Author: Angie Sage
Finished on: 22 November 2015
Where did I get this book: My mum bought this book for my daughter about a year ago, so this was a ‘check the suitability’ read (as well as because it looked good!)
This is a book aimed firmly at the Harry Potter generation. (The generation that turned out to be several generations!) Those who, like my daughter and I, devoured the Rowling classics (and I absolutely consider them to be classics), looked around and thought, what next?
Magyk was published in 2005, when Harry Potter-mania was in full swing. I remember because I was pregnant that year, and went to buy The Half-Blood Prince on the day it came out, then sat in the sunshine reading it propped up on my enormous belly (a memory that came back to hit me full on in the emotional gut when my daughter read that same book herself aged seven… Cue a conversation about whether she could already ‘know’ the story through having shared my emotional responses whilst in the womb. But, I digress…)
There are many books for children and young adults that I like very much indeed. As well as Harry Potter, I love the Philip Pullman His Dark Materials books and, as I reviewed on this blog, the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness blew me away this year. This book was not in the same league.
It is ok. There are some nice plot twists and turns (although you do see them coming a mile off), and there are some nice characters. But the structure is lazy. Completely new plot elements are introduced out of left field to get us out of cul de sacs in the story – elements that would be fine (or even brilliant in one case), if only we had been given a glimpse or hint of them earlier on, to make the world we’re inhabiting here feel coherent.
And the baddie is rubbish quite frankly. You never feel like he is any threat at all. You can’t create tension, or any sense of peril, with an inept antagonist.
A couple of chapters in, I was enjoying it. From the initial clues, I had an entirely different plot developing in my head – and that one was great! So there was definitely real potential with the premise.
It’s a shame really, because with a rewrite to bring the plot elements together, and a ramping up of the baddie’s capabilities, this book could have been ever so good. But as it is, I am in no hurry to read the remaining six books in this series.