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