The Girl Who Could Fly is an absolutely charming book. It made me cheer and clap, smile with tears in my eyes and shush my family so I could please finish in peace. This delightful book intended for children through 6th grade. Clearly, Scholastic is stating the age appropriateness of this book’s themes and not capping the readership at age 11. Victoria Forester’s first novel marches along classic story lines of good and evil, right and wrong, how to make friends and when to trust people. Add a dose of accepting people as they are and voila – you have this book. Those are lessons we just keep encountering regardless of our chronological age and as such the child in all of us will love this book.
Piper McCloud is born late to her Mother and Father and blessed with an innate sense of right and wrong that is truly enviable. She is also gifted with the ability to float which she cultivates into the ability to fly. Her parents seem to understand that the world will not accept her differences and so they try to keep her safe and secluded on their farm. This doesn’t work – it never does – and after a while she is taken to a special school to be with kids like her.
I must admit, the special school bit almost kept me from reading this book. I am a little tired of the Hogwarts aspect of so many books that I have started turning my nose up when the jacket mentions such a place. Trust me – the institute they take Piper is no Hogwarts.
This book was published in 2008 but a second in the series The Boy Who Knew Everything was published in late 2016. The only thing more important to me right now than getting my hands on a copy of the second book is talking to someone (anyone?!) about this book.
So, has anyone read it? Will you please? Or, have you ever had a book you needed to talk about and so you were begging people to hurry up and read it?
This is my go-to recommendation to any and all ages, especially in the summertime. Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series is based on the ingenious premise that mythical creatures are gathered into a hidden refuge. The sanctuary is guarded by magic and age old covenants. It is overseen by caretakers. The preserve is called Fablehaven and the caretakers are Kendra and Seth Sorensen’s grandparents.
When Kendra and Seth (ages 11 and 13) have to visit their Grandparents at their (ahem) farm over summer, they are prepared for utter boredom. Instead they are witness to the awe that is trolls, fairies, witches and so much more. But, Fablehaven only remains relatively safe when rules are followed. When a rule is broken, evil is unleashed.
As the series develops, the problems and perils become more interesting and dire. From the introduction of the world of book one, Fablehaven, through the conclusion of the series in book 5, Keys to the Demon Prison, the action becomes more intense. Written in an engaging and intelligent style this is a book that I feel confident in recommending.
These are the covers of the books that I own. When I was looking through Brandon Mull’s website I noticed that there are updated covers and the wonderful Caretakers Guide to Fablehaven. The guide is an nice addition if you adore the series. I love paging through it and looking at the illustrations of the items and creatures found in the world of Fablehaven. Kendra and Seth have even gone through and added their own notes. However, it is definitely a book I would leave for after you have read the series since it inherently includes spoilers.
At the end book five Brandon Mull wrote that Fablehaven was officially concluded and there would be no additional books for the series. However, he did say he would be happy to revisit the world and the characters. He has done so in the recently published (and fantastic) Dragonwatch. I will be reviewing it very soon. In the meantime, if you haven’t already enjoyed the series, I invite you to visit Fablehaven this summer.
I read the first of this series by accident. I picked it up years and years ago intending to read the wonderful Half Magic by Edward Eager but I got flustered at the library and couldn’t remember the name of the book. This was 2005 or 2006 and long before I had a smartphone so I couldn’t just Google it. So, I grabbed Magyk by Angie Sage because I didn’t want to walk away empty handed. When I got home and read it I became totally absorbed in the story and immediately purchased my own copy and then I had to wait while she wrote more books!
And write she did. This seven book series features the family Heap. The father of this brood is Silas and he is the seventh son. As Magyk begins his wife Sarah is busy delivering their seventh child after six boys. If anyone has read any magical books then you know that the seventh son of a seventh son is foretold to be deeply magical.
I don’t really feel that I can tell you much more about the plot without spoiling some delightful moments. I can say that the series features both strong male and female characters. Some characters are brave, some are intelligent and many are just pure of heart.
Cover of green locked book titled Flyte with Gold of Embelishments
The cover of a brown book with symbols titled Physik.
A red book with hand stitched binding titled Queste. There are stones and a blue ribbon closure.
An ocean blue book with a potion bottle on the front titled Syren
A dull brown book with a metal box on the cover titled Darke.
A bright red book with a dragon boat on the front and a golden pyramid titled Fyre
I recommended these books to a friend and she was completely thrown off by one detail. Throughout the books there are words in bold (like magyk or flyte). I assume the author intended this to have a dual purpose. First, these are magical words. Second, (and I am assuming here) it is to be clear to a younger reader that these magical words are purposely spelled incorrectly. My friend did not care for this at all but it did not bother me one bit.
There are two other books by Angie Sage that are related to the series but not quite included in the timeline of the “Septimus Heap” stories. The first is The Darke Toad which tells a seperate story of the eldest Heap child. The The Magykal Papers is an additional fun book that includes maps, journals, and a variety of tidbits about the Castle.
A dark purple book cover with a frog shaped door knocker on the cover. Title is Darke Toad.
A golden book cover with a city set in an oval on the front cover. Title Magical Papers.
If, after you have read all nine of these books you still want more, you can find a glorious treasure trove of information on Septimus Heap’s website. There you can use the magykal name generator, play magykal anagrams or look up some spells and tips. You can also see the book trailer for new books by Angie Sage which are all set in Septimus’s world, The Todhunter Moon trilogy.
Angie Sage has created such a complete world for Septimus that when I re-read the books, which I often do, I feel like I am visiting old friends. I hope you take a chance and check out this series (on purpose). If you forget the name of the series, just remember, I think they are Magykal.
I love Jessica Day George. The thought I might love her when I read Dragon Slippers. This is a story about a young woman named Creel whose aunt offers her as a sacrifice to the local Dragon hoping that she will be rescued by a knight and subsequently wed. Creel instead talks herself out of trouble and then heads into her kingdom’s metropolis with only some embroidery thread and a mysterious pair of slippers. Her adventures and successes are steered by her own convictions and supported by sheer determination. The next two books in the series are just as good.
Then, I read her Castle series. So good. My love was growing. Tuesdays at the Castle introduce the reader to Castle Glower and Princess Celie. Castle Glower is remarkable because on Tuesdays the Castle changes by adding a room or a turret or sometimes a whole new wing. Princess Celie is the only resident who is interested enough to map our the Castle and its new additions. When her family and home are attacked she, like Creel, steps up to defend herself, her home, and her kingdom. I love a strong woman!
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow cemented my undying love. This book is just as good as anything Jessica Day George has written with the added benefit of being based on the Nordic fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. While I have gone through bouts of obsessing over Native American folklore, Irish fairytales, and even a period in college of immersing myself in Non-Western Culture I know nothing about Nordic fairytales. Still, like most fairytales you will see some familiar threads.
Give me a strong woman, a strange land and an intriguing quest and I am happy. Jessica Day George always delivers on all three and this book kept me ignoring my housekeeping and general personal hygiene until the very last page.
So there it is. Author obsession for today. Now that I have fully stalked her website I know that there are a couple of books I have missed. I’m off to read!