August 26, 2008


By Angie Sage
Rating: 4 stars

This is book 4 in the Septimus Heap series. Continuing where we left off in the 3rd book, Physik, Septimus and Jenna are determined to rescue their brother Nicko and Snorri from where they got stuck in the past. Jenna is particularly upset. But as the pair, with the help of friend Beetle, try to find a way into the past, a darke force is moving against Septimus. Merrin, the boy who was mistaken for Septimus for years, is back seeking revenge. With the help of a Darke spell, a Thing, and the ghost of Tertius Fume, Merrin gets Septimus sent on a Queste--which no apprentice has come back from once it has been accepted. Septimus keeps his Queste hidden from the others as long as possible. The trio receive help from Marcellus Pye in the shape of a map and writing from Nicko and Snorri when they set out to find the House of Foryx where all times meet. The three immediately decide to try to find the House of Foryx themselves to rescue Nicko and Snorri. As their journey starts, we run across many of our favorite characters and places, from Alther to Spit Fyre to Marcia to the witches in the wood to Sam Heap and many more. It is an exciting adventure, fraught with danger and magyk, and fans will be happy with the fast pace. And for a change, our story has...dare I say...a happy ending with no immediate cliffhanger. Another enjoyable installment. A fifth book, Syren, is planned for 2009.

August 11, 2008

The Last of the High Kings

By Kate Thompson
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

Fans of The New Policeman will rejoice to read this companion novel. Jenny, the daughter of the famous musical Liddy family, is different. She can't concentrate in school and prefers to wander the hills and spends time talking to a puka--a magical creature who disguises himself as a white goat. The puka wants her to spend time befriending a ghost--a young man who has been attached to guarding a local beacon for hundreds of years. Meanwhile, Jenny's father, J.J. and his wife Aisling are at odds. J.J. had once visited Tir na n'Og and has become world famous as a violinist as a result, but that has left Aisling with the chore of raising 4 children practically by herself. If only Aengus Og of the fairy folk had kept his bargain about the chiming wood....can J.J. force him to finally give him what is due? And Donal, their son, is drawn to an elderly neighbor man named Mikey who claims to be the last of the high kings and Mikey says he needs to make it up to the beacon. What does the puka really want? What bargain did J.J. make with Aengus? And why does an old man need to climb to the top of the beacon? These three plot threads will wind together to a satisfying conclusion. Full of Irish folklore and music, readers will be happily drawn into the story.