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  • Cate

On My Bookshelf: The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

Too many people had said how amazing this book was and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Besides, I love the cover. The colours are magnificent and the raven is just gorgeous. I am a sucker for a gorgeous raven, er, cover.

And I am always a sucker for a good story about wizards and magic and adventurous girls and boys taking on the odds.

The Wizards of Once is a good story about wizards and magic and an adventurous girl and boy, who, incidentally, are not supposed to like each other at all because they are from different tribes, but it doesn’t quite work out that way, and, against the odds, they do become friends. But it isn’t that easy.

One of the other things that I really like about this story is The Unknown Narrator’s voice, so that the story is told by an invisible but omnipresent character, bringing the reader right into the book in a way that would not be possible with a more limited point of view.

The setting, too, is delectable - a ‘British Isles so old that it didn’t know it was the British Isles yet’, and ‘forests darker than you would believe possible’ and, of course, there are two warring tribes of people: the Wizards, who were magic, and the Warriors who were not. And a whole array of magical creatures (I think the sprites were a definite favourite with me, with all their cursing and flitting about).

Into this steps Xar, a Wizard boy with no magic, and Wish, a Warrior girl with a banned magical object. And then there are Witches, but not like any witches you might have met before. You don’t want to meet these witches. Really. Although... you probably don't want to meet most witches. Definitely not these witches, though.

Both Xar and Wish feel that they are a disappointment to their proud parents, an Enchanter King and a Warrior Queen, and long for approval, but neither of them are quite compliant, dutiful children... and it is their rebellious spirits that I’m sure would appeal to children picking this book up to join them on their adventure.

Sometimes I found myself giggling at lines that are simply lovely, and other times I found myself crying out, ‘No!’ as things happened that surely shouldn’t have.

The ending is delightfully satisfying, and wide open for the next adventure.

If you haven’t already (I know, I know, I'm a bit behind on this one), go and read this book. I can only say that it is a fabulous read for everyone from, say, about ten up who loves fantasy and adventure stories.

I enjoyed every moment, and cannot wait to pick up Twice Magic, which is supposed to be coming out in September.

The only downside? My current work in progress also has a raven... and now I’m wondering if I should write her out of the story (which would make me entirely sad, and, in fact, would really change the whole book) as, well, first we had dragons in common, and now ravens. Sigh. Great minds think alike?

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