Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Talk - Septimus Heap: Magyk



 ***SPOILER ALERT***
If you think you might want to read this book, but don't want to know ANY spoilers, then save the reading of this review for later.  If you don't mind a few spoilers: read on!

So, I told you I was reading the Septimus Heap books.  Well, I finished the first book in the series - Magyk - so let's talk about it.  The series was written by Angie Sage, who, I must say, has a way with words.

The story opens with Silas Heap, the father of the Heap family, walking home to the Heap room in the Ramblings.  His wife, Sarah, has just given birth to their seventh son, Septimus.  On his way through the woods, Silas sees a bundle lying on the ground.  Picking it up, he realizes it is a baby, roughly the same age as their new baby.  Silas decides to take the baby home, but not before being confronted by ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand, who tells him he must never tell anyone he has this baby.

When Silas returns home, he is met by the nanny sweeping out of the house with Septimus.  Silas is told that Septimus has died unexpectedly.  He and his family have no reason to believe otherwise because, as it appears to them, he is dead.  Over the years, the family learns to cope with the loss of Septimus and also raises the found baby as one of their own. 

When the book comes to the current year, Jenna - the found baby - is 11.  The Heaps and their noisy room are in full swing of learning and being boys.  Everyone adores Jenna and takes care of her splendidly.  On her 11th birthday, however, it is found out that she is the long lost Princess.  Marcia Overstrand has known this all along, and has arrived to tell the heaps that Jenna has been recognized and now the Assassin, obviously, wants her killed just as her mother was many years ago.

Marcia, in an effort to help save Jenna, takes Jenna to her room in the wizards tower.  When they arrive at the tower, they find a young boy about Jenna's age collapsed and freezing outside.  He is called, we later find out, Boy 412.  Jenna and Marcia bring the boy inside to warm him up.  While there, Silas and Nicko arrive, and everyone finds out that DomDaniel, former ExtraOrdinary Wizard and current Necromancer, is on his way.  They escape by riding down the rubbish chute, where they are almost discovered by several different people. 

Eventually, Marcia, Jenna, Silas, Nicko and Boy 412 end up at the Heap's Aunt Zelda's house.  This is not before outwitting the Hunter - who has been charged with finding them and killing Jenna.  They use many methods to outwit the Hunter, including an almost impenetrable fog and a mirror spell of their own boat.  Once they arrive at the Marsh, the group meets the Boggart, who leads them up to Aunt Zelda's home.  For a while, they are safe.

Throughout the rest of the novel, there are many things that happen that should be known for future reference in the other books:

* Three of the younger Heap Boys attend a witches party in the woods with their father and end up going wild and living in the woods. 
* Boy 412's true identity is revealed
* Simon Heap, the oldest child in the family, becomes jealous at the revelation of who boy 412 is and also at the fact that boy 412 is named the apprentice to Marcia Overstrand.  Simon had been under the impression that he was going to be named Marcia's apprentice.


There are just a few things about this book that were of a bother to me:

1. Jenna finds a rock and names him Petroc Trelawney.  Rang of Harry Potter to me.
2. This story also has a Boggart.  This one is different than the ones in Harry Potter, but still.  I feel the author could have used a different name.
3. I personally felt it was blaringly obvious who Boy 412 was.

Overall, however,  this is a great book filled with magic, mystery and lots of fun!  Kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy the entire series.

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