What would you do if you found out that your grandmother was a notorious witch? That her fence was made of bones and topped with skulls? That she was rumored to eat people? You probably wouldn't be planning a family reunion any time soon. But if you found out that she had captured your father and was planning to do something evil to him, what then? This is the dilemma Anna Sophia is facing. She has only recently learned that her father and grandmother are still alive. All the years she was in the orphanage she never knew she had any family left. So when she gets word that her father is in danger, she immediately sets out to find him and do what she can to save him.
This second book of Anna's adventures shows her growing knowledge of her magical powers and of her background. Accompanied by her friend Laraleigh, she travels to Russia to meet with her Uncle Misha, the man who rescued her as a baby. From there, her journey will take her to a haunted castle, a witch's hut, and even the middle of Lake Baikal. Along the way she encounters ghosts, a wizard, a golem, a water spirit, evil horsemen, and a giant cat that likes to toy with humans before stealing their souls. It sounds like more than any 13-year-old is meant to deal with, but most teenagers aren't witches.
I recommend this book for middle grade readers who enjoy magical fantasy stories that are set in the real world (rather than an alternate dimension or other worlds). Anna wrestles with questions of identity, the temptation to the dark side of magic, and what it means to be a friend or part of a family. There are plenty of dangerous, magical, desperate situations to keep the book moving along quickly from one event to the next.
I read an e-galley provided by the author for review purposes.