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Publisher's Summary

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of his family's cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned's mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it's Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

In the meantime, in another kingdom across the forest that borders Ned's village lives Áine, the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother's last words to her: "The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his." But when Áine and Ned's paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over?

©2014 Kelly Barnhill. Published by arrangement with Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing, Inc. (P)2014 HighBridge Company

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful story

I love the way this author writes! It's like a lyrical fairytale.

"A word, after all, is a kind of magic. It locks the substance of a thing in sound or symbol, and affixes it to the ear, or paper, or stone. Words call the world into being. That’s power indeed."

This is a story of love and loss, loneliness and friendship, and hope and courage. And magic, of course!
Ned is told he's the "wrong boy" by everyone in his village. He is small and weak and overlooked by all. Yet, when bandits attack, Ned takes action to protect everyone. He sets out on his adventure and meets practical, sharp Aine. Oh, how I love Aine!

The only thing I didn't like was the voice the reader uses for the magic's words. I feel like the scratchy way he reads it is distracting from the tone of the rest of the novel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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amazing

everything about this was amazing. can't wait to listen all over again. read and written beautifully.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not as good as expected

I read this after being absolutely blown away by The Girl Who Drank the Moon, also by Kelly Barnhill. This was nowhere near as good--much less imaginative, much less charming, and didn't pull together at the end (or anywhere along the way, really). Also, the narrator spoke in the exact same cadence and inflection for nearly the entire book, making everything sound sinister even when it wasn't. Barnhill is a great writer but this is not her best work.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Engaging Read

I quite enjoyed this book. The pace was good; it moved between character situations regularly enough that you never lost track of them; and the story is excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fun read

Narrator was easy to listen to. story was fun and entertaining. I will read more of authors works.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Lovely

I adore stories that build up a sort of nostalgia in me for people and places I've never known before. The turn of phrase and character descriptions in this story made it feel as if a storyteller was taking me by the hand on the journey with the characters. I look forward to reading more by Kelly Barnhill and being gently swept away again.

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phenomenally done!

Read read read and would read again.
Touched me in a part of my own life!

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This is good , not violent

I enjoyed the dramatization, good voices and accents. Story line kept my interest while driving. Will there be a sequel?

2 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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It was really good

I read the book and the audiobook Minh vivid kin hub Jan nihilism hu hu

0 of 9 people found this review helpful