In this his sixth book, Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh, is fourteen. He’s been training now for four years with Marcia, the Extraordinary wizard, and he’s ready for his ultimate test – Darke Week. He must enter the Darke alone for seven days and rely on his Magyk skills. This is the training that separates an ordinary wizard from an extraordinary one. His Dad is nervous, his Mother is nervous and Marcia is nervous, but Septimus is just ready to get on with it already!
When a concealed wizard unleashes a Darke Domaine, inviting the creatures of the Darke into the castle and into the wizarding tower itself, it will take Septimus and all of his friends to keep the Darke at bay. This time no one has to go looking for the Darke, the Darke comes out looking for them.
Another magic-filled adventure that explores friendship and forgiveness and just what it is that makes a wizard Darke. Once a wizard is Darke – can he/she ever turn back? I really liked getting to know some of Septimus’s friends in this one – you get much more about Beetle the scribe, Princess Jenna, Septimus’s brother Simon and even Marcia. Author: Angie Sage
Silas and Sarah Heap enjoy a quiet wizarding life until their son Septimus, the seventh son of a seventh son, is born. In a dizzying turn of events Septimus is declared dead at the same time Silas finds a mysterious baby girl abandoned in the forest. Silas and Sarah agree to raise the baby girl even as they grieve their son. Ten years pass before the Extraordinary Wizard shows up at their door revealing that the baby girl is really Jenna, princess of the kingdom, whose real identity has been revealed to enemies of the crown. Jenna is no longer safely hidden in the Heap’s home and is whisked away by the Extraordinary Wizard, Silas, her brother Niko, and a young palace guard named Boy 412. As they make their escape, those who killed Jenna’s real mother, the queen, are hot on their heels. Will the princess and her safekeepers by hunted down? And what really happend to Septimus? Author: Angie Sage
Bran Hambric: The Farfield Cursebegan the story of Bran, a boy who doesn’t know a thing about himself. He was found at age 6 locked in a bank vault in the town of Dunce. He has no memory of anything before being discovered in the vault. He’s being raised by the Wilomas family, only because Mr. Wilomas worked at the bank and is forced to obey the “Finders Keepers Law.” If you find it, you have to keep it, even if “it” is a kid.
In Dunce, magic is outlawed. In The Farfield Curse Bram discovered that he had magical skills and made friends with Astara, Adi and a gnome named Polland that helped him figure out his past and how he came to be in the vault.
In this second adventure Bran finds a safe deposit box with his mother’s name on it while he is helping Mr. Wilomas clean at the bank vault. The box contains another box, which has a moon carved in it’s lid…a moon that matches Bran’s moon necklace, given to him by his mother. The odd thing is, Bran can’t get the box open, and then it begins to act very strangely, scary strange. Bran enlists the help of Astara and Adi to figure out the secret of the box, a secret that leads to more answers about his mother…and to the father he thought was dead. Dark magic threatens both Astara and Bran as opposing forces fight for possession of what the box contains.
If you remember from The Farfield Curse, Kaleb Nation was only a teenager when he wrote it. There were many similarities to Harry Potter that some readers didn’t like. In this one, Kaleb develops more of his own storytelling chops. His magical world and the characters in it take on a life of their own and he leaves most of his Harry Potter inspired ideas behind. I thought it would be fun to see where he went with the second book and I wasn’t disappointed. Kaleb is now 21…still really young for writing like this! I’m looking foward to book 3. Author: Kaleb Nation
Google Preview: Bran Hambric: The Specter Key
Bran Hambric: The Specter Key on CD 1274285
Bartimaeus, the wise-cracking, irreverant djinni from The Bartimaeus Trilogy is back for another adventure in which he manages to embarrass, harrass, and outsmart the magician to whom he is supposedly enslaved. It’s always fun to watch Bart get the upper hand! He’s a lot like the genie in the Aladdin movies…but A LOT more sassy. He is enslaved unless a magician doesn’t say the summoning spell correctly or construct it carefully. If there is any kind of loophole at all in the summons, or in the directions that follow, Bart will find it…and EAT the magician. His last master came to such an end:
And that was the end of the old magician. We’d been together awhile, but I never got to know his name. Still, I remember him with fond affection. Foolish, greedy, incompetent, and dead. Now that’s the kind of master worth having. (page 27)
Bartimaeus has been alive for thousands of years and has had many magician masters. This story takes place in Jerusalem in the 900s BC during the reign of King Solomon the Great. King Solomon is well-known for building a great temple that is talked about in the Bible. In this story, Solomon has one of his magicians summon a bunch of demons and djinni to do the work of constructing the temple. One of the djinni summoned is Bartimaeus, who is none too happy about being summoned AGAIN so soon after eating his last master. He is also not happy about lugging rocks in the hot sun for days on end, and so he does what he does best, he institutes a “change of work practices.”
We promptly set up our lookout and spent our time in a mixture of loafing, gambling, imp-tossing, and philosophical debate. Occasionally, when we needed the exercise, we’d whip a few stones magically into position, just to make it look like we’d been doing something. (page 103)
For being such a troublemaker Solomon sends Bart into the desert to search out bandits that have been disrupting the flow of commerce into Jerusalem. It’s about as bad an assignment as lugging rocks. When a young girl/warrior helps him fend off the bandits Bartimaeus is surprised and a little bit impressed. Asmira, the girl/warrior, has been sent by the Queen of Sheba to kill Solomon, an assignment Bartimimaeus could easily sink his own teeth into. Asmira’s got some confidence and sass herself, so when the two set their sights on Solomon’s magic ring, the sparks really begin to fly. Author: Jonathon Stroud
To get a taste of the full Bartimaeus, don’t miss the Bartimaeus Trilogy beginning with The Amulet of Samarkand. In the Trilogy, Bartimaeus is teamed up with a smart, confident and very daring young magician and finds himself respecting this young magician that can really “bring it” when he has to.
The sweet, streetwise gutterboy Conn and the crusty, lovable old wizard Nevery are back for a third magical adventure in the city of Welmet. Conn is in hiding after breaking out of the Dawn Palace prison. He’s holed up in secret within Welment, helping Nevery devise some kind of plan to keep an evil magic from taking over the city.
What Conn needs is a new locus magicalicus, the stone that focuses a wizard’s magic – kind of like a wand. Conn sacrificed his locus stone to save Welmet in The Magic Thief: Lost. Nevery and Conn discover a finding spell that will lead Conn to a new locus stone. The spell scorches a fiery line right through Welmet and out of sight. At the end of the spell-line, somewhere, lies Conn’s locus stone. Conn sets out on a long, hard and dangerous journey, lucky for him he’s still got Rowan on his side. But even Rowan, who can handle a sword like nobody else, can keep Conn safe when a dragon snatches him up right before her eyes. Author: Sarah Prineas
Don’t miss #1 The Magic Thief and #2 The Magic Thief: Lost. If you like Nevery and Conn and the whole mentor/apprentice part of the story, try Magyk, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone or The Books of Umber: Dragon Games. If what you like is dragons, try Fablehave: Secret of the Dragon Sanctuary, The Dragon of Trelian or Where teh Mountain Meets the Moon. All very, very good!