Septimus and Jenna have other plans, however. They are headed for the mysterious House of Foryx, a place where all Time meets and the place where they fervently hope they will be able to find Nicko and Snorri, who were trapped back in time in physik. But how will Septimus escape the Queste?
Queste, like all the books in the Septimus Heap series, is filled with nonstop action, humor, and fantastical adventure, as Septimus continues his journey of Magykal self-discovery.
©2008 Angie Sage; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
I bought the Septimus Heap audiobooks (4 of them so far) for son (age 5). And as always I listen to them first to make sure they aren't too scary for him (they're not). And this time I find MYSELF listening to them over and over again. LOL Every time I get to the end of Queste, I don't want to stop listening, so I just start at the beginning again! Gerhard Doyle is a wonderful narrator and the books are beautifully written, especially for those who like dreaming about life in a land with wizards and dragons. The characters are very real and again Gerhard Doyle does amazing voices for them. I love the EOW :-)
As a mother of very young children, I'm always on the hunt for books that interest me, yet are kid friendly. (no cussing, vulgarity, etc) I have enjoyed the entire series and this book was not a disappointment. I just wish there were more books in the series. These books will get listened to time and again.
This isn't the strongest book of the series, but moves the story along quite well and continues to develop the many characters and storylines. It's not on the same level as Rowling's or Flanagan's writing, but is well done and enjoyable. While there are some truly "bad guys" I am glad Sage chose to inject some self correction into Simon's character as he matures. Sage is an imaginative storyteller, and the narration is very well done.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
The plot of Queste (2008), Angie Sage's fourth novel in her seven-book Septimus Heap series, begins about six months after the events of the third book, Physik, which ended with Septimus and Princess Jenna returning to their present without their brother Nicko and his increasingly significant other Snorri Snorrelssen, who remained trapped 500 years in the past. Septimus has been trying to get the 500-year-old Alchemist Marcellus Pye (who, thanks to the tincture of eternal youth Septimus made for him, now appears to be a handsome thirty-year old man with a "funny haircut") to remember what Nicko and Snorri learned 500 years ago about the House of Foryx, "the place where all times do meet." Jenna wants to find the House so she can save Nicko, while Septimus' father Silas wants to search for the boy in the forest by the Castle. The oldest of the seven Heap sons, Simon, who went bad in the second book of the series and is now living with Lucy Gringe, wants to leave the Darke and return to the Castle. The ghost of the first Chief Hermetic Scribe, Tertius Fume, seeks to foment trouble for Marcia Overstrand (ExtraOrdinary Wizard and Septimus' master), while Merrin Meredith (the Darke Wizard Dom Daniels' former apprentice who thought he was Septimus for ten years) seeks to Darken the Destiny of Septimus. When Fume and Merrin make a deal, the titular Queste kicks in, connecting the others. Originally supposed to be a reward for outstanding Apprentices, the Queste is a curse, for none of the twenty Apprentices to attempt it over the centuries has ever returned. Septimus, at twelve only halfway through his apprenticeship, tries his best to avoid becoming the twenty-first to embark on the Queste.
As in each Septimus book so far, in this one Sage introduces appealing new characters, especially the expert Conservation, Preservation and Protection Scribe Ephaniah Grebe, who works in the Manuscriptorium's network of basement cellars and lives there away from other people because he is at least half-rat, while developing old characters, especially Merrin Meredith, who discovers the pleasures of freedom, power, pseudonyms, and candy and is an entertainingly repulsive anti-Septimus. Ephaniah and Merrin both have moments alone at night before the beautiful Castle lights, realizing that they represent "normal" people living without any awareness of being watched by an outsider. As for Septimus, although he is improving his magykal abilities, his ten years as Boy 412 in the fascist Young Army are still in his blood, he feels excluded when Jenna speaks nostalgically of her childhood in the warm happy Heap family, and he is coming to believe that he'd rather be a physician than a wizard.
I'm getting used to Gerard Doyle as reader of the Septimus audiobooks; his voice and style do enhance the story. He does a fine gruff, good-natured Beetle and a convincing Ullr meow. I noticed but one mistake, when he reads "Marcellus fixed her gaze on Septimus" and it should be "Marcia."
Sage freshly treats the tired fantasy quest, delaying its actual start for nearly thirty chapters while subtly showing that in a sense it began in the prologue (if not before), and playing with quests and free will, adventure, and change. And she again in this novel interestingly explores time. And she writes many rich descriptions to magically vivify her fantasy world:
--"Marcia breathed in the smell of old leather, decayed spells and paper dust."
--"As the panther slept, Ephaniah saw the orange tip on his tail expand and grow, the bright color traveling across the creature like the sun chasing away the shadows."
--"Far away to the left they could just make out the spindly outline of a structure leaping high into the air and disappearing into the fog. It looked beautiful--a delicate tracery of fine lines like a spider web suspended in space. And then the fog closed over it once more and it was gone."
--"They linked arms and together they stepped into the slow, muggy vortex of candle smoke and time."
Sage also writes many comical encounter scenes (usually involving Merrin), as well as many witty and memorable lines:
--"She looked like an exotic bird roosting with a troupe of scruffy sparrows."
--". . . just when she needed a practitioner of Darke Magyk, he had decided to reform."
--"You are no longer on the donkey cart of Time, forever trundling onward."
The occasional playful references to our world (e.g., "Gothyk" fashion trinkets and romance novels) are all right, but the many Gross Foods (e.g., Ma Custard's licorice snakes, slug sherbet, and spider floss, Stanley the rat's meal of old shepherd's pie topped with crunchy toenail clippings, and Silas' witches' breakfast of cereal and caterpillars) curry too much kid reader favor. And Sage overuses superlatives: e.g., "the loudest clatter," "the pointiest toes," "the most beautiful sled," "the smoothest ice," "the tallest trees," "the strangest place," "the deepest chasm," "the longest walk" he/she had ever heard/seen etc.
Although I can accept things like Jenna's biological father Milo Banda being absent for two straight novels, because Sage likes having her kids challenge difficulties on their own, Queste has a few too many unpleasant or unconvincing character actions that smack of plot contrivance: Jilly Djinn is way too obtuse; a ghost like Tertius Fume would never be given an important post; Jenna and Beetle would try to tell someone about Fume and Merrin; Sep wouldn't conceal the Questing Stone; Jenna wouldn't be so down on Snorri or dense about Ephaniah being Inhabited; etc.
Sage's often rich and magical style makes up for most of my kvetches, and people who like the first three Septimus Heap books would probably like this one.
I love how the characters are evolving as they are growing.
None that I have ready prior
Yes - I love the reader's voice and expressions through out the story.
I couldn't stop listening - I just finished and am downloading the next book now!
I love the septimus heap series - its good for adults and children - my son listens to it with me when he is around.
The title of the review says it all. I love this series. It has a quick pace, interesting characters to grow with and feel comfortable with.
I definatly recommend this book and series for 7-to adult. It is just plain fun!
I love this series, each chapter leaves me wanting to go on to the next. Has kept me up all night with this one because I feel like the characters are family. But Angie let me down on this one.
I feel that there were too many unanswered questions lingering in the air, and the final chapter seems a bit like an after thought.
I can't wait to hear the next in the series...
I love most books that transport me to another time and place & books that uplift my spirit.
This is the 4th novel in the series and I tell you I am truly enjoying myself. The story is so interesting that at times, I can't put my audio book down and listen late at night when I should be in bed. I highly recommend this series for anyone who is interested in Magical Fantasy storylines.
Sometimes books in a series are never as good as the first one, but I thoroughly enjoyed "Queste". I think this is the best so far.
I was sorry to come to the end.
The 4th great book in a wonderful series, enjoyed by all my family, and so sorry when we finished it. I do hope Angie Sage will be writing some more!!! Highly recommended, but listen to the others in the series first or you will miss out.
It's quite difficult for a writer to keep not only the ideas, plot lines and character play going in only one book, however, Angie Sage brings it together in all of the Septimus Heap books. The humour and satire brought to this book is exaggerated all the more by the performer narrating the story... Very good character depiction made me laugh all the way through.
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