The Arcanum Training Institute is the school for young Marvellers--magic-users from around the world whose power is encompassed in one of the five Paragons, or orders of magic. For centuries, Conjurers have been excluded from the Marveller world, their magic criticized and alienated. But now, Arcanum has opened its doors to Conjurers--and eleven-year-old Ella Durand will be the first to attend.
Ella has long dreamed of attending Arcanum, and the school itself is all she's ever imagined--full of moving towers, odd enchantments, and delicious food. Even though not everyone is thrilled about Ella's presence at Arcanum, she slowly begins to find her place. But the school--and the Marveller world--has its own secrets, and when a dangerous criminal escapes from a Conjurer prison, it's up to Ella to clear both her name, and that of all Conjurers.
The Marvellers is a layered, lovely fantasy novel full of strong characters and evocative worldbuilding. I particularly loved Ella and her two friends, Brigit and Jason, a trio who I'm thrilled to spend more time with later in the series! The whole book both embodies and puts a new twist on the classic magic school trope; even with the Marveller world's prejudice towards Conjurers, Arcanum feels like a place anyone could be part of. At the same time, the school has its own mysteries and hard-kept secrets, and its many layers cement it as a spectacular setting--one that is open and welcoming, but remains deeply and believably flawed. I highly recommend The Marvellers to readers ages nine and up, particularly those who enjoy magic schools, clever plots, and engrossing worldbuilding.