#20BooksOfSummer 3: Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery by Ally Carter

#20BooksOfSummer is an annual event hosted by Cathy Brown of 746 Books and runs from 1st June until 1st September With the aim to clearing a target of 5, 10 or 20 books from your TBR but with very relaxed and fun rules.

Here is my joining post & List!

Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery by Ally Carter

Winterborne home for Mayhem & Mystery by Ally Carter
Cover art by Flavia Sorrentino

You know one of those books where you get to a bit and someone starts talking to you (or texting what you need from the supermarket) and you’re like shut uuuuupppppp!! I neeeed to find out what happens. 

That… that is exactly what reading the Winterborne books is like.

I read Vengeance and Valour last year and its definitely a series for comic book and super hero movie fans and especially for fans of the Disney+ adaptation of The Mysterious Benedict Society who are looking for more to read..

After the ‘origin story’ set up of Vengeance and Valour, you know it’s going to happen; The Empire Strikes Back in Mayhem and Mystery… which holds very big parallels in some ways as April will have answers to the biggest questions in her life!!! 

5 key words

Superheroes, Tragedy, Friendship, Family, Secrets

It has been three months since Izzy fell into the sea and Uncle Evert was defeated, twelve weeks since they got a note saying she was alive and ok, 84 days of the inhabitants of Winterborne House painfully missing her. They aren’t coping so well, particularly Gabriel who was missing when Izzy Nelson invited the children to live and study at his ancestral home, a home with many secrets including the fact that generations of Winterbornes have acted as the masked vigilante The Sentinel defending the city from evil and crime.

To make things worse Smithers has won a Cruise in a Butlering competition so they are on their own when Gladys Pitts from Child Protective Services turns up in the morning and Masked intruders break in at night…. and then Gabriel goes missing.

What or who are these professionals looking for?

“April look at me!” There was a warm palm on her cold cheek and brown eyes staring into her own. “I’ve got you,” Tim said.

April is most certainly still our protagonist, and we see her story develop in so many different directions across the novel but in this sequel we see a richer, more rounded depiction of more children of Winterborne House, particularly Tim and Colin reflecting how Sadie was strongly developed in the first. 

Tim is a protector, and whilst Violet remains his number one priority, he is incredibly protective of April, from following her to certain danger to sleeping on the floor to look after her during a dark night of her soul. Tim is pure goodness and must be protected at all costs.

‘Scale of one to ten, how mad do you think Gabriel would be if we just piled all this up on the patio and set it on fire? Because I saw a bag labelled “Smithers’s emergency marshmallows” and I’m thinking-‘

Colin to April

Colin on the other hand, is fantastic for the personality he brings, even more so in this book I am constantly reminded of Jordan Gavaris’ Felix in Orphan Black– they have a lot of similarities in Colin’s precocious son of a con-artist trickster, helplessly mouthy but deep down caring mischievous ways. 

Violet, is blossoming slowly, feeing safe in her brother’s protection and learning to trust her fellow Winterborne children, and love Gabriel. It’s lovely to see the once selective mute actually speak more openly, to be expressive when safe and take a more proactive role in the happenings than she ever would at the start of Valour and Vengeance. Her character arc has more to come but it’s with a burst of pride when April notes how Violet finds her voice even amongst strangers. 

Everyone left April. Because April had never, ever been worth keeping.

This sequel is particularly concerned with unravelling mysteries of who keeps invading the mansion, chasing the children and who is the Fake Sentinel that has attacked local businessman Reggie Dupree and saves the children when they are pursued by men with guns?

We furthermore see the Winterborne past peeled back like layers of an onion as the events of the Winterborne murders, of which Gabriel was the only survivor found, come painfully to light and we see just how wrapped up the current events are in the problems of the past.

And April’s pain, that she has been both hiding and nursing for years that she was never wanted by her family, that her mother left her for dust at that gas station because she wasn’t worth the effort or care. These feelings will thunder and storm within April across this book and we will feel her struggle too.

Because at its core this book is concerned with Family. Exploring the ideas of blood and bonds against the family we make and belong with, and what are acts of love and care and which are acts of self-preservation? Does April’s difficult childhood make it hard to trust, or make her more intuitive to the capriciousness of connection? And ultimately are family and our futures written in our DNA or is it what we make, what we choose?

I can’t wait to read the next!!!!!!

Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery by Ally Carter is published by Orchard Books

6 thoughts on “#20BooksOfSummer 3: Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery by Ally Carter

  1. I still haven’t read the first one of this series but based on your reviews I think I need to!! I have a very love/hate relationship with Ally Carter which is what’s holding me back! Have you read any of her others?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I don’t think I have but this is FIRMLY middle grade. I absolutely loved both books the first is just the perfect ‘origin’ story for a superhero!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I don’t think this is your kind of book but definitely if someone asked about what to read and they like superheroes or The Mysterious Benedict Society they will like this little orphan Annie meets Batman series!

      Liked by 1 person

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