The Conjuring Glass (The Phoenix Girls #1) by Brian Knight0
When thirteen-year-old orphan Penny Sinclair moves to the small town of Dogwood to live with her godmother, she expects her life to become very dull. She doesn't expect to find a strange talking fox roaming the countryside near her new home, a kindred spirit in her new friend Zoe, or the secret grove where they discover the long hidden magic of The Phoenix Girls.
Learning to use magic isn't easy, though; Penny and Zoe get their magic wrong almost as often as they get it right. When something sinister threatens Dogwood, their often accidental magic may be the only thing that can stop it.
The Conjuring Glass by Brian Knight tells the story of the Phoenix Girls, a group of teenage witches, and their adventures as they grow into their powers. Penny Sinclair has lost everything when her mother died. When she suddenly learns that she has a godmother in some small town, she questions what little she learned about her mother when she was young. Who really was her mother? And who was her father? She finds herself thrown into a life and a world she had no idea existed. People in this small town seem to know more about her mother than she does. People seem to know who her father is and yet they avoid talking to her about it. All of the secrets and all of the lies only seem to make Penny more curious. Throw in some magic and one very talkative fox and we've got an interesting story on our hands.
The plot of the story was not built on an entirely unique idea but any plot with witches involved has most likely been tackled before. What made this story worth reading was the way that the author tackled this overused plot and made it fresh and interesting. The writing was well paced and kept me reading until the very end without ever allowing me to get bored. The plot twists were well planned and placed in the story which made everything have a purposeful tone about it.
Penny is a unique main character. She tackles the teen vibe in a different way than usual and that is what makes her more interesting. This girl seems to be less concerned with fitting in than most teenage girls. Her attitude towards the in crowd of this small town makes her stand out and become a target for all the people that are already looking for reasons to hate her. Why won't she fit in? I think it's because she is content with who she is. She does crave love and affection from parental figures that she seems to be lacking in her life. She desperately wants to be a part of a family. It is a driving force behind her desire to know who her father is and why he never cared about her. This small town also leads her to question who her mother is as well. Maybe in her new family with her godmother, she might just find the love she's been looking for.
The best friend of the novel, Zoe was originally introduced as a geeky sort of girl with her rock collection and love of books. It's obvious that she is like Penny in the sense that she doesn't crave fitting in as desperately as most people do. She wants friends but the kind that accept her for who she is and not for who they want her to be. In Penny, she finds the great friend she has been searching for and an ally that she probably wouldn't have noticed without the help of Susan, Penny's godmother.
Ronan played an interesting part as the protector of the girls and always gave his two bits as snarky comments that made me want to giggle. He urged the girls to test themselves and I was disappointed to see that this interesting character didn't play a bigger role in the novel. Yeah, this smart mouth fox was probably my favorite character of the whole story.
The last minor character that I bet will play a bigger role in books to come is Katie. From the moment she arrives in the book, I was curious to see what type of role she would play through the course of the novel. Katie was originally described as the epitome of the mean girl that could be the best person if you were on her good side and the worst one if she hated you. She is the one that might seem nice at first and then once she forms an opinion, she turns out to be evil. But I have great hopes for her character after the development that she had during this book. Maybe just maybe, she might just turn out to be the girl that I hope she will be. She is turning out to be nicer than I originally thought.
Susan is the godmother of Penny and she seems to not be used to being a mother or even that sort of parental figure in a girl's life. She and Penny seem to have a better friendship than mother-daughter relationship and for that, I think I am actually grateful. I respect the fact that Susan didn't push her to view her as some replacement mother figure but rather as someone she could trust and admire. I think that is what makes her so great. I love that she didn't force herself onto Penny and instead gives her boundaries with the hopes that she doesn't cross those lines. Susan gives adoptive parents and parents that step in a good name and for that, I love this book. On the other side of that same coin, Miss Riggs who is the elder sister of Susan is rude and abrasive. It's hard to even try to like her because she is so mean but I hope that as the series continues, she will become a nicer character or I might get better insight on why she is the way she is.
Tovar the Red seems to straddle the line of bad guy and good guy but mostly because Penny is determined to believe that he is a good guy. Despite everyone's warnings especially Susan's, she assumes that he is her father and will do anything to talk to him and see if he really is the man she thinks he is. Even if that means going against her gut instinct. Now there is another man, the Birdman, who is the bad guy of the story. There is no ifs or buts about it. But as the story continued, I came to question who the Birdman really was and who, if anyone, was helping him do the evil deeds he was doing. One thing is for sure though, everyone thinks the two of them are connected. I think Penny is too trusting of Tovar and she responded too late to the fear of the Birdman.
Overall, it was a great story. Check it out!