Carolyn Fletcher

Ghost Wolf, Chapter 7: An All-Out Bad Day for Everyone

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 5.)

The next day, Adriane and Dreamer visit the portal field so they can contact Orenda. Dreamer sends Adriane an image of a figure trapped in a cocoon. Adriane realizes that whatever is threatening Ravenswood is only in the spirit world, at least for now. She also notices that Dreamer is losing his magic, since he can only communicate with her by sending images. Even worse, Adriane can’t seem to cast spells anymore: she tries casting Create Weapon, but the lasso she makes disintegrates.

Adriane then remembers why she was such a loner: her family was always moving, so she never stayed around long enough to make friends. When she moved to Ravenswood (18 months before this book takes place), she met Stormbringer, who allowed her to make friends with the party. Adriane is afraid that she will never be able to bond with Dreamer in the same way she did with Stormbringer.

Since their attempt to communicate with Orenda totally failed, Adriane and Dreamer return to the cottage to meet up with the rest of the party. Turns out that other party members are having problems with their magic, as well: Kara can’t seem to contact her dragonflies. Emily discovers that something in Ravenswood is preventing Dreamer from using his magic. However, the party and the refugees haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary, so it must be something they can’t see.

While all this is going on, the party is using Kara’s sentient toiletries to groom all the animals in time for the next tour. Unfortunately, visitors come a couple hours early, and it’s not the tour group they were expecting. Instead, it’s the local sheriff, Mrs. Windor, Dr. Fletcher … and Adriane’s parents.

Mrs. Windor and the sheriff are here to close down the preserve and capture Dreamer. Kara’s dad has apparently closed the preserve for tours until further notice, due to the “wolf attack” article printed in the newspaper. Kara calls her dad for confirmation.

Meanwhile, Adriane’s parents try to talk to Mrs. Windor about Dreamer. Mrs. Windor claims that Dreamer is a wild wolf. As if to back up this claim, Dreamer runs out of the woods and tries to defend Adriane. Mrs. Windor claims that Dreamer attacked her, even though it’s quite obvious that he didn’t. The original edition suggests that Mrs. Windor is being mind-raped or possessed in this scene, because her eyes start glowing red.

And then the department of fish and game show up with tranquilizer guns. Adriane tells Dreamer to turn into mist or something — yes, even in front of all the stupid humans — but he can’t, so he gets shot.

And then everybody gets pissed at each other! Emily is pissed that the fish and game guys shot too much tranquilizer into Dreamer. Adriane is pissed that the fish and game guys are taking Dreamer away in a Tiny Net. Her ultimate reaction, after the fish and game guys drive off:

One major nitpick here: we learn that the names of Adriane’s parents are Willow and Luc Charday. However, we know that Adriane’s mother is Gran’s daughter … so, did Luc decide to take on his wife’s surname? Because Charday is not a very French name. (The text states that Luc is French.)

Also … why doesn’t anybody think Adriane is crazy when she tells Dreamer to turn to mist?

Next time: The Original Party obtains a world map.

Ghost Wolf, Chapter 4: Dr. Fletcher Proves that Humans Are Smart

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the first half of Chapter 3.)

The party and Dr. Fletcher are at the hospital, checking up on the comatose Gran. Well, that’s what modern medical science concludes; Emily discovered that Gran is under a spell, and Heal has no effect on her.

Dr. Fletcher is concerned about Dreamer, since he did attack a couple of animals in the last chapter. The party claims that he’s fine, but Dr. Fletcher tells them that the City Council and the tourists have some “concerns” regarding him. And by concerns, she means the tour group’s claims that Dreamer attacked them. (But that’s not true: Dreamer only attacked Lyra and Ariel, not the humans!) Dr. Fletcher tells the party that they might need to send Dreamer to a more “secure” location. Adriane, of course, totally objects to this. She doesn’t want Dreamer sent to a circus or the zoo.

On the way back home, Adriane telepathically tells the party that she can’t talk to Dreamer anymore. (Wait, they all have telepathy now?) The party wonders why Adriane didn’t tell them this earlier. Adriane insists that Dreamer was trying to protect Gran from something.

Eventually, Dr. Fletcher invites Adriane to stay with her and Emily while Gran is in the hospital. Emily and Kara suggest staying with Adriane at her place. Dr. Fletcher allows the party to hang out at Adriane’s place over the weekend, but only if Kara’s parents are cool with it.

And finally, we have a human non-party-member character who is acting smart! Dr. Fletcher notices that the party has been rather secretive since they started working at Ravenswood, and she wonders where the hell Dreamer came from. And she also calls Emily out on neglecting the Pet Palace and marching band practice. Wow, thank you for noticing that something is up.

No changes between editions here, other than the truncated chapter length and a line in the new edition in which Kara calms Adriane down after Dr. Fletcher’s suggestions regarding Dreamer.

Next time: Sleepover at Adriane’s place!

Song of the Unicorns, Chapter 6: Shark Attack

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 5.)

Emily decides to jump on the trippy dream sequence bandwagon again. She dreams of Dr. Fletcher introducing Veronica to her … except instead of Emily’s new stepmom, it’s the Dark Sorceress!

Obviously, Emily thinks her stepmother is a threat — and more importantly, nobody else in her family is aware of it. It’s also a really decent sequence that’s not magically-induced — at least in the original edition. The new edition adds some spidery motifs that we’ll see again later in the book … which suggests that Emily’s being mind-raped in her sleep. Yeah, not a friendly thought.

Luckily, Adriane and Kara wake Emily up with some food. Emily tells the party about her adventure, and insists that they try to find the wounded magical animals in the canyon tonight. Kara backs out because she has girly spa things to do. Also, she’s been spamming Polymorph again — not by her own volition! — but she doesn’t want to admit it.

So Emily, Adriane, Ozzie, and Dreamer hijack the golf cart Kara was going to take to the fancy-shmancy resort spa, and head off to the canyon. Once there, Dreamer starts detecting magic … and then sharks attack!

Yes, you read that right. Sharks attack.

Adriane fires some Magic Missiles, and Dreamer mauls a shark or two. Oddly, the sharks disintegrate into sand when killed. After defeating the first wave, the party spots more sand sharks heading their way, so they run into a nearby cave….

Interesting note: Adriane apparently learned a new version of Create Weapon between books. Before entering the cave, she creates a lightsaber. Sadly, this is the only time she casts this spell. Poo.

Status Update!
Adriane learned: a new version of Create Weapon that she’ll never use again!

Next time: The party finally locates the source of the bleating!

Song of the Unicorns, Chapter 1: Reintroducing the Party

It’s been at least a month since Trial by Fire. We know this because Dreamer is getting a checkup, and Dr. Fletcher remarks that he’s big for a three-month-old wolf. (Dreamer must have been at least one and a half months old to have survived on his own before the party found him.)

Among other continuity-related things, we learn that Emily is thirteen fourteen years old. Originally I took this to mean that Emily celebrated a birthday in-between books, but the new character bios on the Avalon Facebook page reveal that Emily’s birthday is in April. So this means she’s been thirteen fourteen throughout the entire damn series. And since all the party members had birthdays before the series even started, Adriane and Kara should be thirteen fourteen as well. Of course, if they’re fourteen (as they are in the new edition) … aren’t they a little old to be in the seventh grade? And wouldn’t they all be fifteen by the series’ end?

Argh … dealing with the specifics of continuity gives me a headache.

Anyway, Dreamer’s none too pleased with getting his immunizations. Luckily, Emily’s around to calm him down by casting Remove Fear (which she apparently learned between books). Adriane mentions that she’s been training Dreamer very rigorously over the past month-or-so. Dreamer now communicates with the party by sending images and rather simple sentences. Of course, he’s not the only one experimenting with psychic messages: Ozzie’s been using his new Ferret Stone to do the same.

Before Emily, Adriane, Ozzie, and Dreamer return to Ravenswood, Dr. Fletcher asks Adriane what became of Stormbringer, and reminds Emily to consider her father’s invitation to spend the winter break with him and his new wife. Adriane and Emily both get kinda mopey, but for different reasons.

Back at Ravenswood, the girls put out feed for the animals. It looks like all the refugees made it back to Aldenmor, because there’s no mention of special diets for pegasi and quiffles and other weird animals. The readers get a massive recap of the last six books — remember, this book was originally the start of a separate Avalon series, so it assumes you didn’t read Web of Magic — and we learn that the party hasn’t heard from their friends on Aldenmor in weeks.

Emily is not happy about the prospect of meeting her new stepmother. She’s pissed that she wasn’t invited to the wedding, and that she has to deal with a new mother figure. Meanwhile, Adriane voices her frustrations over training Dreamer. Her replacement wolf acts like a wild animal and wants to hunt the animals on the preserve. In the new edition, Adriane also has a serious case of survivor’s guilt: she wishes she could cast Heal, believing that that could’ve saved Stormbringer.

And then Ariel shows up with a distressing message: Kara is out of control. Oh great.

A major error I’d like to point out: Ozzie says that it’s 70 degrees in New Mexico. Assuming that this book takes place in December (since Dr. Fletcher mentions winter vacation), Ozzie’s forecast is way off the mark. The high today in Carlsbad, New Mexico (where the party will eventually hang out) is 42 degrees. That’s about the same as it is in Philadelphia. So the party shouldn’t be expecting balmy, summer weather.

Status Update!
Emily learned: Remove Fear!

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • Dr. Fletcher accuses Emily of ordering “special” pet food online, instead of via e-mail.

Next time: Kara makes everything better.

Spellsinger, Chapter 15: Battle of the Blazing Stars, Part 2

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the last half of Chapter 12.)

Emily and Dr. Fletcher finally arrive at Ravenswood for the concert. Suddenly, Emily gets a telepathic message from Stormbringer that things are not right with Adriane. She runs over to Adriane’s cabin, where she meets up with Ozzie, Stormbringer, Lyra, and all the named refugees. There they discover that Adriane and her grandmother are under some sort of sleeping spell. Emily casts Dispel, which wakes them up.

Meanwhile, Kara notices something weird going down during her boss battle with not!Adriane. Adriane transforms into Johnny, and then shifts into some frightening reptilian creature before vanishing. Kara briefly wonders what the hell’s going on, but then is distracted by her Cursed Locket flaring up. And then Johnny suddenly appears in the room, asking Kara what’s wrong. Kara believes that she won her boss battle, and is all pumped for the concert. Yay?

Back at the cabin, Emily, Adriane, Ozzie, and the refugees finally realize that there’s a shapeshifter on the preserve. (It took them long enough!) There’s not a whole lot of discussion on the topic in the original edition; Ozzie only concludes that it’s a “demon-level” monster. (Wait … the monsters now have levels?) The conversation is a lot more lively in the new edition, and everyone’s favorite German tank commander-turned-magic koala chimes in, too:

“What’re we talking about here, banshee? Sylph? Brag? Dryad?” Ozzie asked.

“Worse,” Rommel answered.


“Keep going,” a pooxim sang out.

“A fairy creature then.” Ozzie paced, paws behind his back.

The animals followed him, nodding in agreement.

“I thought fairies were good,” Emily queried.

“Not the dark ones,” Eddie the brimbee said.

The pooxim agreed. “Dark fairy creatures are extremely dangerous.”

Ozzie turned to the girls. “This one is very cunning and proficient with spells.” The ferret waved his paws around.

Adriane flashed on the Fairimental’s warning. “Like spellsinging.”

“Skultum!” several animals said at once, their voices quivering.

“Blingo,” Balthazar said. “This fairy creature is rare and very, very evil.”

“A Skultum. That explains it. It must have disguised itself as me.” Lyra was wildly pacing now. “I thought she was ignoring me, but maybe she can’t hear me.”

And then all the refugees freak out and panic. But there’s no time for that: the concert’s starting!


Spellsinger, Chapter 6: Let’s Get This Party Started!

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 5.)

Johnny Conrad and his entourage finally arrive at Ravenswood Manor. Kara greets them while Adriane is stuck carrying all their equipment inside (because wearing a cherry red Fender Stratocaster apparently makes her look like a roadie). Among the members of Johnny’s band is his “mix master”, Inky Toon, who gets a description in the new edition:

Inky was a big guy, well over six feet tall, with ebony skin and cropped black hair. He wore a red hoodie with oversized jeans, silver sneakers, and a black bandana [sic] with little yellow squares. He sported sunglasses and a blinding smile.

For the purposes of this recap, I’m gonna pretend that Inky is Cee-Lo Green. I know, he doesn’t quite fit the description, but I wanna post a clip of him saying “Oh DAMN!” at some point.

Anyway, after the band’s stuff is moved into the manor and all the groupies show up, it’s time for a party! Mrs. Windor decides to crash said party in the new edition. It’s a long scene, but it’s kinda funny in the “damn kids and their rock-and-roll” type of way, so I’m posting it in its entirety:

“I do not listen to rock and roll music,” Windor was droning on. “Big events are dangerous for a small community. Attracts all the wrong elements.” She eyed the reporter suspiciously.

Yeah, kinda forgot to mention that the press are present, too. Going on….

“All right then, thank you, Mrs. Windor.” She signaled her crew to move on to Johnny.

Mrs. Windor sneered as the rock star walked past. “Ravenswood should be shut down, not saved!”

Johnny raised an eyebrow. “I’m here to support a worthwhile, charitable cause.”

“You have no idea what kind of animals are really here!” Mrs. Windor snapped.

Kara couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She had to do something!

Suddenly, Inky was sweeping in ahead of Johnny. “Come on, now, people,” Inky said with a broad sweep of his big arms that forced Mrs. Windor out the front door. “Animal rights is an important issue and we’re here to support all animals.”

“Soon the whole world will know what you’re hiding here!” Windor bellowed as the door closed in her face.

“Who was that?” Johnny asked Kara.

Kara flushed. “Mrs. Windor. She’ll do anything to stop this concert.”

Johnny chuckled. “Well, I wouldn’t worry about her. Something tells me she’s going to go ape over this show! Trust me.” His dark eyes glittered with the bright lights held by the camera crew.

Kara smiled. Of course he was right.

Believe it,” he winked.

After the little scene with Mrs. Windor, Kara and Emily decide to go up to the library and check out the spellsinging book. Wait — how can they check out the book if Adriane obtained it in the last chapter? The original edition explains:

Kara had seen Adriane put the book into her backpack, then rush out without it when the doorbell rang. Smugly, she had retrieved it.

Anyway, when the girls reach the library and turn on the lights, they find weird, three-toed tracks all over the rug. Kara realizes that they must belong to the shadowy figure from earlier, but Emily reminds her that Stormbringer the Protection from Evil dreamcatcher would have stopped it from even entering Ravenswood if it was evil. (Um, question: what if it belongs to a neutral creature? You have a Protection from Evil spell over the portal, not a Protection from Neutral spell!) Whatever, the girls stop talking about it and turn to the spellsinging book instead.

After reading a few lines from the book — which sum up as “Oh, spellsinging alone is fine and dandy, but spellsinging as a party is Super Effective!” — Johnny Conrad shows up. He oohs and ahhs over the decor, and mentions a couple of artists whose works adorn the place: Parrish and Bates. I had to run down the street and ask some Art Grad Students who these guys were, because I’m not familiar with their names. Maxfield Parrish was an American illustrator and graphic artist, and Harry Bates was an English sculptor. I guess this is a “Showed Their Work” entry, but it would’ve been much easier to look up these artists if RR mentioned specific works! (Especially for Bates, because it took a ton of Google-Fu to find him.)

Emily comes up with an excuse to exit with the spellsinging book, leaving Kara alone with Johnny. He goes on and on about how Kara has “star power”, and mentions that Kara and Adriane are a musically talented duo. (I guess Johnny didn’t read the last book.) Kara is too enchanted by Johnny to really think about anything else but how f’ing cute he is.

Sometime later, Emily makes it home, exhausted. Before she can get to sleep, however, she hears a disturbance at the Pet Palace. Emily checks it out … and finds Mrs. Windor acting like a wild animal and freeing all the monkeys Emily conveniently mentioned a couple of chapters back! Coincidentally, the reporter from earlier is also at the Fletcher residence, and shows up at the right moment to take some embarrassing pictures. Emily and Dr. Fletcher set off to retrieve the monkeys.

Meanwhile, in the woods, Mrs. Windor turns into a seven-foot-tall reptilian monster. Oh crap, she’s a Skrull!

Status Update!
Emily obtained: Spellsinging Book (complete)!

Next time: Kara plays hooky.

Credit where it’s due: Thanks, Art Grad Students!