The Sorcery Hall Trilogy Critical Essays

Suzy McKee Charnas


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Sorcery Hall trilogy is targeted to an audience of young adults. The books have received favorable reviews from critics. Charnas has written other science-fiction and fantasy novels, but the Sorcery Hall trilogy marks her first venture into young adult fiction. She has produced a fascinating series that deals with the development of a young heroine. The books present an excellent portrait of the challenges faced by a teenager. The development of Val’s character is one of the most important aspects of Charnas’ trilogy.

In each novel, Charnas has Val face an extraordinary challenge, represented in turn by the kraken, Brightner, and Bosanka. Beyond the supernatural threats, however, Charnas has Val confront challenges that are faced by many teenagers. For example, Val lives in a single-parent family; her father left while she was young. She has to confront her feelings about her father’s departure in The Silver Thread when Brightner attempts to use that information to intimidate her.

Another important issue that Charnas examines in Val’s growth is her tumultuous relationship with her mother. Charnas reveals problems in the relationship by describing fights between Val and her mother, particularly in The Bronze King. One critical moment in Val’s relationship with her mother comes in The Silver Glove. Val must deal with her feelings about her mother dating a man, Brightner, who turns out to be...

(The entire section is 432 words.)