The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin is fantasy author, L. Jagi Lamplighter’s latest entertaining novel. In it, Jagi (as she likes to be called) takes on the World of Wizardry and Witchcraft and she puts her own unique spin upon it, with her main character, 13-year-old female protagonist Rachel Griffin, getting herself involved in danger, thrills, and adventure as she attends Roanoke Island’s Academy for the Sorcerous Arts. It’s the first of a planned series of books featuring magical Rachel Griffin. An interview I conducted with Jagi follows this review.
Rachel Griffin, like a certain boy wizard known as Harry, loves to fly her broomstick. She has an older model than most of the other kids at her school, but Rachel has an intense fondness for it, and she can handle it like a quicksilver dream.
In The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, Griffin has a family full of sisters — and one brother, Pete — who have attended or are attending Roanoke and who have excelled in their studies there. Rachel has a lot to live up to, but besides her stellar flying skills, she also has an eidetic memory that helps her in her studies. Still, Rachel finds that putting what she’s learned into practice can be a different story, as simply knowing how to do something isn’t the same thing as actually being able to do it and do it well.
Though she doesn’t like to flaunt it, Rachel is the daughter of nobility. Her father is a duke and her mother is a duchess in the world of the Wise. The World of the Wise, as author L. Jagi Lamplighter calls it in The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, is the world that co-exists with the world of the Unwary (or Muggles, as most humans are called in the Harry Potter series of novels).
Despite coming from a background of prestige and power, Rachel does not escape the experience of being bullied. Some of the other, stuck-up characters in the school look down upon Rachel for having an older broom, being a new student, and perhaps just for the reason to “put her in her place.”
So, although Rachel make some great friends right off bat, like the handsome boy Siggy who has a cool dragon, Lucky, as his familiar, and even the Magical Princess Nastasia of Australia, she does not have much success at becoming friends with more than just a small circle of people.
Rachel’s familiar is her cat, who at first acts reluctant to even acknowledge her. Compared to other cats and kittens related to Rachel’s cat, there are times when the young heroine of the series doubts that her familiar has a magical hair on its body. Still, her cat does its job as a loyal and faithful friend when Rachel needs it the most.
There is plenty of intrigue going on at the Roanoke Academy, as Rachel discovers in The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin. Besides the usual obligatory cast of teenagers and instructors, a mysterious man invades the sanctity of the Roanoke Academy and attacks Rachel and Siggy as they’re flying with a magical scarab that he sends after them.
Then, within Rachel’s first week at the Roanoke Academy, this attack is followed by duels, attacks by wraiths, and even an encounter with a fire-breathing teacher. Rachel learns from a mysterious teenage boy that her father has a side that she didn’t know about. Her father is well-known in the World of the Wise, and is an AurorAgent, charged with busting the bad guys in The Unexpected nof Rachel Griffin.
In The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, all of the action occurs within just the first five days of the semester. Lamplighter mentions in the interview that follows that there will definitely be more books in the series, and that the second one will be released sometime during the summer of 2014. Until then, if you’re a fan of Harry Potter and are looking for another enjoyable series to read featuring magical superheroes, you owe it to yourselves to check out L. Jagi lamplighter’s, latest novel, The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin.
Written by: Douglas Cobb
L. Jagi Lamplighter nterview