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Summary: On the journey home to see his newborn son, Silas Heap finds a baby girl in the forest. She is all alone, wrapped in blankets. He brings her home, and finds out that his son, Septimus, the seventh son of the seventh son, is pronounced dead. Silas an his wife Sarah decide to bring up the baby girl as their own. Ten years later, they receive a strange visitor who turns their life upside down and raises lots of questions. Who is their daughter? Why is their family not safe? What happened to their son? This is the first book in this middle-grade fantasy series featuring a young wizard.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, independent reading, middle grade reader, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 t o 12; read yourself: 11 and up
Young Reader Reaction: My tastes do not really run to Magyk’s type of novels, so I did not enjoy the book much. Silas Heap and Marcia Overstrand’s rivalry seemed somewhat immature and certainly unfitting two supposedly accomplished individuals. At one point Silas essentially gives away the group’s position to the dangerous Hunter and his accomplices but shows no remorse about it and attempts to take Jenna out of Marcia’s custody, showing an astonishing pettiness that does not fit well
with his personality and is a jarring moment of out-of-character. I did, however, enjoy the slow building of bonds between the younger characters as they learned to live together and found out more about each other.
Though I did not like it, Magyk is a well-written story and its fantasy setting will undoubtedly appeal to many younger readers. Those who enjoyed the Harry Potter series would most probably like this one as well. In general, people who like wizards, magic, royalty, and plots should find this book a pleasing read.
Adult Reader Reaction: I liked this book, especially because it is the first in a series. The author did a great job introducing the reader to the characters, and setting the stage for many more adventures. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.
Pros: Even wrapped in mystery and magic, the book ioffers important lessons about helping people, the importance of family, and doing what’s right.
Cons: I can always find a con in a book, and I’m stumped on this one.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, for now. Since this book is the first in the series, I’d like to read more, and then I might change my opinion to buy. It’s a definite read in my opinion.
Educational Themes: The main value of this book is the demonstration of what makes a family and how important family is. Some of the characters in this book aren’t related, but they accept each other for who they are, and protect each other. It shows that the word “Family” can mean many different things.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 6.6
Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, magic, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: April 2010, July 2011
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.