Book Reviews

Book Review: Beneath the Swirling Sky

by Carolyn Leiloglou

publisher’s synopsis

A house full of paintings, a missing sister, and a family secret send a boy and his cousin into a world where art is the key in this fantasy adventure perfect for fans of The Wingfeather Saga and Pages & Co.

After an experience he’d rather forget, Vincent is determined to be done with art. So when he and his little sister, Lili, spend spring break with their art conservator great-uncle, Vincent’s plan is to stay glued to his phone.

That is, until Lili disappears into one of the world’s most famous paintings and Vincent learns his parents have been hiding something from Their family is the last of The Restorationists, a secret society with the power to travel through paintings—and a duty to protect them from evil forces.

With Lili’s safety on the line, leaving art behind is no longer an option. Vincent must team up with his know-it-all second-cousin Georgia, wrestle with why his parents lied to him, and confront both his past and a future he never wanted. Young readers are invited into a captivating universe where paintings become a portal—and adventure and danger lurk beyond every canvas.


Beneath the Swirling Sky is the first book in The Restorationists series, following a cousin-duo as they travel through paintings to rescue Vincent’s little sister.

Vincent was a nice main character. I really appreciated the positive sibling relationship between him and Lili. And Georgia was fun too. She and Vincent played off of each other well.

The plot does a nice job of introducing to the reader to the magic system and setting up the series while having its own “standalone” plot. There are a few twists along the way that will keep readers curious.

I really appreciated all of the research that the author put into the novel. It was clear even before reading the note at the end of the novel that all of the paintings referenced were real, and the information about them was as accurate as possible.

While the eARC formatting was a little goofy on my Kindle, I could tell that the publisher and illustrator put a lot of thought into making this book beautiful on the inside–which seems fitting for a novel all about art. I’m certain that the finished printed edition will be lovely.

The ending, while concluding the book, leaves the reader wondering whether certain characters are good or bad, and what will happen next.

Cautions: brief mentions of nude paintings, no detail

Beneath the Swirling Sky releases September 12, 2023, from WaterBrook Press. I received an e-ARC through NetGalley. All thoughts are entirely my own.*

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