As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

April 19, 2011

MAGYK by Angie Sage, 2005

Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1)The seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby's father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a new born girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus? (Amazon)

Review by Laura Madsen, mom, veterinarian and writer

MAGYK is the first book of the middle-grade fantasy series, SEPTIMUS HEAP, somewhat in the style of HARRY POTTER. Septimus Heap—the seventh son of a seventh son—was destined to become very powerful in magyk. But he died as an infant.

Instead, the Heap family raises Jenna, the baby daughter of the assassinated queen, keeping her identity secret until her tenth birthday. Marcia, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, who along with the wizarding Heap family remains loyal to the late queen, takes the princess to the Wizard Tower. Along the way, they save a pathetic ten-year-old orphan boy, called Boy 412 by the Young Army, who is nearly frozen to death at his guard post. Jenna’s adoptive dad, Silas Heap, her brother Nicko, and the family wolfhound Maxie follow them to the Tower.

An assassin bursts into Marcia’s chambers and the motley group escapes by hurling themselves down the Tower rubbish chute. Thus begins a series of adventures as the Heap family, along with Marcia and Boy 412 (who we learn is more than he appears), evade assassins, learn about magyk, fight against the evil wizard, etc.

Ms. Sage’s magyk system is well-developed and creative. Spells are written down on Charms for later reference, and Charms may be sold or passed from wizard to wizard. The Charm can be “written on bits of silk, wood, shells and even toast, although that one had not worked properly, as mice had nibbled the ending.” Magykal creatures include Message Rats, Shield Bugs, the otter-like Boggart, diabolical Brownies, and a golden Dragon Boat.

The chapter endings are often cliffhangers designed to keep one reading past one’s bedtime, such as the end of Chapter 15: “A slimy mud-brown hand with webbed fingers and broad black claws had reached out of the water and grabbed the end of her canoe.”

The Heaps are a lovable bunch. Like the wizarding Weasley family in HARRY POTTER, the Heaps don’t have much money, but their home is full of kids and books, love and loyalty. A description of their home:

“If you were foolish enough to cast your eye around the Heaps’ room hoping to find a space in which to sit, the chances were a book would have found it first.”

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Highly recommended for kids and teens, and should appeal to both boys and girls.

Market: Middle Grade (fantasy)
Language: none
Sensuality: none
Violence: mild (bad guys, pistols, Darke Magyk, creepy villain)
Mature Themes: good vs. evil, kidnapping, murder, political propaganda (Boy 412 has been raised by the Young Army to oppose anything or anyone magykal)

Book formats:

To learn more about the author, visit: Angie Sage


Anonymous said...

I haven't read this whole series yet, buy I have read MAGYK. I enjoyed it! Thank you for this great review, Laura!

Anonymous said...

I am a huge fan of Angie Sage and have read the whole series (can't wait for Darke to come out soon). Thanks for the review..I totally agree..


Amoniel said...

I have this series! Rather liked it too :)