Release Date: 3/14/2006
Author Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Series: Septimus Heap Series , #1
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Age Range: 9-12
As a fairly new school librarian, I feel that I need to do some catch up when it comes to middle grade fiction. There is so much out there. I’ve heard a lot of people talking about the Septimus Heap series, so I thought I’d pick up the first book Magyk.
Silas Heap is on his way home from the healer with some herbs for his wife who has just given birth to their seventh son, Septimus. Along the way, he finds a baby girl abandoned in the snow. He picks her up and carries her home only to find that his own son has died. Silas is asked by a fellow wizard to care for the little girl as his own. He finds out later that the Queen has been assassinated and a Supreme Custodian has taken over the castle.The Heaps take in the little girl, Jenna, and she grows up in their run down but cozy home filled with books and brothers. On her tenth birthday, the Supreme Custodian sends an assassin to kidnap Jenna so he can deliver her to the evil necromancer DomDaniel. The Heap family is on the run with the help of the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand, to protect their youngest daughter.
Angie Page creates a wonderful, fantastical world. She develops a great atmosphere both in the castle and at a witches cottage hidden in the marshes. You can almost feel the damp and fog. At 565 pages, the book is substantial, but moves along at a brisk pace. The characters are well developed and while there are a fair amount of them, they all have unique personalities. She makes even some of the evil characters appear sympathetic. Sometimes. The Heaps are a wonderful family as lovable as the Weasleys. Aunt Zelda is a wonderfully eccentric character. Of course, my favorite was Boy 214 who while not having a real name and barely talking at all throughout the book somehow managed to burrow his way into my heart. I look forward to following their further adventures.
Five Favorite Things About Magyk:
- I love that Silas’s father has turned into a tree and that Silas wanders the woods trying to find him.
- The quote describing where the Heaps live, “If you were foolish enough to cast your eye around the Heaps’ room hoping to find a space in which to sit, the chances were a book would have found it first.”
- Ghosts can move around only in places where they had visited when they were alive.
- Shield bugs.
- Marcia Overstrand’s purple python-skin boots.
Jeaniene Frost’s Eternal Kiss of Darkness came in for me today and as exciting as that is, I’d much rather be reading the next Cat and Bones. So, I went to her website to see if the new cover is out and it is!
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they’ve triumphed over the latest battle, Cat’s new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance…
With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous “ally”—the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war. …to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.
If like me, you’re thinking this doesn’t look like the snippets, I saw on her blog that’s because they were from the stepback. You can see that here.
I tried to write this review without spoilers, but for die-hards there might be a few things that you wouldn’t want to know.
The fourth book in the Wicked Lovely series comes back to the Dark Court, which might make fans of Ink Exchange happy. Devlin, Sorcha’s “brother” and protector, is sent to the mortal world to look after Seth. While he’s there he encounters Gabriel’s daughter, Ani. Ani is suffering some growing pains. She is part mortal, Hound and Dark Court Faerie. But, Ani is different from her half-ling brother and sister and it’s this difference that draws attention to her. Gabriel is overprotective. Irial tries to keep her safe at the same time he performs all kinds of experiments on her and Bananach would use Ani for her own gain. And then there’s Devlin. He was supposed to kill her long ago, but he didn’t and now they are drawn together in an opposites attract, star-crossed lover’s kind of way. Devlin’s role is to restore order and Ani thrives in chaos. Together they must figure out a way to save they entire Faerie world.
I was so unhappy, after finishing Fragile Eternity, I wasn’t waiting on pins and needles to read Radiant Shadows. I hated Seth so much it almost eclipsed the rest of the story for me. The ending was a serious lead up to the next book and I enjoy the overall story arc, so I knew I would read it just to find out what happens. I was looking forward to learning more about Devlin and Ani. They’re both somewhat out of place in their courts. The introduction sucked me right into the story and I was pleased to discover that Devlin isn’t just an assassin and the balance between War and Logic. I love that he hides things from Sorcha and creates his own world. The scene when Devlin first meets Ani (in the present) was great, there was a good dose of tension and spark there, but it just doesn’t last.
Sure, I like both characters and I wanted them to get together, but their relationship wasn’t really developed. I felt like there was a lot of repetition of why this could happen or that couldn’t happen, but not enough action and description. Even in some of the action sequences, Marr tells you what happens instead of describing it. Overall, I was pretty disappointed, because I like where the plot is going, just not how it gets there. I enjoyed Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange. I thought they were both fairly fast-paced, with more developed characters and a good dose of romantic tension, but Radiant Shadows doesn’t seem to live up to either of those. As for Seth, I know that a lot of people really loved him after FE, but as I said, I couldn’t stand him. In this book, I sometimes felt he wasn’t so bad (Ash is not around) and other times (for Devlin’s sake) I hated him even more. But, we do get a good dose of Irial (sigh) and a few glimpses of Niall who has firmly taken on his role as King of the Dark Court. There is a major event in their relationship, but I won’t say any more than that. I’ll definitely read the final installment, because I love the plot and the world, but I hope that there is more depth to the characters and a more tightly woven story. Radiant Shadows had the potential to be a really great book, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations.