Note: Sir Callie and the Dragon’s Roost is the second book in the ongoing Sir Callie series. It is preceded by Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston. Look out - there are spoilers for the first book below!
Callie should be happy. They and their friends ousted Helston’s evil chancellor, showing everyone that there are other ways of being than Helston’s antiquated traditions. Boys are allowed to use magic now. girls can become knights. Isn’t Callie living their dream?
The problem is, not everyone is ready for the sweeping changes Callie would like to see. And when the burgeoning dissent makes Helston too dangerous, Callie and their friends are forced to flee. Even if it means exposing themselves to the Witch of Dumoor, the source of so much of Helston’s prejudice.
But now that Callie is questioning whether Helston can ever become the safe haven they once dreamed of, it’s hard not to question everything. And that means the beliefs Callie has had their entire life about the very nature of good and evil.
I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston, so when the sequel came out, I knew I had to read it immediately! It didn’t disappoint. I can’t think of another middle-grade book, and certainly not another middle-grade fantasy book, that balances hope, trauma, and healing in a way so authentic, and so incredibly affirming. With a sharp, insightful look at well-meaning adults, making change, and the challenges of recovering from your past, Esme Symes-Smith manages to make this book not only be as good as the first one, but even better. Already familiar with Callie, Willow, Edwyn, and Elowen at the start of this book, it was incredibly beautiful watching them grow and change, and there were so many times over the course of this book that I audibly cheered on the heroes or booed the villains that I can’t think of a better way to describe my practically incalculable emotional attachment to these characters, and this series. Perhaps the best part of this series is that there isn’t just one character trying to heal, which means that rather than narrating only a single path to learning to live with who you are, Sir Callie gives us many, a gorgeous and incredibly meaningful combination of whose tenacity and hope gave me no choice but to read this entire story as quickly as possible. I quite literally cannot wait for the third book in the series! I highly recommend Sir Callie and the Dragon’s Roost to readers ages eleven and up looking for everything from a fun fantasy adventure to a book to help them heal.