Angie Sage – Magyk
Length: 580 pages
Genre: Mid-grade Fantasy
Started: 09 June 2011
Finished: 12 June 2011
Where did it come from? BookMooch / Free Kindle download.
Why do I have it? I don’t entirely remember, but it was probably on a list somewhere of suggested post-Harry Potter reading?
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 12 January 2009.
Being the lone girl
in a house with six boys is
tough, magic or no.
Summary: It was a fateful winter day: the Queen was murdered in her chamber by an Assassin, and power was seized by the Custodians; Sarah Heap gave birth to her seventh son, who died shortly thereafter; and her husband, the wizard Septimus Heap, found a baby girl abandoned in the snow. Ten years later, and that young girl has become Jenna, who has no idea that she is not a Heap by birth, but is actually the rightful Princess. As soon as she learns this, however, she’s in danger from the evil Necromancer DomDaniel, who wants to seize power for himself. Together with the Supreme Wizard Marcia Overstrand, Jenna, the rest of the Heaps, and a nameless boy they rescue from the Young Army must flee the city and hide themselves, with only their Magyk to protect them from DomDaniel’s Darke forces, and with little hope of ever restoring Jenna to her rightful place.
Review: Mid-grade fantasy is not my favorite genre. Young adult, fine & great, but I’ve read too many mid-grade novels that just don’t quite make the jump to adult readers (at least this adult reader.) So I’m always pleasantly surprised when I come across a mid-grade fantasy that is absorbing and enjoyable, and whose mid-grade-ness I don’t find overly distracting, and Magyk was one of those novels. (I could have done without the convention of capitalizing and bolding every Magical Term or Spell, though: too affectedly cutesy for my tastes.)
In a lot of ways, Magyk was pretty standard fantasy fare: the evil dark lord seizing power, the missing royal heir being raised by a poor family, none of this screams originality. Similarly, while younger readers might find the plot twists surprising, older readers should be able to spot Boy 412’s importance to the story from very early on. On the other hand, Sage is clever and inventive enough with the details of her world and her story that her use of fantasy tropes seems more like gently poking fun at the genre’s conventions, rather than slavishly adhering to them. There’s plenty of silly, quirky humor for the younger set, of course, but there’s also some sly snarkiness to a lot of the story that made it an enjoyable read for grownups as well. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Overall, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, and while I’m not dying to get my hands on the sequels, if they cross my path, I’ll certainly read them. Definitely recommended for young fantasy fans, and worthwhile for older fantasy readers who need something light and fun as a change of pace.
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First Line: Silas Heap pulled his cloak tightly around him against the snow.
Vocab: (see the whole list)
- Location 3469: “Boy 412 knew he should really just go back to his book but somehow Thaumaturgy and Sortilage: Why Bother? was not as interesting as what Aunt Zelda was up to.” – the working of wonders or miracles; the drawing of lots for divination; both terms also just mean “magic”.
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