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Wren's Quest by Sherwood Smith

Published by Puffin Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

When Wren and her friends Tyron and Connor from the Magic School rescued Princess Teressa from the wicked King Andreus of Senna Lirwan, she won herself an honored place at court, and admission as a magic apprentice. But while she finds the magic lessons fascinating and delights in being able to watch plays put on by some of the most sophisticated theatrical companies of their world, she remains vaguely uneasy. After all, King Andreus was only thwarted, not vanquished for good, and he is known to be vindictive and to be a man of long plans.

And international unrest is not the only thing that keeps Wren from settling down in her new role. As an orphan, she still longs to have a family to call her own. Tess and the guys have become like sister and brothers to her, to be true, but she still wants to find out where she came from, how she ended up in the wreckage of a caravan set upon by bandits in the high mountains.

But first she needs to pass her Basics Test, which will secure her place as a student in the Magic School. And although she seems to be doing well at first, the test is suddenly interrupted in a most mysterious way. Her friend Connor, who was kicked out of the Magic School after having made a particularly nasty botch of his own Basics Test, is blamed for it, but Wren is certain the adults are mistaken. Terribly mistaken, for this sort of accusation can ruin someone's life.

Yet the adult magicians have what appears to be an incontrovertable piece of evidence -- a threatening letter written in Connor's own hand. And revenge would certainly be a believable motive, given the humiliating way in which Connor left the Magic School.

Thus Wren is looking at not just an adventure, but a mystery to solve. But proving Connor's innocence may be a lot harder than rescuing Tess from a wicked king's dungeon. At least this time she will have the assistance of some of the adults, who create a diversion to distract the unknown hostile magician's attention while Connor slips away along with Wren and Tyron in search of the truth.

Review posted January 1, 2009

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