Septimus Heap, Volume 1: Magyk
By Angie Sage
Katherine Tegen Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2005
A young girl in a large family of six boys suddenly finds herself to be a princess and a boy brought up in the Young Army finds himself to be not what he thought he was. The two are brought together by dire circumstances and together try to restore the princess to her throne.
o Boy 412 – pronounced: Four-One-Two, Young Army soldier: “Boy 412 sat bolt upright and stared around him like a frightened rabbit. He didn’t like what he saw. In fact it was his worst nightmare. ¶Any minute now the Young Army Commander would come for him and then he would be in real trouble. Consorting with the enemy—that was what they called it when someone talked to Wizards. And here he was with two of them. And an old Wizard ghost by the look of it. Not to mention the two weirdo kids, one with some kind of crown on her head and the other with those telltale green Wizard eyes. And the filthy dog. They’d taken his uniform, too and put him in civilian clothes. He could be shot as a spy. Boy 412 groaned and put his head in his hands.” Pg 71
o Jenna – newly discovered Princess: “Marcia gazed at the Heaps and was amazed how alike they all were. All of them, even Sarah and Silas, shared the same curly straw-colored hair, and of course they all had the piercing green Wizard eyes. And in the middle of the Heaps sat the Princess, with her straight black hair and deep violet eyes. … No wonder the spy had discovered her.” pg 44
o Marcia Overstrand – Extra-Ordinary Wizard: “Her purple double silk coat was lined with the softest indigo-blue angora fur. It fell gracefully from her broad shoulders and gathered itself obediently around her pointy feet. Marcia’s feet were pointy because she like pointy shoes, and she had them specially made. They were mad of snakeskin, shed from the purple python that the shoe shop kept in the backyard just for Marcia’s shoe. … Marcia’s purple python shoes shimmered in the light reflected from the mirror, and the gold and platinum on the Extra-Ordinary Wizard belt flashed impressively. Around her neck she wore the Akuh Amulet, symbol and source of the power of the Extra-Ordinary Wizard.” Pg 31
There are many secondary characters – almost too many to list – but I will attempt to do so here:
o Silas Heap, Ordinary Wizard and father to Jenna and 6 boys
o Sarah Heap, skilled in herb lore and mother to Jenna and 6 boys
o Aunt Zelda, a white witch and Silas’s aunt
o Alther, former Extra Ordinary Wizard
o The Supreme Custodian, oppressive Overlord
o DomDaniel, oppressive Darke Wizard
o The Apprentice, young boy of 10 years, apprenticed to DomDaniel
o Stanley, Message Rat
o Morewenna Mould, Wendron Witch
I could go on and on but I won’t.
What I loved about the book was its fast pace, very descriptive scenes and the fact you could barely catch your breath. It would be an easy read in one sitting, that is, if I didn’t other important things to occupy my day, like eating, grooming and sleeping. One must have priorities. But the book was just as good the third time around and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The adventure starts on a cold night in a forest, takes you to a castle, an amazing Wizard Tower, on a wild ride through a garbage chute, a midnight sail down a river, into a marshland, underground where a wonderful treasure awaits, then back to the surface during a storm until if finally closes back in the marshlands. Whew! What a ride! Love, love, loved it!
What I did not appreciate was the way the author referred to a cat of similar color as mine:
“Unfortunately for Stanley [message rat], the barge skipper believed in keeping the ship’s cat lean and mean, and mean it certainly was. Stanley spent the journey desperately trying to avoid the cat, which was an extremely large orange animal with big yellow fangs and very bad breath.” Pg 299
I am quite certain the cat’s breath was just fine and it was the rat’s own foul breath he was smelling.
Angie Sage grew up in Thames Valley, London and Kent. Her father was a publisher. He would bring home blank books that she could fill with pictures and stories. Sage first studied medicine, but changed her mind and went to Art School in Leicester. There she studied Graphic Design and Illustration. She began illustrating books after college. Then she progressed to writing children stories, including toddler books and chapter books. Her first novel was Septimus Heap: Magyk.