Magyk: A Review

It’s summer time.  My synapses are firing in heat-induced slow motion.  Edit that chapter or compose a coherent sentence, I think not.  But it is a perfect day to flop on the couch with a cool drink in one hand and a good book in the other.  Ah, yes, time for summer reading.

My kids have an ongoing competition to see who can read the most.  My son currently holds the lead at nine novels, but my daughter isn’t far behind.  I’m the laggard in the group at a mere four since mid-June.  And our favorite summer reading fare?  The MG/YA novel.

I’ve just finished Angie Sage’s Magyk, the first book in her Septimus Heap series.  My kids adore this series and have read each book numerous times as the dog-eared pages attest.  They own all five books published so far.  I expect that there will be seven in total.  Despite their enthusiastic recommendations (They loved the humor!), I was hesitant.

Septimus Heap was born the seventh son of a seventh son, destined to be a wizard with great magical powers.  But the newborn boy is declared dead and spirited away shortly after birth.  In his place, the Heaps are given a foundling baby girl to raise her as their own.  When the girl’s life is threatened by assassins, the Heaps must protect her and in the process discover what really happened to their infant son.

Author Angie Sage tells the tale via an omniscient narrator.  With no single point of view, this makes it difficult to latch on to the plight of the characters or to identity the main protagonist.  I found the start slow and the constant head-hopping distracting.  (At one point, we were even inside the head of Maxie, the Heap’s family dog.  My kids found this hilarious.)  I was about to give up, but my crew persuaded me to stick with it. 

For me, the story picked up with the arrival of the Hunter.  Now the stakes were clear: I had a villain to oppose and a protagonist to cheer for.  From this point on, the plot unrolled at a speedy clip right up until the satisfying ending.  Along the way, I enjoyed the humor and Sage’s engaging cast of characters.

Collectively, we give Magyk five out of six thumbs up.  (Maxie the wolfhound gives it seven gobs of dog drool.  If you haven’t already guessed, seven is an important number in this series.)


5 Responses to Magyk: A Review

  1. Susan McClurg Berman says:

    Congrats on your summer reading and that of your kids. When I went to boarding school and commuted to Maracaibo for summers, I packed at least a half suitcase of books – most of which was the up coming years’ required reading list. Amazing how much reading one can do with no television. Thanks for the book recommendation.

    • chs says:

      Actually, it was my kids’ recommendation. I’m just happy that they’re still interested in reading. “Amazing how much reading one can do with no televison.” So true. Although now it’s video games and the internet that compete for attention.

  2. I haven’t garnered much free time this summer for reading. I was happy to finish “The Book Thief” in time for book club this coming Friday. I started “Honolulu” by Alan Brennert and am loving it!

  3. I loved The Book Thief. Talk about unique. It’s like the Diary of Anne Frank, but the main character (as viewed by our narrator – death)is a young german girl whose family is hiding a Jew. Highly recommend it.

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