Book Reviews

Book Review: Double Double Toil by Amber Elby

Double Double Toil

Double Double Toil is the second book in the Netherfeld Trilogy. You can find my review for the first book, Cauldron’s Bubblehere.

Six months after discovering a cauldron’s bubble, Alda has returned to her remote cottage in Grand Ledge. But Alda soon realises she is trapped and unable to travel between time and place. Meanwhile, Dreng is far away on an enchanted island with Miranda, where the magic is waning. Both Alda and Dreng manage to escape to Fairy Land where they become caught up in the conflict between King Oberon and Queen Titania. As mortals, Alda and Dreng face grave danger and must learn to save each other or risk losing their lives.

Thank you to the author, Amber Elby, for providing a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Double Double Toil is an exciting sequel to Cauldron’s Bubble! This is a delightful YA fantasy novel about witches and fairies and magic. Just as with Cauldron’s Bubble, I like how Amber Elby has drawn inspiration from the work of Shakespeare to create a whole new story. Her book has elements and characters from Shakespeare’s plays which intertwine in a way you do not expect.

Magic is a key part of this book, and there is more to some of the characters than meets the eye. In Cauldron’s Bubble, we are introduced to certain aspects of Hamlet, Macbeth, and The Tempest. The sequel also has references to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I don’t think it’s necessary to have prior knowledge of these plays, although it does make the reading experience more enjoyable.

The two main protagonists are Alda and Dreng. These two are from different times, yet they are brought together time and again. I’m intrigued to learn about how they are linked to each other by fate. Alda is a brave heroine who finds out more about her mysterious past. You can’t help but root for both her and Dreng who is loyal and dutiful. I particularly loved reading about Caliban’s character. He is the master of throwing shade!

Shakespeare’s female characters are portrayed as being more assertive. Ophelia appears in this installment (yay!) and she is certainly not passive. Likewise, Sycorax plays a big part in the story, but rather than simply being an evil villain, she has some grey area.

Other highlights include the vivid descriptions of the fairies’ appearances, courtesy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Without giving too much away, the clans of Oberon and Titania are very violent! 

Something which I forgot to mention in my review for Cauldron’s Bubble is the stream of consciousness. Amber Elby has a great imagination!

Overall, an enchanting story which is full of twists and turns. I am looking forward to the final novel in the trilogy, Trouble Fires Burn.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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