Sunday, April 21, 2013

Magyk: Septimus Heap – Book 1 by Angie Sage, Illustrated by Mark Zug

Image from
Katherine Tegen Books, 2006

Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh son, was born to poor, but loving wizard parents. But they are immediately devastated when the midwife pronounces the baby dead and takes him with her as she rushes out the door. On same night, another baby is born to the Queen. The Queen is assassinated, but the baby lives and is saved by the Extraordinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand, and the Heaps. The girl, Jenna, grows up unaware of her royal heritage until her eleventh birthday. A spy has discovered the princess and now Jenna, along with her father, brother, the enigmatic Boy 412, and Marcia must escape before the horrible Supreme Custodian and the Hunters can find them. And so begins a thrilling story set in a magical land of witches and wizards, talking message rats and helpful ghosts. There are narrow escapes, epic water battles, dueling wizards, and magic spells galore as the children and their allies fight the powerful necromancer DomDaniel as he oppresses the people and tries to take over the kingdom with dark magic.

This story of good versus evil reads like an ensemble piece, mostly due to the fact that the identity of the real Septimus Heap, the title character, is unknown for much of the book. Sage uses a third person perspective to follow various characters to weave together a complex and satisfying story. The dialogue is humorous and the descriptive observations paint a picture of this magical world without bogging the reader down with endless details. Black and white sketches throughout the book and an illustrated map provides further context for readers. Jenna, Nico, and Boy 412 are likeable, yet wonderfully childlike and flawed characters. Animals and magical creatures are featured in many supporting roles, including the smelly, yet loveable dog, Stanley the message rat, and the brown and muddy boggart. The first in a series of seven books (the final book was released earlier this month), this is a great recommendation for voracious readers who have already sped through the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books.
Read the first few pages of the book and find yourself immersed in a world where witches, wizards, and magic spells are part of everyday life.

Note: I listened to the audiobook version and enjoyed it immensely. Allan Corduner is an extremely versatile and lively narrator. Grab this audiobook for your next road trip.

*Use this title for a book club discussion. Check out these discussion questions from HarperTrophy.

*This is just the first book in the Septimus Heap series. The series continues with the following books:

Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

*More chapter books by Angie Sage:
Age 8+ / Grade 3+


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