Magical Eyes: Dawn of the Sand by Jessica D’Agostini

Magical Eyes: Dawn of the SandPrincess Martina lives in the kingdom of Brightalia where magic is forbidden, yet she’s gifted with magical abilities. Her secret might be safe, except her brother has it out for her. When tragedy befalls the royal palace, the princess might need to reconcile with her brother in order to save the kingdom, only he has sinister intentions of his own. Teaming up with a newfound friend, a peasant boy named Enzo, they set out to save the kingdom before it falls to ruin.

Magical Eyes unfolds like a movie, with each moment vividly depicted, so it comes alive in a reader’s mind. D’Agostini excels at setting a scene. The novel has something of a feeling of a Disney princess movie, as the cover of the book might attest – replete with messages about family and acceptance. Far from saying the book is overly sentimental, this is really one of the book’s main selling points, as it feels like something you could see on the big screen.

Some of the themes are a bit familiar – after all, princesses and magical powers aren’t new arenas for fiction – but but these motifs are common for a reason, and in Magical Eyes they work well. Overall, this middle grade fantasy novel is charming and fun, with some real danger thrown into the mix, and some important life lessons. It’s a gentle read that doesn’t take a huge number of chances, but it hits a number of satisfying marks.

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