After learning that she is the Princess, Jenna is whisked from her home and carried toward safety by the Extraordinary Wizard, those she always believed were her father and brother, and a young guard known only as Boy 412--pursued by agents of those who killed her mother ten years earlier.
I had heard of the Septimus Heap series before, but for some reason never felt the urge to read it. Then I got the second book, Flyte, for a really good price and suddenly I didn’t have any excuse to not read at least the first two books. And guess what? They rock!
Like in nearly every YA fantasy book, there’s at least a few cliches of the genre in here, the biggest being the super-special seventh son of a seventh son. Then there’s the whole good magic is white, bad magic is black thing, and, of course, hidden legacies. It gets terribly boring to keep seeing these things over and over again, but eventually you just have to get over it and enjoy the book (if you can). Me, I’m keeping an eye or for a super-special seventh daughter of a seventh daughter.
Anyway, Magyk isn’t entirely like other YA fantasy books in that the title character doesn’t actually show up– alive– until around 50-ish pages in, and even then I didn’t know if he was really Septimus Heap or not. I had suspicions, as Ms. Sage very kindly sticks a lot of hints around for me to stumble over, but there’s not definite proof until the very end. It makes for very interesting reading, actually.
I loved the writing; it was lighthearted and conveyed humor in a rather subtle way, but it also talked about horrible things (like murders) in a sensitive way, while thankfully not lingering on any angst.
I loved the characters too, even the annoying, slightly evil ones, like DonDaniel’s Apprentice. Simon, the oldest Heap brother with delusions of grandeur, however, was a complete irritant. Makes a good villain, though, as we see in the next book. (Hope that wasn’t too much of a spoiler.) He’s balanced out by the good Heap kids, of course, though three of them take to a forest and stay there for the rest of the book. Mr and Mrs Heap, likewise, are mainly in the first part of the book and stay pretty much out of the middle bit, before dropping back in at the end. I suppose this keeps the plot from getting too clogged with characters I don’t care about, which is handy seeing as there’s so many already. The ones I did care about were, of course, main components of the story, so it all worked out!
For those who don’t mind a bit of a cliche, but who love a good story that moves quickly and keeps you on your toes, I highly recommend Magyk!
Read: February 2009