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:
- 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:
An Opinion on Everything
Confessions of a Book Addict