‘The Fire Maker,’ by Guy Jones, cover by Helen Crawford-White.

Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘The Fire Maker,’ a story of magic tricks, genies and dangerous ambition.

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Alex’s life is consumed by his love of magic and his quest to win Young Magician Of The Year which is being judged by one of his idols, Jack Keller. Despite being teased at school, and his dad’s apparent lack of interest, Alex is dedicated to perfecting the art of magic and illusion.

Whilst running from a former friend turned bully, Alex stumbles across the ramshackle house of Mr Olmos and takes refuge in his back garden.  It is here that Alex sees magic that he can’t explain – three tiny balls of flame floating and dancing in the air. This is real magic. Fire magic. And Alex and Mr Olmos are about to discover exactly what lengths people will go to to wield the ancient magic as their own.

This book was not at all what I expected in a very good way. Far from being just a story about a magic show, it explored themes of the complexities of childhood friendships, parental relationships and old, powerful magic.

Alex’s ambivalent relationship with his workaholic father coupled with his former best friend turning on him as a result of a prank gone wrong had left him feeling isolated and alone, opening him up to striking up an unusual friendship with the elderly Mr Olmos. I’m sure that some readers will empathise with his feelings of loneliness and the anger which accompanied these.

The corrupting influence of power was also explored through Alex’s attempts to control the fire magic himself and the enthralling legend of the jinn. A timely lesson for us all about resisting temptation.

Ultimately for me, The Fire Maker was a brilliant mix of all the things which make for great middle grade writing: relatable characters, unexpected plot twists, an element of danger and a healthy dose of mystical magic. A cracking read for anyone aged 9+

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Chicken House Books for sending me this title to review and for inviting me to be part of this blog tour*

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