Thursday, March 20, 2008

Septimus takes "flyte"

It has been a year since the close of Magyk, when Septimus Heap was taken on as the apprentice to the ExtraOrdinary Wizard. He spends most of his days at the wizard tower, learning magic and carrying out whatever tasks Marcia (the ExtraOrdinary Wizard) sets for him. She is moody and annoyed because of a shadow that is following her around, gaining form and substance with the passage of time - she is taking measures to get rid of it, but it is a frustratingly slow process.

Meanwhile, DomDaniel, the villain from the first book in the series, is back, even though his bones were picked clean by the Quake Ooze Brownies at the end of the first book. Septimus's oldest brother, Simon, madly jealous that Septimus took his "rightful" place as apprentice, has recovered DomDaniel's bones and is now the necromancer's apprentice. Simon storms into the castle on an enormous black horse, snatches up Jenna, heir to the throne but also Simon's stepsister. No one believes Septimus when he says Jenna's been kidnapped - surely Simon has just taken her out for a ride, they all say, even the ExtraOrdinary Wizard. So Septimus sets off to bring her back.

I found this second installment in the Septimus Heap series to be alternately enjoyable and irritating. I love the world that Sage has built, and all the many amazing things in it, such as the Dragon Boat and the ice tunnels beneath the castle, as well as the wide array of characters and their relationships with each other. At the same time, I found it immensely annoying that, although Septimus has been training to be a wizard for a year and is the seventh son of a seventh son (and therefore possesses great magical powers), he hardly does any useful magic at all - and neither does anyone else - except for Simon. The "good guys" bumbled around incompetently for most of the book, and most of their successes were due to blind luck and extremly unlikely coincidences.

The exception here, for me, was Jenna, the princess. She had no intention of waiting around to be rescued (luckily, because no competent rescue was really going to happen), used her ingenuity and intelligence to figure out how to get away, and throughout the rest of the book she was the one who saw things for what they were and did the things that needed to be done. Without Jenna, the book would have fallen apart.

I read the first book in this series, and for the second I thought I'd try out the audio version. Gerard Doyle did a very nice job of narrating the book, and I think I enjoyed it more than I would have just reading it. Despite my quibbles, I do believe I will check back into the world of Septimus Heap and Jenna to see where their destinies lead them in the next book of the series. I have come to care for these characters (even as they occasionally annoy me), and I am particularly rooting for Jenna!

Books in the Septimus Heap series to date:
  1. Magyk
  2. Flyte
  3. Physik
  4. Queste (to be published April 2008)

Flyte (#2 in the Septimus Heap series) by Angie Sage; narrated by Gerard Doyle (Recorded Books, 2006)

Other blog reviews:
Family Reads
An Opinion on Everything
Confessions of a Book Addict

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for the review, definately a series I will lokk into getting. Btw just have tolet you know I reaaly appreciate the effort you put into your reviews - the listing of books in the series and especially the links to other reviews of the same book. It not only helps me see a few different views on the book, but also introduces me to some new bloggers.

    Thanks again & have a great weekend.

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  2. Thanks for stopping by, Carey - and also for the kind compliments! I'm glad you like the links, etc. Searching for other bloggers' book reviews has been a lot of fun for me, too, and I've discovered lots of great blog sites that way!

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  3. I read Magyk last year but still haven't got around to Flyte which is sitting patiently on my tbr pile. I'll shift it nearer to the top as the plot sounds good and I did enjoy Magyk very much indeed. And aren't the covers wonderful?

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  4. Cath - yes, I do love the covers! I'll be interested to hear what you think of it when you get to it.

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  5. I also find it irritating when the good guys in a book seem completely unable to solve their problems...it almost makes me want to switch sides and cheer the bad guys on :P

    This still sounds like an interesting series, though, and I would like to try it one day.

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  6. I've heard a lot about this series but this review really made me want to check these out. Thanks!

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  7. It is interesting, Nymeth, and I do enjoy visiting the world that Sage has created. You are right about switching sides - Simon was one of the most resourceful characters in the book. Luckily he was overshadowed by Jenna at least, if not Septimus and the others, or I might have defected to the other side!

    Ladytink - it is a fun series, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things go in the next couple of books.

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