|Author: Angie Sage|
Illustrator: Mark Zug
Book Review By: Noureen K. Ajmal
This is a simple homely book were Jenna (adoptive daughter of Sarah Heap) finds that she is a princess and has to run away from assassins with the help of her adoptive dad, her brother, the extraordinary Wizard (Marcia Overstand) and boy 412, a kid in the army. They stay with Aunt Zelda who lives at the marshes. At the end, boy 412 finds he is the is the long-lost son of Sarah Heap, making him the seventh son of the seventh son, he is magical. He becomes the apprentice of Marcia Overstand.
The most important thing about this book were the domestic scenes and character interactions, Angie Sage found the perfect mix between banter and homely comfort, whether it is Aunt Zelda’s lettuce sandwiches or the creaks and burbles of the marsh.
An element in the wonderful domestic scenes I am so fond of are the details like: the chicken boat (which is used several times as a hiding place) and Stanely, the talkative message rat.
I like the interactions/arguments with Silas (Jenna’s father) and Marcia. They have both been the apprentice of Alther Mella (the previous extraordinary wizard) but Silas gave up his apprenticeship so he could ‘read bedtime stories to his children’ as Marcia says. In fact as the story progressed, I began to think of Marcia as my favourite character because she is bossy and really stubborn most of the time. For example, she takes over aunt Zelda’s desk and trashes most of her books.
I do not, however, like the plot. I feel that the ending was too sudden and would have worked better if the main enemy were the supreme custodian and his allies. The enemy in the book is DomDaniel, he was the extraordinary wizard two generations ago and is deep in touch with reverse magic or dark magic. Or this book should have instead leaned into its domestic scenes and been a story of realizing who you are instead of having a concrete villain.
By the plot I mean the plot about the enemy, the plot about Boy 412 realising he was Sarah Heap’s son. That he was the seventh son of the seventh son was executed perfectly. I loved the scene where they figure it out, it is filled with suspense and extremely fun if you already guess what will happen (like I did).
This book has six sequels, two of which I have read, and four of which I will read soon. I think both the sequels are good and have patched up the poor plot that is present in the first book.
I would rate this book a three and a half out of five, even if it portrayed its domestic scenes perfectly, the enemy plot could have been so much better. I would recommend this book to whoever likes banter.