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Magyk: 02/12/12

cover art

Magyk by Angie Sage is the first of the Septimus Heap books. Oddly enough, the book begins with Septimus's death and his parents' adoption of a newborn girl found in swaddling in the snow. Ten years later the Extra-Ordinary Wizard visits with the news that Jenna is the princess and heir to the throne. If they want to survive to see her become Queen, they have to go into hiding.

Readers might be wondering what happened to Septimus or why the series is named after a dead character. Consider the Septimus question as the B plot. It's there and the truth is hinted at throughout once the set up and character introductions are done.

Mostly, though, this first book is Jenna Heap's story. She's brave, resourceful, well rounded and likable. She's a believable ten year old. She's remarkable too in that she has a large, loving family to care for her. Don't let her adoptive status get in the way — adopted or not, she is a welcome member of the Heap family. And she loves her family as much as they love her.

The fact that she's had a normal (maybe not normal for a crown princess) and nurturing childhood is the first big clue that this book is not a Harry Potter clone. Next, wizards (anyone who uses magyk, male or female), live side by side with the regular folk. There's a wizard tower but it's not hidden behind spells or other magical subterfuge. Finally, the adults don't keep things from the children, nor is the big bad so big and so bad that his name can't be spoken.

The book was recommended to me (and my kids) by Pam of Bookalicious.

Five stars

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