Reviews for Magyk


Booklist Reviews 2005 March #2
Gr. 5-8. As the magically (make that Magykally) gifted seventh son of a seventh son, hated and feared by a powerful necromancer, Septimus Heap is more Harry Potter than Artemis Fowl. But unlike most characters who lend their names to fantasy cycles, Septimus--whose birth shortly before chapter one set this series in motion--is killed off in chapter one, whisked away by a midwife shouting, "Dead!" Fast-forward 10 years, when it becomes apparent that Jenna, a foundling girl whom the large, boisterous Heap family has adopted, has her own grand destiny to fulfill. As for Septimus, could it be that his death is more presumed than actual? Many will dismiss this first novel, put off as much by its obvious parallels to existing blockbusters as by elements of affectation (like placing all Magykal spells in distracting bold type). But scores of less-jaded youngsters will lose themselves happily in Sage's fluent, charismatic storytelling, which enfolds supportive allies and horrific enemies, abundant quirky details, and poignant moments of self-discovery. A CD-ROM with games and extras is tucked inside the front cover of the trade edition. ((Reviewed March 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
In place of their presumed-dead seventh son, the "Magykally"-inclined Heap family raises a changeling Princess, a decision that culminates in an epic flight from various villains and the less-than-surprising unveiling of the not-so-dead-after-all Septimus. Despite its unwieldy length, haphazard composition, and unoriginal setting, this fantasy (the first in a series) is a boisterous, undemanding, and occasionally hilarious debut novel. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2005 January #2
Heads up, Harry, there's a new young wizard on his way up. Ten years after a complicated bit of baby-switching, young Jenna learns that she's not a member of the tumultuous Heap household (six boys, just imagine), but a hidden Princess. The revelation comes as she's being swept to safety, her life forfeit to a crew of thoroughly knavish baddies headed by Necromancer DomDaniel. Along the way, she and her protector, ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand pick up not only an assortment of fugitive Heaps, but an orphaned pipsqueak dubbed "Boy 412"-who gradually exhibits stunning powers of Magyk, as the local brand of spellcasting is dubbed. Tongue firmly in cheek, Sage creates a vividly realized world in which pens and rocks can display minds of their own, and a forest "still had a bad wolverine problem at night, and was infested with carnivorous trees." Ultimately, Jenna and Co. overcome all such obstacles, as well as their sly, dangerous, but bumbling adversaries, and Boy 412's (thoroughly telegraphed) true identity comes out. A quick-reading, stand-alone, deliciously spellbinding series opener. (Web site) (Fantasy. 10-13) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 January #1
Sage's debut novel, the launch title of the Septimus Heap series, introduces the seventh son of a seventh son, destined to have deep magical powers but who, as the book opens, appears to have died soon after his birth. Silas Heap, the father (who is also a wizard), has just returned home after discovering a newborn baby girl in the snow, and finds Septimus being whisked away from mother Sarah by the midwife. On the heels of these events, Marcia, the newly appointed ExtraOrdinary Wizard, commands Silas to raise the baby as his own, which he does and names her Jenna. The author quickly reveals the girl's heritage via a busybody tavern owner who passes along some gossip: it seems the Queen was assassinated and the baby princess disappeared. The tale then jumps ahead 10 years, where readers find corrupt wizard DomDaniel trying to finish off the royal line. A chase lands Jenna and friends at the island home of the matronly Aunt Zelda, at which point the pace slows dramatically. The author introduces several subplots, summarized rather than dramatized, incorporating many cameos (e.g., Jenna's best friend and Simon's fianc‚e are mentioned in passing), and one boy claims to be Septimus. The author eventually reveals the real Septimus in a clever, if predictable, turn of events, making way for the next installments. Ages 9-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 April
Gr 4-8-A wide cast of characters battle the forces of Darke Magyk in a well-realized world of fantasy. At birth, Septimus Heap is carried away for dead, and his father, Silas Heap, is entrusted with a baby girl. When the villainous Supreme Custodian tries to assassinate the now 10-year-old Jenna, who, it turns out, is the daughter of the murdered queen, the girl flees to the Marram Marshes along with some family members, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, and a young army guard known only as "Boy 412." Pursued by the servants of the Necromancer DomDaniel, and aided by an engaging array of magical beings, they finally prevail in a satisfying and fairly exciting conclusion. Despite the hefty length, the novel is quite easy to follow. Many creative magical elements, such as the deliciously repulsive Magogs, add to the fun. Frequent point-of-view shifts give a well-rounded picture of the multiple plot threads and add many opportunities for light humor. On the other hand, with so many characters represented, it's hard to feel strong empathy for any of them. Jenna, the Queenling, and Boy 412, in particular, nearly emerge as full-blooded individuals at times, but neither quite stands out as an engaging hero. Villains are well drawn and varied, and most are more comical than truly menacing. The ease with which a once-formidable enemy like the Hunter is finally dispatched, however, detracts a bit from the eventual triumph of the protagonists. Overall, this is a fine choice for fantasy readers looking to delve into a new world with lots of magic, plenty of action, and a few neat surprises.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2005 February
Maybe one can judge a book by its cover. Certainly the striking cover of Sage's first Septimus Heap book will lure readers into this delightful new series. It is the tale of Silas Heap, Ordinary Wizard, who lives with his large family in a setting that feels like a Dickens England gone "magykal." Coming home on the night that his seventh son is born, Silas finds a baby in the snow. As he carries her home, he is instructed by ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand to say that the baby is his. Meanwhile his own seemingly healthy newborn son is pronounced dead and swept away by the midwife. Thus begins a tale in which the Heaps, Overstrand, and other eccentric characters find themselves in castle walls, Wizard's towers, garbage chutes, and an unforgettable swamp. Charms, potions, and a magykal ring entwine a princess, an evil hunter, a confused rat, and a host of others to uncover the mystery of Septimus Heap. Clearly Sage owes debts to J. K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien as familiar story elements appear throughout her tale. Young fans of the Harry Potter books will welcome this new series with open arms, and although it will snag some older fans as well, this book is clearly aimed at a younger audience. The fun, mystery, and rollicking characters will hook and satisfy those lured by the cover. The mini-CD included provides a wonderful interactive map for fantasy fans who need to see where they are. Middle school librarians will need to order many copies of this one.-Mary Ann Darby PLB $18.89. ISBN 0-06-057732-0. 4Q 5P M J Copyright 2005 Voya Reviews.

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