Sunday, August 15, 2010

[Novel Review] Magyk (Septimus Heap #1)

Magyk (Septimus Heap #1)
by Angie Sage
Silas Heap: Our seventh son was born.
Sarah Heap: Hello Septimus.
Silas Heap: During that night in the Forest, when I was on my way home I've come across a baby girl freezing in the snow. That poor child.... I thought of adopting her.
Marcia Overstrand: Tell no one you found her. She was born to you. Understand?
Silas Heap: And when I arrived home with the baby....
Midwife: DEAD! Septimus Heap is dead!
What's most intriguing in this book is that the plot tells you that the main character of this book is DEAD. But naturally, since he's the title character, you expect that he can't really be dead. Knowing that the main character's death is one big joke is already something that you can list in your things-that-I-had-predicted-about-this-book's-story-which-happened even before reading it. And no, its predictability unfortunately doesn't end there.

Surprisingly though, despite its predictability, it still had good twists. In other words, even if you have an idea of what will happen, learning about how things exactly happened had still been impressive.

However, the storytelling wasn't really anywhere near outstanding. What made it worse is that it gives you the "You should've done it earlier!" feeling. Like for instance, the mystery behind the main character's past has been unknown until the end, and the process was actually something that could be done anytime as long as certain circumstances are meant (there wasn't any mention that they can only be availed once after many years. So I assume it can be done as frequently as they please). If it weren't for that odd delay, the matter would actually have been resolved much earlier. There's only one reason that I see why things didn't turn out that way: the author can't think of how to continue the story after that and also prefers to have the kids who were born during that time as the main characters that would play a bigger role in it. In other words, if Septimus had been 100% confirmed to be alive in earlier chapters, we wouldn't be having this story in this book at all.

Not that I don't like the story. I just wish the author had thought of other ways of developing it. But nonetheless, even with the poor execution, the disappointing plot holes, the annoying cliches, and the typical good-always-wins-against-evil stuff, the actual story was good, fun, and interesting enough to engage readers in reading more to know what happens next. How fast paced it had been is how fast you would want to turn to the next page as soon as possible, haha!

I really like its presentation on the character's emotions. It's interesting to know that they way they act and think actually have reasons behind them. Moreover, not everything is focused on the emotions of a single character. I really love the variety.

The book has a lot of characters that are silly yet cool in their own way. I love it that the main characters don't get all the glory. Even supporting characters could stand out and save the day! And it's fun that we even get to find out what happened in the end even to characters who only appeared once or have a really minor role.

Though I'm pleased on the non-excessive bias on the main characters, it appears that for that sake, character and relationship development had been sacrificed to give a little development on as many characters as possible.... which was still unsuccessful because several characters still don't have much of a personality nor background. Most of the main and supporting characters did have enough, but I can't help but wish for there to have been more. Especially on the main ones.

Speaking of background, though it shared background on its magical history, the many of actual enchantments hadn't really been that explained at all. Some are obvious, I agree; those bolded words had been helpful, but still it would be better if the spells are explained, and the long ones aren't just mentioned but are actually written in the book. I won't accept the reason: thinking of a nice sounding written spell of the long ones is difficult to think of. That's just author laziness.

Yeah, yeah, the book is totally not exempted from flaws, but still, overall it has been really fantastic! It's full of exciting adventure and its wonderful set of characters make it even more entertaining.

What draws me most into this is the imperfectness of the characters. Even protagonists can screw up and be as annoying as they please. I really appreciate children/YA series that aren't too biased on its main characters, especially if they aren't annoyingly angsty.

The most interesting character for me is the greatest young wizard who has military background. Yes, he's very powerful thanks to his natural gift BUT his fighting abilities doesn't rely only on his powers, unlike other fantasy series wherein the fighting type-wizards gain combat skills thanks to their magic, or magical weapons, or school training (which will only start at the beginning of the series). But our wizard in this series has gone through the real tough army training; for certain he knows danger and battle... and even has the experience. I really love seeing uncommon types of characters.

I look forward to the next book very much! I'm excited for its movie version to be released~ Hopefully they won't screw this up.

B (COOL! So good I like it, baby!)
Yeah, there are a lot of flaws, so what? So many things made up for it! It's remarkably creative and it rocked!
4 Hearts ---> ADORATION
It's very very enjoyable~ I love it! My new favorite series! Yay!

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