I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Magyk (2005) by Angie Sage has many typical children's magical fantasy genre elements: the lost seventh son of a seventh son possessed of extraordinary magic power, a princesses in hiding, an evil necromancer, good wizards, witches, and ghosts, supernatural creatures (like boggarts, brownies, and dragons), legendary magical artifacts (even a lost ring found underground in the dark!), and spells and magical rules for every occasion her page-turning plot requires.
Sage's novel adds to the genre a usurping dystopian governing body (the Custodians) with a penchant for rationalizing people, excluding women, and banning magic. Sage's good characters, a balanced mix of adults and kids, are very appealing and great fun to spend time with: Marcia Overstrand (the purple pointy python-skin shoe wearing ExtraOrdinary Wizard), Arthel Melle (the avuncular ghost of the former ExtraOrdinary Wizard), Silas (the unambitious and good-natured Ordinary Wizard who is a seventh son), Nicko (one of his sons who likes boats), Jenna (the princess on the run), Boy 412 (a member of the Young Army, "the Pride of today, the Warriors of Tomorrow"), and even Stanley the message rat (Sage does for message rats what J K Rowling never does for message owls: gives them their own point of view). And best of all Sage writes with enjoyable and engaging wit and style. I often laughed out loud at the lines her characters speak and the situations in which they find themselves. Magyk feels lighter and wittier than the Harry Potter books. Her slimy and poisonous Magog creatures are nightmarish, but also prone to greedy foibles, and her Dark Lord DomDaniel (back from the Badlands with a vengeance) snores and drools while he sleeps.
The fertility of imagination and richness of style in Magyk don't approach that in, say, Catherynne Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, but Angie Sage does write more magical magic than J. K. Rowling. Although Sage, like Rowling, does a fair amount of mundaning of the fantastic (as in having Marcia cast clothes cleaning spells), she is also capable of writing scenes that make the world come alive with a fresh perspective, as when the last Shield Bug goes into earnest and confused action, when the Dragon Boat appears in an underground temple, when the ghost of Arthel hugs Jenna and makes her "feel as though a warm summer breeze had wafted through her," when Boy 412 stares awe-struck at the "haze of [purple] Magyk energy" on Marcia as she casts a spell and sees her "brilliant green eyes glitter[ing] as she gaze[s] into infinity, observing a silent film that only she could see," and when Jenna goes outside Aunt Zelda's cottage to watch the marsh wake up in cold dawn beauty and thinks about her identity and family and childhood dreams and sees "a fishing boat crewed by chickens."
One thing lost in the audiobook version is Sage's portentous capitalizations and faux-archaic spellings of words like Magyk and Darke and use of bold font for the names of spells, because when the reader Allan Corduner says them they of course sound as if they were spelled and printed normally. But you gain so much by listening to the audiobook, because Corduner relishes reading the novel and keeps just the right 75-25 balance between tongue in cheek and heart in mouth, making everything more funny and magical and moving than it would be if one were only reading the physical book.
Will I go on to read/listen to the following six novels about Septimus Heap? Hmmm. If I find them on sale and myself with plenty of time I might, but I am in no hurry right now, because this first novel is a little longer than necessary and ends with satisfying closure.
This is one of the most satisfying children's fantasy books I've read and listened to I can remember. The characters are vivid and the mythology is clear and believable. As the first book in a series, I can hardly wait for the following instalments to the story! This is a series to keep your eye on. The audible version is
read incredibly well and kept us up all night listening.
I really like this book I can't wait to hear what happens next. Some of the people are frustrating but it was a great book over all. Even my kids like it.
I have listened to this audiobook lots of times. It is my favourite. I really like the characters and the reader. It is fun to listen to this while you play with your toys. It is very fun. What's great about this story, is that it is a series and it doesn't end quickly. Even when the series is done, I will be listening to them again and again.
This book was great! Even though it is a children's "chapter" book, it's a fun book for adults too. The story is engaging and the characters have personality - and the narrator is amazing!! He really brings the story to life. He does great voices for the characters who need them and his "singing"... Too funny! I'm thinking that I'll wait for the sequel to be recorded rather than read the book - if the narrator is the same. WONDERFUL!!!
Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.
This story jumps right in from the first page and keeps up a fast moving pace throughout, with ever changing, imaginative characters that were quite and altogether colorful. I was happy to hear that the film rights have been picked up by Warner Brothers and that they have announced that it will be a live action movie, with incorporated computer animated effects. I for one could definitely see all of these wonderful figures come to life. The clever humor sprinkled throughout lightened the feel of the adventure which sets it just a bit apart from the more serious Harry Potter Series. A great, clean read that has an interesting enough plot to keep children as well as adults entertained and I am looking forward to the rest of the Magykal (Septimus), series.
I am a book junkie that can't read in moving vehicles with an hour long commute (public transit). Audiobooks save my life!
I love this book! Harry Potter has been number one on my favorite list for a long time. It has been hard to top the Harry Potter books because those are so great, but this one is just as good!
I loved all of the characters in this book. They are all so unique and the other does well connecting them. The plot is great.
He does great voices; it was so fun to listen to.
Absolutely, positively magical!
When the truth was revealed in the pond.
He truly brings the world of Septimus Heap alive.
Yes and yes. I loved reading this book. I loved listening to it even more.
This is truly a wonderful series. If you loved Harry Potter, you will love Septimus Heap.
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This is a good book. I had never heard of this series before and decided to take a chance. It was worth the gamble. This is definately a good family-oriented fantasy series. Children of all ages will be entertained by this story and Allan Corduner does a fine job at telling it.