Magyk: Septimus Heap by Angie Sage ReviewKatherine Tegen Books, March, 2005
Hardcover, 564 pages
Ages 9 and up
Septimus Heap was born the 7th son of a 7th son, and we all know what that means: a powerful wizard has been born. But just after young Septimus is born to his very pleasant wizarding parents, the baby is declared dead by the midwife. On his way home through the forest, Septimus' father, Ordinary Wizard Silas finds an infant baby girl whom he and his wife adopt at the urgings of the ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia. When the baby girl Jenna is ten, Marcia tells the Heaps that the girl they have raised is really the long-lost princess and heir to the Kingdom. Jenna's secret has come to the ears of the evil necromancer DomDaniel, who has taken over the Kingdom, murdered wizards and taken over Marcia's home in the wizards' pyramid. Now Marcia, Jenna, the Heaps and a hapless army guard named Boy 412 are on the run to escape their fate. They make their way to the Marram Marshes to shelter at Aunt Zelda's. But DomDaniel will not be defeated so easily, and he has the dreaded Hunter on their trail.
Angie Sage is well-known as an author of picture books and chapter books, and she easily makes the jump to full-length young adult novels with Magyk. Ms. Sage creates a solid foundation for a projected series with this entertaining story full of wizards, magic, legends and adventures. With the exception of some pacing problems in the middle of the book, the story moves along quickly. Because Septimus is presumed dead, the attention shifts to Princess Jenna as the heroine although she is somewhat one dimensional. But if the children are not quite as fleshed out in this first book, Ms. Sage more than makes up for it with the hilarious ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia and her mentor, the ghost wizard Alther. Boy 412 is exceedingly grumpy for most of the book, but he becomes much more likeable when he finds a magykal ring and really comes into his own. The magykal spells are set off in bold type which makes it much easier for any parent reading aloud to take her cue to read that word specially, which is a nice innovation. Reminiscent of some of Diana Wynne Jones' works, Magyk is an excellent start to what is sure to be a popular series.
Ordering information: Amazon.com