The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Suzy McKee Charnas’ Sorcery Hall trilogy tells the story of Valentine (Val) Marsh, a fourteen-year-old who possesses magical ability. The ability to use magic runs in Val’s family: Her grandmother, known as Granny Gran, possesses magical powers. Val’s mother, Laura, chooses not to develop her ability. In this series, Val becomes involved with Sorcery Hall, an alliance of wizards dedicated to defending worlds from evil. With the help of Gran, Sorcery Hall, and her friends, Val eventually defeats three dangerous villains. In the process, Val learns to accept her magic, develops confidence in herself, and reaches a new level of maturity.

The Bronze King begins with a series of mysterious disappearances, including those of Val’s tuna sandwich and sneakers. One large object that vanishes is a statue of King Jagiello. Val realizes that she is in danger when she is stalked by three young men who call themselves the Princes of Darkness. The Princes corner Val in a subway train, but Paavo Latvela, an elderly fiddler from Sorcery Hall, rescues her. Val later meets Paavo in Central Park, where he tells her that Earth is threatened by a monster known as the kraken. The kraken wants to find something Val possesses that can stop the kraken’s return to the world.

Val, Paavo, and their ally, Joel Wechsler, a seventeen-year-old who wants the fiddler to help him improve his musical ability, must find Jagiello’s statue, a magical artifact made of bronze, in order to defeat the kraken. They must deal with the Princes who serve the kraken. In the process of trying to locate Jagiello, they are attacked by the Princes and Paavo’s violin is smashed. Joel later gives Paavo a fiddle that belongs to his family, allowing the old man to perform his magic.

Val eventually discovers that a key that landed on her after a subway explosion is critical to their efforts to free Jagiello. Val gives the key to Joel, who, instead of taking it to Paavo, tries to free Jagiello on his own. Joel is captured by the kraken, but the monster cannot harm him because he has Paavo’s enchanted bow. Val eventually gets the key from Joel, and she uses it to free Jagiello from his prison. The final confrontation with the kraken takes place in Central Park. Jagiello, animated by the spirit of Paavo, destroys the monster in combat. The battle results in Paavo’s death.

The Silver Glove takes place several months later and begins with the disappearance of...

(The entire section is 1016 words.)