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.)