Magyk by Angie Sage
The seventh son of the seventh son, named Septimus Heap, is declared dead and taken away by a midwife on the night of his birth. On his way home that very night, the baby's father, Silas Heap, discovers a bundle in the snow which contains a baby girl with violet eyes. He brings her home and the Heap family raises her as one of their own. But there are many questions to be answered. Who is this mysterious baby? What really happened to their son Septimus?
Magyk is a colorful read, full of fantasy and whimsy. The author describes everything in such a detailed manner that you could almost see the tiny room that the Heaps spend their days in, or close your eyes and navigate your way along the city walls.
The characters are unique and full of personality. They each have their own kooky traits that make them feel a little more real. You find yourself being drawn into their world, empathizing with them as they face trials and willing them to succeed.
With the lore, it reminded me, in a way, of Harry Potter. It had a similar wizard and non-wizard conflict and epic battle with an evil wizard feeling. One big and notable difference is that, Harry Potter lived in an imaginary world within our real world, while the Heaps live in a completely original world. Now, I am not saying that Magyk is just like Harry Potter - it is, by far, a different story, and one with it's own merits. However, if you are a fan of such works as the Harry Potter series, you will most likely enjoy this book.
It did seem to me at times that the writer had a touch of ADD. The story would be going smoothly about some event that was occurring, and then would, all of a sudden, shoot off on a wild tangent. Not about something un-related, mind you. They would mention something in the path of the narration, and then go off into a three to four paragraph of the description of the particular item. It didn't feel out of place, just strange. Afterward, they would go back into the narration of the story, and it flowed okay, so it wasn't really a big deal.
This next bit is something that gave me a giggle. I joked to someone that you could tell the writer was a woman because she had a shoe fetish. Not really, but it did seem as though she had an obsession for this one pair of purple shoes. They were mentioned several times, and it was never a casual mention. Every time they were brought up, you were given more information about the materials, the origins, even the emotions they had. From what I could tell, they were not even integral to the story in any way. Perhaps they have more meaning further down the line though.
Overall, Magyk is an entertaining read. The plot is very well developed. I was a little sad that I guessed the big plot twist before the end - in fact, I knew it from the setup. I don't blame this on the writing though. I blame it on the fact that I grew up reading Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew, and that I love watching Detective Conan. It's just how my mind is programmed to work. The same thing happened with a few of the other books I read right after this one. Darn my inquisitive mind.
Despite figuring out the end before I got there, I absolutely loved Magyk. It was an interesting story that kept the reader's attention from beginning to end, and I am eager to continue the series.
Magyk is an excellent fantasy novels for young readers. I would highly recommend this book to preteens and teens - particularly those who enjoyed novels like those in the Harry Potter series. It does not use foul language. There is a small number of violent encounters, none of which are graphic or gory. Magyk is a nice, safe read for young ones.