Fyre: Wrapping It Up Sage-Style!

Fyre is written by Angie Sage. It was published in 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books. It is the seventh and last book in the Septimus Heap series. Sage’s website can be found here. The Septimus Heap site can be found here.

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Summary/Blurb:

“Now that Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle are fourteen years old, they have assumed larger roles in their Magykal world. Beetle is the Chief Hermetic Scribe of the Manuscriptorium and Jenna will soon be Queen, but Septimus is still battling the remnants of the Darke Domaine, which will remain until the power of the evil Two-Faced Ring is destroyed forever. To accomplish that, the ancient Alchemie Fyre must be relit—a task that sends Septimus to the very origins of Magyk and Physik, testing both his skills and his loyalties to ExtraOrdinary wizard Marcia Overstrand and Alchemist Marcellus Pye.

~Inside Flap

Passages/Quotes:

“Septimus,” he said. “Get out of the way. Take cover.”

Septimus heard the warning in Marcellus’s voice and slipped into the entrance of the Labyrinth. He peered out to see what was happening. Marcia was concentrating hard, unaware that Marcellus was now anxiously hopping around.

“Marcia!” said Marcellus. “Marcia. Can you do a protection thing?”

“Huh?”

“You need to do some kind of shield thingy.”

Marcia shot Marcellus an angry look. What was he doing? Didn’t he realize he was disturbing her concentration? If he carried on twittering like that he’d be lucky if he didn’t get the barricade dropped on his stupid shoes. “Thingy?” she snapped.

“Spell. I don’t know. Whatever you call it.”

~Sage 83

The Witch Mother watched Nursie’s treatment of DomDaniel in amazement. A new respect for her neighbor began to dawn. “Er…Nursie,” she ventured.

“What now?” demanded Nursie.

“Please accept my most humble apologies for any inconvenience that the Coven may have caused you in the past and my assurances that we will do all we can in the future to assist you in any way. Any way at all…” The Witch Mother made an awkward bow to Nursie.

Nursie was on a roll. Her enemies were falling before her like bowling pins and she was going to make the most of it. “And you, you smelly old bat—you can buzz off an’ all,” she snapped at the Witch Mother.

The Witch Mother continued bowing frantically and began to back away. “Yes, thank you. I will indeed buzz off as you so kindly suggest.”

~Sage 403-404

Cover Art

Warnings: None.

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Rating: 5/5

What I Liked:

It’s so wonderful to see everyone team up and take down the bad guys! And this time, there were no marginal antagonists, like Jillie Djinn in the last book. It was the Big Bad through and through. Almost everyone got to be awesome in this book, including Milo. There was a sad lack of Spit Fyre, though. I missed him.

Marcia! Where did you come from? Why was I suddenly legitimately afraid you would die, and was awfully sad to think that you might (seriously, at one point, I thought, “If Marcia dies right here, I will cry”)? You really just sneakily took over as Awesome Character! Also, your little plotline with Milo was unexpected, but definitely interesting. Also, this quote right here is really heartwarming:

“Marcia,” said Milo. “That was Jenna. I know my child.”

“And I know mine,” said Marcia. “I mean—I know Septimus.”

~Sage 626

Also, that moment when Septimus thought Marcia and Marcellus were a couple was hilarious.

Fan art

In all those awesome things they did, it was so wonderful to see the maturation and development of the characters really shine through. Jenna, for example. Oh, Jenna. How many times did you annoy me in the first few books? And now, look at you!

This is definitely what a conclusion to a series should be like. Wonderful job, Sage. Also, there’s a hint that she may continue the series (or, at least, write in the same world), so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that!

What I Didn’t Like:

 There wasn’t quite enough resolution for my taste, especially in regards to the romance, but this is a Middle Grade book, after all, and Jenna, Beetle, and Septimus are only fourteen, after all. It was Marcia and Milo I wanted to see more of, but that didn’t really happen. Except for that really sweet (as in sweet-cute, not sweet-cool) scene at the end.

I didn’t really like the implication that people who did Darke things weren’t responsible for them. (Example: “It was the Darke. Merrin was its tool, just as Simon was” in response to Septimus saying that Merrin killed Bertie). Once again, let’s just excuse away people’s behavior, shall we?

Overall Review:

Fyre is a wonderful ending to the Septimus Heap series. Development is finished and really shines through in the actions of the characters, and seeing everyone team up and defeat the villains is so awesome and heartwarming to read about. There were a few “ehhh” things, but overall, it was fabulous.

You can buy this book here: Septimus Heap, Book Seven: Fyre

Coming Up Next: Pillage by Obert Skye

Darke: I Applaud You, Angie Sage

Darke is written by Angie Sage. It is the sixth book in the Septimus Heap series. It was published in 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books. Sage’s website can be found here and the Septimus Heap fansite can be found here.

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Summary/Blurb:

“In the sixth book of the Magykal series, Alther Mella has been Banished, a Darke Domain engulfs the Castle, and a Darke dragon is on the loose. Septimus Heap must use all of his skills to save the Castle and the Wizard Tower from destruction: He must enter the Darke. But he cannot do this alone. With the help of Jenna, Alther Mella, Marcellus Pye, and Septimus’s estranged brother, Simon Heap, Septimus and Marcia Overstrand battle the spreading Darkeness. Will Septimus succeed in protecting his Magykal world?

Passages/Quotes:

“A rushlight burned steadily at the foot of the stairs, for which Jenna was grateful—because looking up the flight of bare, worn wooden stairs that disappeared into the darkness gave her the creeps. Telling herself that Septimus probably was right and there was nothing at all to worry about, Jenna began to climb the stairs. She told herself that if she got to the top and everything was all right, she would forget all about it, but when Jenna was one step below the top she stopped. In front of her was a deep darkness that seemed to move and shift as she looked at it. It felt as if it were alive. Jenna was confused—part of her was terrified and yet another part of her suddenly felt elated. She had the strangest feeling that if only she stepped up into the darkness, she would see everything she had ever wanted to see, even her real mother, Queen Cerys. And as she thought about meeting her mother, the feeling of terror began to fade and Jenna longed to step into the dark, into the best place to be in the whole word—the place she had always been searching for.”

~Sage 37-38

…When Simon’s human footsteps crept by, creaking the ancient floorboards, disturbing the air in a way that ghosts and Things do not, Sir Hereward ran up the passageway that led to Jenna’s room and ambushed Simon with a bloodcurdling yell of, “Have at you, Sirrah!”

You sir, I know who you are!” Whoosh whoosh.

Sir Hereward’s surprisingly powerful boom of a voice filled the thick silence—and stunned the governess into welcome silence.

“I see your Heap hair”—whoosh—“and your scar. The Princess has told me all about you”—whoosh whoosh. “You, Sirrah, are the black sheep Heap”—whoosh. “You are the wicked brother who kidnapped your own defenseless sister!” Whoosh whoosh whoosh Sir Hereward raged.

~Sage 295-296

Cover Art

Warnings: None.

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Rating: 5/5

What I Liked:

Sage has accomplished something truly remarkable, in my opinion. She has created a series that gets better and better with each book, something that does not happen often (usually there’s more hills and dips). I feel like with every review, I say “This is my favorite book in the series” and now, yes, I am going to say it again: This is my favorite book in the series. The sad thing is that I think this is the penultimate book; the seventh (how appropriate; seven is a Magykal number) and last book, Fyre just recently came out.

The plot is great, the characters learn new things and develop even more in every book, and the humor is still all there. Jenna is still a little annoying but she has some interesting things happen to her that I hope will soon be reflected in her actions.

I think Beetle is my new favorite character. Next to Spit Fyre, of course.

The evil and villainy seems to get worse with every book. The Things, the Darke Domain and the Darke Dragon were probably the worst and scariest yet, even though Merrin’s attitude really puts a damper on his villain status. Although villains can be annoying, too. I just prefer it when they’re not.

Wonderful job, Angie Sage.

Fan Art by henesystar on deviantart

What I Didn’t Like:

As I said above, Jenna has her annoying moments in this book, but she gets less and less annoying with every book; a sign of her growth, I think (not just as a character, but also in “growing up” growth). There’s only a few moments when I want to shake her.

Merrin, Merrin, Merrin. You brat.

Overall Review:

Septimus Heap is a series that continually gets better with every book, and Darke is the best one yet. A complex (for a middle grade book) plot, character growth and development, and even some suspense mixed with humor for comic relief, really make this book shine.

Coming Up Next: The Sin-Eater’s Confession by Ilsa J. Bick

Syren: These Books Just Keep Getting Better And Better

Syren is written by Angie Sage. It is the fifth book in the Septimus Heap series. It was published in 2009 by Katherine Tegen Books. Sage’s website can be found here and the Septimus Heap fansite can be found here.

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Summary/Blurb:

“In this fifth book in the Magykal series, Septimus ends up on a captivatingly beautiful island, one of seven set in a sparkling sea. He’s stranded there with his badly injured dragon, Spit Fyre, along with Jenna and Beetle. There are some strange things about the island, including a Magykal girl named Syrah, a cat-shaped lighthouse that has lost its Light, and an eerie presence that sings to Septimus—can he escape the persistent call?

Trouble is also brewing for Lucy and Wolf Boy, who have become entangled with some nefarious sailors at sea, and for Milo Banda, Jenna’s father, who is harboring a mysterious treasure chest in his ship’s hold.”

~Inside Flap

Passages/Quotes:

“I am a jinnee,” it replied.

“A what?”

Oh merciful spirits, this was a truly stupid one. “A jinnee,” said the yellow blob, very, very slowly. “Jin…nee.”

Merrin’s nose was blocked, his eyes were still watering from the jinnee incursion, and his ears were still buzzing from the whistling sight. He could hardly hear.

“You’re Jim Knee?” he asked.

~Sage 75-76

“I am Syrah Syara. I am nineteen years old. I come from the Castle. I was the ExtraOrdinary Apprentice of Julius Pike. I am Syrah Syara. I am Syrah Syara.

I am Syrah Syara. I am nineteen years old. I come from the Castle the island. I was am the Extra Ordinary Apprentice of Julius Pike. Island. I am Syrah Syara. I am Syrah Syara Syren.

I am Syren. I am ageless. I come from the Island. I am the Island. I am Syren. I am Syren. When I call, you will come to me.

~Sage 440

Warnings: None.

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Rating: 5/5

Cover Art

What I Liked:

Lucy Gringe, you are so great! I’m glad that you got a big role in this book. Also, Wolf Boy, you’re amazing too. I think these two characters are my favorite, besides Spit Fyre (yes, the dragon). I hope Sage brings them back as major/viewpoint characters again.

Sage is getting better with these plots. This one was great. There’s an especially nice, nail biting scene near the end that I thought was brilliant and absolutely loved. Syrah’s journal is also especially chilling and effective. It gave me shivers of dread, that’s how good it was. I think this is my favorite Septimus book so far.

Jenna wasn’t nearly as annoying this time! Yay! She actually listened to Septimus for once. I was terrified that she would try and join them anyway, all sneakily, and I would get annoyed at her again, but she didn’t. Way to go, Princess.

Jim Knee. Jim Knee the jinnee is fabulous. I’m liking the secondary characters more than the primary ones at this point.

This is the best thing ever.

What I Didn’t Like:

Merrin is the most ridiculous, ineffective character ever. Seriously, why is he still hanging around?  I hope he improves a lot in the villain department before Sage makes him the central antagonist.

Jenna had a few annoying moments near the beginning, but she gets better by the end (hooray!).

Overall Review:

This series is improving with each book; Sage is getting better and better with plot and character development. Syren is my favorite in the series so far because of the great atmosphere in some of the scenes. I also really love the magic system; Sage has done some great worldbuilding in the Septimus Heap series and I look forward to reading more about it. 

Coming Up Next: Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Queste: Let’s Smack Jenna For Being So Annoying

Queste is written by Angie Sage. It was published in 2008 by Katherine Tegen Books. It is the fourth book in the Septimus Heap series. Sage’s website can be found here and the Septimus Heap fansite can be found here.

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Summary/Blurb:

“Nicko and Snorri are trapped in Time, and Septimus Heap goes on a quest to find the House  of Foryx, a place where all Time meets.”

~Library of Congress Summary

Passages/Quotes:

“There was something about Marcia Overstrand that always seemed to fill the space she was in—and then some. Beetle instinctively stepped back to give the ExtraOrdinary Wizard more room.

“What on earth is this awful din?” Marcia shouted.

“She’s not here,” replied Beetle, who thought Marcia had asked, “Where on earth is the awful Djinn?”

What?

Beetle glanced desperately at the clock—had Jillie Djinn only been gone for such a short time? “Back in thirty minutes!” he yelled.

~Sage 89-90

The ghost of DomDaniel was enjoying himself. It had been a long time since he had been out anywhere interesting. The loss of the Two-Faced Ring had taken him out of a kind of limbo that he and his ghost had existed in after Marcia’s Identify. The Call to the Gathering had been so strong that at last his ghost was set free—a little shaky maybe, but out in the world at last.

DomDaniel was particularly enjoying the dramatic effect of his entry into the Wizard Tower. The look on the face of that awful woman, what was her name—Ghastlier Overland? Nastier Underhand?—well, that was worth waiting for. And it was good to see old Fume again. There were others he recognized too: that scruffy boy with the Dragon Ring—an Apprentice by the look of it. He’d seen him before…somewhere…what was his name? Oh, his memory was terrible. Almost wiped out by the…thingy. It was so unfair. What was that—what, what? Was someone saying his name?

~Sage 285-286

Cover Art 1

Warnings: None.

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Rating: 4/5

What I Liked:

These books are getting better and better plotwise. Very good plot in this one, with a few minor exceptions. It took a little bit to actually get into the Queste part of the book, but what came before it was all necessary. The character development is getting better, too. I like Septimus more and more. Spit Fyre is again awesome and Marcia Overstrand has her moments as well. I’m enjoying this series a lot and I’m glad that each book appears to be getting stronger. It makes me look forward for the next one all the more.

Also, Sage still has some great humor in here that never gets old or boring. It never seems like she’s trying too hard; it flows rather naturally.

Cover Art 2 (That kid looks YOUNG.)

What I Didn’t Like:

Jenna gets more and more annoying with every book. The stubborn  characters in this series are so exceedingly stubborn at times (coughMarciacough) that it’s hard to like them. Marcia, at least, has a few redeeming qualities. Jenna…not so much. I liked her at first but now she’s just a frustrating character to read because you want to smack her so often.

The way the Queste worked out seemed a bit too…convenient. So they decide to find this place and it just so happens that this is the exact same place that the Queste leads to? How…nice and convenient.

Overall Review:

Queste continues the (so far) successful Septimus Heap series with yet another success. Great character development, great interaction between characters, and an overall decent plot is starting to become the norm for this series. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Coming Up Next: Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman

Physik: Insert Witty Title Here

Note: I’m back! Did you miss me? I have a few things to talk about before going into the review: 1.) I’ve added a new category: Middle Grade! Those are for the books that aren’t YA, but aren’t exactly Children’s, either, such as this book series and Ordinary Magic. 2.) I’m still in danger of running out of book reviews, so I might have to go on another short break. However, I’m almost done with the next Series Week, so that will be up soon and will run for two weeks, since the series I’m doing has 13 books in it. After that, I’ll have to see how frequently I can post, but for now, I still intend to update every Tuesday. That’s it; on to the review!

Physik is written by Angie Sage. It was published in 2007 by Katherine Tegen Books. It is the third book in the Septimus Heap series. Sage’s website can be found here and the Septimus Heap fansite can be found here.

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Summary/Blurb:

“When Silas Heap unSeals a forgotten room in the Palace, he releases the ghost of a Queen who lived five hundred years earlier. Queen Etheldredda is as awful in death as she was in life, and she’s still up to no good. Her diabolical plan to give herself everlasting life requires Jenna’s compliance, Septimus’s disappearance, and the talents of her son, Marcellus Pye, a famous Alchemist and Physician. And if Queen Etheldredda’s plot involves Jenna and Septimus, then it will surely involve Nicko, Alther Mella, Marcia Overstrand, Beetle, Stanley, Sarah, Silas, Spit Fyre, Aunt Zelda, and all of the other wacky, wonderful characters…”

~Inside Flap

Passages/Quotes:

“Jenna could bear it no longer. She hurtled down the steps and arrived in the Robin Room just in time to see Septimus spring back from the Glass, slip on the shiny marble floor and fall. As he scrabbled to get up and away, Jenna screamed. Reaching out of the Glass were two old, wizened hands. With long bony fingers and curved yellow nails, they snatched at Septimus’s tunic, grabbed hold of it, then wrapped themselves around his Apprentice belt, dragging him toward the Glass. Frantically Septimus tried to pull away, kicking out at the clutching talons.

“Jen! Help, Je—” he yelled, and then there was silence. Septimus’s head had disappeared into the Glass as though sinking into a pool of ink.”

~Sage 118

“Bookbinder!” Marcellus snapped his fingers impatiently as he surveyed the Chamber in search of the missing craftsman. “Pray, you dullards and dolts, where hideth you the Bookbinder?”

“I hideth not, Your Excellency,” a voice quavered from behind Marcellus. “For surely, I be here. Even as I have so stood upon these close stones these last four hours or more. Indeed, I was here then and still I be here now.”

~Sage 257

Cover Art 1

Warnings: None.

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Rating: 4/5

What I Liked:

Remember my worries in my review of Flyte that DomDaniel would become a recycled villain? Well, I am happy to report that I was wrong. There is no sign of DomDaniel in this novel, and the villain is not nearly as ridiculous or comical; she’s actually quite sinister.

The old language used in parts of the book is really hilarious. It’s hard to read sometimes, but Sage uses it for some great comedic affect.

There was a lot that happened at the end of the book, and it didn’t wrap up quite as neatly as the first two had; it was more open-ended and more representative of a book in a series. It left more plot to wrap up in the following books, which I think is a good thing, especially since this is a series. It wasn’t a cliffhanger by any means, but it’s good that there are some things that still need to be resolved.

Septimus’s character development was very good and very realistic considering his circumstances. I like him more and more each book. Also, Spit Fyre is awesome.

Cover Art 2 (Oh, the Dark Drama of it)

What I Didn’t Like:

Jenna can be a little annoying at times. I’m not quite sure what it is; maybe it’s just plain old ten-year-old brattiness. Most of the time she’s fine, but at some points I was sick of her.

The villain is a lot more sinister than the ones in the previous books, but there is still a bit of ridiculousness to her that undercuts the villainy. Granted, it is a book for younger readers, as I’ve mentioned before, and I’m used to books geared for older readers with villains that are more developed and nuanced.

Overall Review:

Sage once again delivers. Physik is the best Septimus Heap book in the series so far, with great character development, great humor, and a very cute, very awesome dragon. There are a few minor issues that I had, but they were mostly because of the younger audience for whom the book is aimed.

Coming Up Next: Queste by Angie Sage

Flyte: Happy New Year Post! Also, Sage Scores Again

Flyte is written by Angie Sage. It was published in 2006 by Katherine Tegen books. It is the second book in the Septimus Heap series. Sage’s website can be found here and the Septimus Heap fansite can be found here.

This review will contain slight spoilers for Magyk.

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Summary/Blurb:

“It’s been a year since Septimus Heap discovered his real family and true calling to be a wizard. As Apprentice to ExtaOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand, he is learning the fine arts of Conjurations, Charms, and other Magyk, while Jenna is adapting to life as the Princess and enjoying the freedom of the Castle.

But there is something sinister at work. Marcia is constantly trailed by a menacing Darke Shadow, and Septimus’s brother Simon seems bent on a revenge no one understands. Why is the Darke Magyk still lingering?”

~Inside Flap

Cover Art 1

 Passages/Quotes:

“As they came out from the shadows of the Arch, Jenna and Septimus Heap saw Wizard Way spread out before them, bright and empty in the early morning sun. The huge white limestone slabs formed a broad avenue all the way to the Palace Gate, which glinted gold in the distance. Tall silver torch posts lined Wizard Way, holding the torches that were used to light the Way at night. That morning each one carried a blackened torch, which had burned out the previous night, and would be replaced and lit that evening by Maizie Smalls, the TorchLighter. Septimus loved the sight of the torches being lit; from his room at the top of the Wizard Tower he could see right down Wizard Way, and Marcia often found him gazing dreamily out of his wind­­ow at lighting-up time when he should have been doing his incantation preparation.”

~Sage 23-24

“Jenna did not really believe that Septimus’s Charm could turn a thick iron door into chocolate. But, as she pushed the Charm against the door, to her amazement she felt the hard pitted metal change into a smooth surface that was cool, rather than icy cold, to the touch. Something else had changed too. Jenna sniffed the air—the cell was filled with the faint smell of cocoa. Hesitantly, Jenna took the Charm off the cell door. The Charm was cool now; she slipped it back into her pocket and gazed at the door. At first Jenna thought it seemed much the same as it had before, except now, as she looked more closely, she could see that the trusty hinges and even the flap over the keyhole were beautifully molded in chocolate. Never in her life had Jenna seen so much chocolate and, unfortunately, never had she felt less like eating it.”

~Sage 180

Warnings: None.

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Rating: 4/5

What I Liked:

Yet another inventive, funny, and cute book from Sage. I loved the introduction of Spit Fyre and the return of the Dragon Boat. The magic is, of course, Magykal and lovely and oftentimes funny. I like the ghosts and the way they work and the way people react to them.

I often found myself frustrated when a character did not believe or went against another character, but I consider that a good thing; it means that I’m getting involved in the characters and am connected with the story.

I’m curious as to whether each story is going to bring back DomDaniel in some way, shape, or form. It was a good follow-up to the first book, but it can get old very quickly. I guess I’ll find out…

Cover Art 2. This cover is…ridiculous. What’s with the SEPTIMUS HEAP: WIZARD APPRENTICE (TM) on the top? In my opinion, the name colon subtitle is SO overused. Also, the dark and scary looking cover belies the humor of the text itself.

What I Didn’t Like:

Simon. Middle grade villains have a tendency to be very one-sided. DomDaniel was funny and villainous, but Simon was just ridiculous and villainous. Why was he even a villain in the first place? How did he change so much? It didn’t make much sense to me.

It’s never explained how Jenna gets back into the Palace and the Custodian Guards were ousted. It made me go, “Huh?” when I first started reading.

Overall Review:

Flyte, while being a very formulaic fantasy, is still a charming one. This series is one of the better middle grade fantasies and Flyte definitely continues in the same tradition as Magyk, with the same wit and charm and even more Magyk.

Coming Up Next: The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley

Magyk: I’m Just Rolling In Fantasy Book Reviews

Magyk is written by Angie Sage. It was published in 2005 by Katherine Tegen Books. It is the first book in the Septimus Heap series. Sage’s website can be found here and the Septimus Heap fansite can be found here.

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Summary/Blurb:

“The seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?

Cover Art

Passages/Quotes:

“Marcia left the breakfast things to wash themselves up and strode briskly out of the heavy purple door that led to her rooms. The door closed with a soft, respectful clunk behind her as Marcia jumped onto the silver spiral staircase.

“Down,” she told the staircase. It began to turn like a giant corkscrew, taking her slowly down through the tall Tower, past seemingly endless floors and various doors that all led into rooms occupied by an amazing assortment of Wizards. From the rooms came the sounds of spells being practiced, chanted incantations, and general Wizard chitchat over breakfast. The smells of toast and bacon and porridge mixed strangely with the wafts of incense that floated up from the Hall below, and as the spiral stairs came gently to a halt, Marcia stepped off feeling slightly queasy and looking forward to getting out into the fresh air. She walked briskly through the Hall to the massive, solid silver doors that guarded the entrance to the Wizard Tower. Marcia spoke the password, the doors silently swung open for her, and in a moment she was through the silver archway and outside into the bitter cold of a snowy midwinter morning.”

~Sage 32-33

“Boy 412 gazed at the ring in delight, seeing his find for the first time. It was like no ring he had ever seen before. Curled around his finger was a gold dragon, its tail clasped in its mouth. Its emerald-green eyes glinted at him, and Boy 412 had the strangest feeling of being looked at by the dragon itself. Excited, he stood up, holding his right hand out in front of him with his very own ring, his dragon ring, now glowing as brightly as if it were a lantern.”

~Sage 210

Warnings: None

Recommended Age Range: 10+

Rating: 4/5

Marcia Overstrand

What I Liked:

Despite the fact that this book is more middle-grade than YA, I really enjoyed it. It was funny, inventive, and charming. The magic system is generally nothing new, but it has new qualities to it, new ways of thinking and of exacting the magic. The villain, while being a comic villain, can be quite villainous.

I also liked the fact that, although this is only Book One, it can read as a stand-alone novel. It doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, there are no visible, gaping plot threads to be wrapped up, and there are no immediate questions to be answered. Instead, what’s left is more excitement, anticipation, and eagerness to read the second book, instead of the sometimes frustration and annoyance that can accompany a cliffhanger ending, etc.

It’s also extremely obvious what happened to Septimus, although Sage does throw in a red herring. The moment we are first introduced to him I knew who he really was. It may keep younger readers in the dark, but definitely not older ones.

Boy 412

What I Didn’t Like:

Nothing. It is for a younger audience than the books that I usually read, but I still had fun reading it and I am of the crowd that believes that some books are timeless.

Overall Review:

Magyk is a good middle grade fantasy that has enticing characters, an interesting setting, and a magic system that is just really fun to read about (helped by the bold type every time it’s mentioned: Magyk, Thunderflash, One-Minute Dry Cleaning Spell). It lacks the plot intricacies of other fantasy novels, but it has charm and is overall quite magykal.

Coming Up Next: The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine