full of colorful language, fine invention and quite believable human struggles and interactions with never a moment of pretention. Like Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Priest has left book 1 on a cliffhanger but not without giving us an initial sense of completion in the 1st stages of the love story. This is a real page turner and I eagerly await book two. 5 stars."
- Adam Warlock, Netgalley