Book Review: WILLOW MOSS AND THE VANISHED KINGDOM by Dominque Valente (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in yellow on b
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - third book



Book cover for WILLOW MOSS AND THE VANISHED KINGDOM: title in yellow on a purple star with a girl flying on a broom in front of a castle

For the first time ever, Willow Moss is going to school.

Magical children have long been barred from attending school. And the sudden reversal of the rule by the mysterious (and nefarious) Brothers of Wol seems too good to be true. Why would they decide to change it now?

Willow, though hesitant, embarks on this new path with her usual courage and determination. On her first day, she meets new friends Twist and Peg, who will soon become her next partners-in-adventure.

Because Willow is about to be tasked with her most urgent mission yet: to protect the children of Starfell, uncover the mystery of a long-lost kingdom–and prevent the very source of all magic from falling into the wrong hands.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


WILLOW MOSS AND THE VANISHED KINGDOM is another quest for this heroine with unique (and unflashy but useful) powers. This time it’s not a day or a tale that needs to be found, it’s a whole kingdom before the evil Silas finds it – and uses the staff hidden there to destroy magic.

The book is as readable and amusing as the previous instalments. The pacing is snappy, but has plenty of space given to building the world so the new elements feel set up (the newspaper article at the start is a brilliant example of concise foreshadowing and world building.) The illustrations and different sizes and fonts used add to the quirky feel of the book. It’s a great visual reflection of the writing’s tone.

The elves, who have been in the background as offhand mentions before, get to be properly introduced. I haven’t seen a take on elvish magic like this before, and it’s so much fun. It’s really different to the usual forest-bound elves a la Tolkien, instead focusing on rock and air magics.

Oswin the Kobold (NEVER a cat!) is back! I suspect he’s a character in every book, which is good as he is my favourite character. I just love his doom-laden perspective, his constant complaints (which all disguises a fierce loyalty), and the way his speech is written. I laugh a lot at his moments in the books.

There is another book out this year and, as the paperback release is only 6 months after hardback (rather than the 12 months it’s been before), I’ll probably get to read it this year. It looks like it will be a more direct sequel than the previously, directly linked to the events of this book rather than being another adventure thwarting the Brothers of Wol.

Read my reviews of other books by Dominque Valente:

Starfell (this series):


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