Heaps of Wizards!: Magyk: Septimus Heap, Book One by Angie Sage
As attractive a volume as Angie Sage's book Magyk is, when I hefted that weighty tome's 564 pages, I felt a flash of wizard weariness and fantasy fatigue. All those charms and spells and spiteful sorcerers and their monsterly minions, all that evil lurking beneath the superficial peace of the Shire or the plenty of the Hogwarts Feast, had worn me weary of things magykal.
The first book of the Septimus Heap trilogy gradually lifted me out of my fantasy funk. Sage's story is so full of affectionate, colorful, and warm characters that I was genuinely sorry to turn the final page and leave them behind. The plot, while internally unique, is familiar fantasy fare. Septimus Heap, the seventh son of Silas Heap, himself a seventh son of a wizard, is reported dead shortly after birth and spirited away by the matron midwife to become the apprentice to the evil necromancer DomDaniel. Meanwhile, the newborn daughter of the assassinated Queen is discovered by Silas hidden in the snow and brought home to his grieving wife Sarah, given the name of Jenna, and raised as their own non-wizardly child.
After a quiet ten years, the evil wizard DomDaniel returns from exile to bring about the assassination of the secret princess Jenna and wrest the title and powers of ExtraOrdinary Wizard from Marcia Overstrand, current wearer of the charmed Amulet. Jenna and Nikko Heap manage to escape to the Marram Marsh where they and the orphaned Boy 412, whom they rescue from the cruel Young Army, hide under the enchantments of their Aunt Zelda, a warm and wise Wendron Witch. When Boy 412 falls into a hidden Keep and finds a powerful ring, his own magykical powers begin to grow, and when DomDaniel finally comes to destroy Jenna and the other Heaps, Boy 412 leads in the overthrow of the Necromancer and the restoration of Marcia Overstrand as ExtraOrdinary Wizard. Finally Boy 412's true identity, as the lost seventh son, Septimus Heap, is revealed, to the joy of Silas and Sarah Heap, and Septimus becomes Marcia's Apprentice as the two return to restore order to the Wizard's Tower.
If, unlike moi, someone has been wasting away for wizardly tales during the long wait for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, this trilogy, which also includes Flyte and Physik will keep him or her content with the warm and wizardly Heap family, their favorite avuncular ghost Alther Mella, and their menagerie of supportive creatures.