Septimus Heap, Book Two: Flyte
by Angie Sage
If you like the Weasley family from Harry Potter
, you just have to love the Heaps from this ongoing fantasy series, set mostly in a sprawling castle surrounded by rivers, farmland, marshes, and spooky mountains. In Book One, Magyk
, you were gradually introduced to the main character of the series: Septimus Heap, seventh son of a seventh son, and now (as Book Two begins) apprentice to the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand.
Though he lives in the Wizard Tower, Septimus is not far from his newly recovered family, who, like the Weasleys, consist of a strong-willed, worrying mother; a brave but slightly scatter-brained father; and a chaotic jumble of siblings who have the same hair but widely varying personalities. Four of the Heap sons are living a wild life, having gone native in the forest across the river. One of them, Nikko, still likes to mess about in boats and lives with Mom and Dad, though they have moved houses to the castle as befits their foster daughter, the Princess Jenna. That leaves one other sibling, oldest brother Simon, who has taken the Percy Weasley path to its uttermost extreme: pure evil.
When we last saw Simon, he was throwing a hissy fit because the apprenticeship he coveted was given to a boy who was suddenly supposed to be his brothera relationship he refused to accept. Now Simon is back and drenched in Darke Magyk, having apprenticed himself to the most evil necromancer who ever lived: Dom Daniel. Simon has a fiendish plot afoot, having something to do with a menacing shadow that keeps following Marcia Overstrand around, and something to do with kidnapping Jenna and preventing her from making her annual visit to the Dragon Boatone of the things that keeps the castles magical defenses going.
If Simon thought he could simply ride into the Castle and kidnap the princess, he clearly wasnt thinking very clearly. He wasnt thinking about Jennas resourcefulness and instinct for royal command. He wasnt thinking about the rapidly-growing powers of his youngest brother. And he also wasnt thinking clearly about the type of master he had given himself to serve.
If it made you miserable to see Percy going bad, just wait until you see Simon giving his heart to absolute wickedness. Its heartbreaking. The inspiring side of the story is how Septimus somehow doesnt give up on him, even when defeating the bad guy means escaping from a coven of cannibalistic witches, facing his worst fear, retracing his steps to a place where he once experienced pure terror, and making hair-raising journeys above and below ground. Though you would like to hope that redemption is possible for the black Heap of the family, perhaps it is encouraging enough that Septimus chooses to hold out the same hope.
Recommended Age: 12+
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