Review of Rae Bridgman’s first three books

Hi, everyone! Today, I thought I’d do a book review for you, or rather 3 book reviews all by the same author – Rae Bridgman. She’s a Canadian author and artist with a PhD in Anthropology who grew up near me and has written a series of books called The Middle Gate Series. I have only read the first three, so far and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Since I don’t want to include any spoilers, here are the blurbs about each book found on

The Serpent's Spell

The Serpent’s Spell

The Serpent’s Spell is a teen fiction novel about the power of friendship and the mysteries surrounding the snakes of Narcisse, Manitoba. Calamity-prone Wil Wychwood and supernatural artist Sophie Isidor live in the hidden town of MiddleGate. Hundreds of snakes in nearby Narcisse have been murdered, and the cousins set out on a journey to discover who could have done it…

Amber Ambrosia

Amber Ambrosia

Ten-year-old cousins Sophie and Wil face a long and endless summer, until they find out MiddleGate’s honeybees are falling sick. Even the Secretariat on the Status of Magical Creatures seems unable to solve the mystery. Fearing for Aunt Rue’s position at the Secretariat, Wil and Sophie decide to find out who – or what – is attacking the insects after the symbol of a golden bee suddenly appears on Wil’s black medallion.

The children are cast into the secret world of the magical honeybees of MiddleGate; a world where Magykalis honey transforms those who consume it and portends a future when the Serpent’s Chain — a secret magical society — returns to power from Realms Unearthly, Realms of Myth.

Fish and Sphinx

Fish & Sphinx

In this rollicking fishy tale, two eleven-year old cousins, Sophie and Wil, uncover a secret plot by the Serpent’s Chain – an ancient, magical secret society- to seize Manitoba’s Legislative Building (or as it is known in Middle Gate, the Palace of the Blazing Star). The children try to unlock the Palace’s hidden code, aided by a homeless woman with long whiskers and fishy stench who lives by the river. This woman, though, is none other than Catfysh herself, the Spirit of the River. Stone lions, cow skulls, bison and sphinxes and even a stone Medusa spring to life to help the children save the Palace of the Blazing Star.

Manitoba Legislative Building (1913-1920)

Manitoba Legislative Building

link to article on bee colony collapse (click on photo)

Garter Snake

a garter snake like you might find at Narcisse, Manitoba

The thing I find most fascinating about her stories is the location – my hometown. It’s fun to think of magical things happening right under my nose. Because of her interest in anthropology, her stories revolve around certain species of creatures that are becoming endangered. While she adds the element of magic to explain why the garter snakes of Narcisse, Manitoba are dying and why a strange disease is spreading among the local bee population, the two situations are very real. The sad thing is the causes are due more to environmental changes in the world, not magic. If only it was as simple a solution as magic to fix the problem!

The third book continues the series, but this time, they need to save ‘The Palace of the Blazing Star’ (our local parliament building). Evil magicians are trying to take over the government and destroy it from within. That could explain a lot about what our government has been doing as of late! 🙂

These whimsical stories have similar elements to the Harry Potter series, but include environmental issues that bring up the problems in today’s changes in climate and how these changes are affecting the wildlife around us.

I hope you will find them as entertaining as I did.