Virginia Burton Stringer is the author of the Just Maagy series and has been a writer for over 40 years. She is also a published playwright. She has also taught theatre art, while also being an actress and director of various plays.
Raising her two daughters was the main inspiration for the Just Maagy series, as these life experiences are just one of the many reasons why this is one of the best fantasy books for young adults.
Krispen Book 2 in the Maagy Series continues Maagy’s journey toward adulthood. As with most pubescent girls, life turns dark and scary, as she becomes aware of the adult world around her. Her faith in everything and everyone is challenged by circumstances beyond her control. Life becomes a roller coaster of emotions from abject terror to euphoric infatuation, only to have her heart crushed on the most important night of her life setting her on a path no one could have predicted. While Krispen… includes a fun holiday adventure, later chapters are fraught with darker undertones that lay groundwork for Maagy’s tumultuous future.
… “Believing in Father Krispen is having faith in things you cannot see. It’s having faith that those you can see hold great magical power.” …
As Krispen Book 2 in the Maagy Series begins, Maagy has settled in for the long carriage ride home to Avington Palace and has fallen asleep to the rhythmic sound of the horses’ hooves. Suddenly, something horrific happens that leaves her with overwhelming fear and mistrust. She falls into deep despondency. She will neither eat nor come out of her room. The situation is exacerbated by King Henry’s sudden absence. An unlikely visitor in the middle of the night seeks her help for a clandestine undertaking with implications for the entire world. Terrified and against her better judgment, Maagy agrees to embark upon the harrowing journey with an unexpected detour along the way. Her mettle is tested in the face of bone-chilling fear. After mustering courage she never thought possible to save a life, the oddly paired cohorts continue their mission with her making a startling discovery which restores her faith in that which is unseen. Just as Maagy’s life seems to be on track, another stunning blow to her heart on her fifteenth birthday sends her in a direction completely unheard of for a woman, much less, the future queen. Krispen leaves the reader hanging on every word just before Maagy’s sixteenth birthday.
He turned the horses and sleigh around and started down the mountain. The narrow, slippery road leading from the back of the palace wound down along the top of steep rocky cliffs which dropped off hundreds of feet on either side. Somehow, huge trees managed to grow out of them, giving cover to those who might try to attack. It was an arduous and dangerous path usually only traveled on horseback in daylight rather than by carriage or sleigh and never at night in winter. She had heard her father say it was the only vulnerable access point to Avington but had not understood what that meant until that moment. Then something very disturbing occurred to her.
“[Sir]… how did you get through the back gate?”
“Pardon me, Yer Highness?” He whispered just as they approached the wide-open portal.
“These gates are always… I mean always… closed, locked, and heavily guarded. How did you get in?”
“I… drove through…” he said not committing to too much detail.
“They were… open… when I got here,” again, intentionally vague.
“That cannot be,” she whispered, almost to herself.
She began to panic. Her body tightened. Her mouth went dry. Chills and sweat broke out at the same time. She looked from side to side, as her breathing got more rapid and shallower.
“There is nothin’ to be concerned with, Yer Highness.”
“But… the guards… how did you get past them? Where are they? I don’t see them!”
“I believe they might be takin’ a short nap.”
“Oh, good heavens! A nap! If Father finds out they were sleeping on their watch, he’ll have them… beheaded!”
“Then, Princess Maagy… perhaps… ya should not tell him. I can assure ya, I swear upon me own life… which I am rather fond of… there is no cause for alarm. No nefarious* persons have entered the castle walls. The gates will close as soon as we are through them, and the guards will be wide awake and at their posts none the wiser.”
“How do you know this?”
“Ya must not ask questions I cannot answer… Yer Highness.”
They passed through the gates unhindered and began the treacherous descent. Maagy was trembling. Her heart was pounding with trepidation*. Had she made a terrible decision to go with this odd fellow she had met only briefly months before? The gates creaked and groaned, as they slowly swung shut. She heard the clash of metal, as the iron bars came together, and the lock bar dropped into place. She sat up and looked behind to see the guards walking their post chatting quietly as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. She looked at [the driver]. There was a slight smile on his face.
“Ya see, Yer Grace? All buttoned up safe and sound.”