Storytellers these days, it seems, cannot write a novel that begins and concludes in a single volume. Some stories, however, are just too gloriously delightful to try and cram into one book and they beg for more space to breathe, to be enjoyed and savoured. Angie Sage began her Septimus Heap sequence of stories with Magyk
, and this refreshingly still-just-as-good sequel continues the story of Septimus with great skill and panache.
It's been a year since Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh son, discovered his real family and true destiny to be a wizard. As Apprentice to ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand, he is learning the fine arts of Conjurations, Charms, and other Magyk, while his best friend Jenna (the adopted girl who lived with his family for ten years until it was discovered that she was royalty!) is adapting to life as the Princess and enjoying the freedom of the Castle.
But, as is the way with all good fantasy stories, something sinister is still afoot. The evil necromancer DomDaniel may have been has been disposed of, but something Darke is undeniably stirring. A Shadow pursues ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand, following her every move, growing stronger every day. Septimus realises the danger but, before he can act, Jenna is snatched, taken by the most unlikely kidnapper. Could it really be his jealous brother Simon who is responsible? Septimus must rescue his sister but does not, at first, realise the nature of the threat apparent.
This satisfying second volume, again stuffed with mayhem and thrilling adventure, confirms the immense readability of Sages novels and consolidates the reputation for her growing sequence of funny fantasy novels that should mean they remain popular with young readers for many years to come.
(Age 10 and over) --John McLay
Praise for Septimus Heap series: Warm, funny and humane, Sage takes care with the destiny of even her smallest characters, and is a real discovery Amanda Craig, The Times Her yarn scoots along like a dragon-boat with the wind in its sails Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times Full of hurtle-paced humour Telegraph Wonderfully imaginative ... Children of all ages will relish this Waterstone's Guide to Kid's Books
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