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Thirteenth Child | [Patricia C. Wrede]

Thirteenth Child

Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent - and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild. With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternate history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
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Publisher's Summary

#1 New York Times best-selling author Pat Wrede returns to Scholastic with an amazing new trilogy about the use of magic in the wild, wild west.

Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent - and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.

With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternate history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

©2009 Patricia C. Wrede (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

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3.9 (1064 )
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  •  
    Erin - Audible Jersey City, NJ 07-12-13
    Erin - Audible Jersey City, NJ 07-12-13 Member Since 2010

    Nothing I love more than a well-rounded character and intense plot.

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    "History, Magic, Teens, & Not An Inkling of Romance"

    First of all, Thirteenth Child's lack of romance is extremely refreshing. There are a lot of YA series out there with strong female leads, and there's almost always a romance in there... but not here. Maybe in the later books.

    Eff isn't unique in her tomboy-ish characteristics; that's a familiar trope in modern YA literature, but she's more Laura Ingalls or Jo March than Katniss Everdeen. She's remarkably normal for a world full of magic - then again, this is a world where magic is seen as a given, and its the Revisionists (affirmed non-magic users) are seen as radical.

    Wrede writes a world that makes no bones about life with magic being easier, and finds suitable, unexpected consequences for that magic. Magic in Columbia isn't opposite of nature, it's an instrinic part of it - and as our environment adapts and changes with our use of it, so the magic does in Eff's world.

    Amanda Ronconi is a fine narrator, and I liked what she did with Eff's character and did adore the voices she chose for the men - particularly Wash, a character who appears about 2/3 of the way through the book. I don't know if it was a specific choice on her part, but she made Eff and Lan's voice relatively similar (they're twins!) and I liked that. Otherwise, the narration was a little slow, but it suited the tone of the story.

    Overall, the plot isn't particularly surprising or exciting, but it's a solid tale with good world creation, and fleshed-out characters. I was able to stop and start listening with relative ease... I think it took me about two weeks to go through it, listening for a few hours every couple of days. It was easy to fall back into the story, and Amanda Ronconi helped with that familiarity a lot.

    27 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail Wood Central, NY 04-10-14
    Gail Wood Central, NY 04-10-14 Member Since 2013

    Librarian, reader, commuter. I got tired of the radio and CDs and switched to audio books. Now I listen to books while I quilt, clean, etc

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    "Wild Magic in the Wild West"
    Any additional comments?

    Eff is the twin sister of the seventh son of a seventh son. She is also a thirteenth born. In this alternate universe just after the War of Secession, birth order is an important factor in this world where magic and ordinary live in uncomfortable partnership. From her birth, members of the family point out everything bad as her fault and are waiting for her to turn evil. She begins to believe it. In contrast, her brother's exalted magical status makes him lucky and magical beyond belief.

    When the twins are five years old, their father gets a job as a professor of a college on the western frontier. Their father, a professor of magic, is an exciting addition to this college. The twins and the other siblings grow up and flourish in this environment. Eff learns confidence, makes friends, and learns to think through the negative message about her birth order.

    There are lots of adventures and explorations in this entertaining novel of a world and history not-quite-ours.

    This was an audio book and the narrator did a wonderful job capturing the different accents, genders, and the character of Eff.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jessica MINNEAPOLIS, MN, United States 05-13-14
    jessica MINNEAPOLIS, MN, United States 05-13-14 Member Since 2007
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    "marvelous performance nice coming of age story"

    I would never have gotten this if it hadn't been on 3.99 special. This IS a YA story but its a good one, so it works for me. I think the Laura Ingalls meets Harry Potter tag is apt as far as it goes - but in this one Magic isn't a secret world - its a mainstream political issue. I am interested in seeing how the sort of "amish" no magic fringe plays out. Its always good to investigate ways of resisting.

    Its a slow but engaging start - the pov girl is only 5 when the story opens but she hears things, and shes 13 or so by the middle.

    I usually avoid female narrators. Not always, mind- there are several that I really like - its a tone/ pitch thing I think- but this performance is great. There are subtleties of accent and pitch that are mindblowing and shes never ever squeaky.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CJ 06-11-13
    CJ 06-11-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Great story-total surprise- next one please"

    Great series start. I was pleasantly wowed by this unknown author, as we follow Eff, the "unlucky" thirteenth child as she grows into her magical own. What I loved: book translated to adults. No formula love triangle. Female heroine. Good adventure. Good storytelling...and great narrator. The bad: Could have had some more complex characters. Overall, a great, light adventure tale that I really enjoyed- hope they release the next two soon!

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 05-31-14
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 05-31-14 Member Since 2005
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    "If the "Little House on the Prairie" had magic."

    Interesting concept. I liked it enough to finish listening to it and ended in a place that suggests a sequel. Nothing terribly new or exciting for the fantasy reader. Might be a fun story for the fans of "Ann of Green Gables" or "Sara, Plain and Tall"

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie 06-20-13
    Connie 06-20-13
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    "Little House on the Prairie meets Harry Potter"

    Wow, I really enjoyed the first book of this series. As I understand it, imagine the 1800's and the Wild West mixed in with wild unbelievable creatures (including mammoths!) and magic as part of the everyday lives of these pioneers. The author does a great job at the world creation of this alternative reality, and though the descriptive aspect of the series might turn off some readers, it's well balanced with good character development and some adventure. The reader, Amanda Ronconi, is a favorite of mine from the Molly Harper books, but she does a great job reading for this new series. It could use a little bit of romance, though there's a hint of something in the air, but I guess I'll need to read the rest of the books to find out if my feelings are correct. I really look forward to the rest of the series.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meghan Beaver Dams, NY, United States 06-16-14
    Meghan Beaver Dams, NY, United States 06-16-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Refreshingly un-teen angsty"

    Let me start by saying I liked this book enough to read all of them in just a few days.

    The book had been in my wish list for quite some time, and I just kept ignoring it fearing it was another teen romance just set in a new place (which it is not). I finally gave it a listen because of the narrator she is one of my favorites. There are a few that I am willing to try any book they have read Amanda Ronconi, Renée Raudman, Lorelei King, Cynthia Holloway, and Marguerite Gavin. I am happy I did.

    This book has been compared with the Harry Potter series. I do not really get that (except for the magic). Rowlings is absolutely brilliant, and gives rich twisting details to her plot and characters, but the kid going to wizzarding school has been done before (not as well mind you). Wrede's story felt different to me. I am not sure I have read a book like it before.

    The story follows Eff (don't let the name bother you like it did me it is a nickname). She is born the thirteenth child of a seventh son. She also has a twin that is the 7th son of the 7th son (which we have seen before). She is told for most of her young life that being the 13th is a bad thing. Through out the story the idea of the thirteenth child is explored, and through it Eff grows and starts to find out who she no matter what order she was born in.

    I like the family dynamics in this book. It gave the story more depth. They were not all lovey dovey all of the time but they did love each other. From the twin who was the favorite whether he wanted to be or not, to the older bossy sister they enriched the story. I adored the parents. It was nice to have kind loving caring parents rather than the mean, indifferent, quirky, uncaring, or too busy parents that have been in a lot of the books I have read recently. This probably where the Laura Anne Wilder comparisons come in (that and the west themed)

    I love a good western, and this was. Yes there was magic but you still had the horses and a lot of the other stuff that goes into westerns. What made it interesting is the idea that the town is along the Mammoth (Mississippi) River and that on the other side of it is all of these creatures from dragons to mammoths to wooly rihnasorous to bison. If you simply cross the river where the magic wall is you are taking your life into your own hands.

    It was nice not to have a romance instead Wrede concentrated on Eff finding out who she is. I highly recommend this series

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Midwest, United States 10-14-14
    Jennifer Midwest, United States 10-14-14 Member Since 2012
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    "repetitive"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I get it that this is a YA book. I finished it, but teens deserve a well-crafted story. This would have been better if the author explained the different types of magic early on in the book. Alternative history is interesting, but the story didn't captivate.


    What was most disappointing about Patricia C. Wrede’s story?

    Eff is a self-pitying sad sack who lets others around her control her destiny. If i heard the phrases "13th child" or "7th son of 7th son" ONE more time i think i would have screamed.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Amanda Ronconi?

    I bought this because of Amanda! I absolutely love her in Molly Harper's books.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointed.


    Any additional comments?

    Try Joseph Delaney's series The Last Apprentice instead.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaye 08-24-14
    Kaye 08-24-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Fun, but not much plot"

    Read from August 02 to 14, 2014

    What a fun book! I did find myself wondering several times while listening where it was going and what the point was, as there isn't really much of a linear plot to it; but it was engaging enough to overlook that for the most part. The audiobook had a sample of the second book in the series, too, and now I'm really looking forward to that one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Sequim, WA, United States 07-16-14
    Bonnie Sequim, WA, United States 07-16-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A fascinating alternate history for our land"

    Eff struggles to find her place while seeking to limit the damage she might cause, what with being the thirteenth child born to her family and the older twin to her brother Lan, a seventh son of a seventh son. Everyone knows, after all, that Double Sevens are both lucky and powerful natural magicians, while thirteenth children are bad luck to have around and certain to go bad. But in trying to control the curse she fears lies on her, is Eff likely to destroy her own considerable magic power?

    Far from the prejudice shown by her father's family back east, Eff finds Mill City on the Mammoth River to offer far more acceptance than she'd known as a small child. And as she grows she becomes increasingly fascinated by the lands west of the Great Divide where a powerful magic boundary runs along the river, keeping creatures such as mammoths and wooly rhinos, sphinxes and ice dragons west of the mixed spells set up to protect the settled lands. In this alternate United States, after all, magic is a real source of power; and it is both respected and necessary for those who wish to settle in the plains west of the river. Or, is it as necessary as is commonly believed?

    Patricia Wrede has written a fascinating first volume in what promises to be an entertaining and thought-provoking series of a girl growing up on the leading edge of a growing nation in which magic is a common feature of life. Perhaps inspired equally by Laura Ingals Wilder, J.K. Rowling, and Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series. Narration is good, but could be better, I think.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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