©2005 Angie Sage; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers
This series is wonderful, full of intrigue and humour and very adictive for both adults and children alike. They have caused my 10yr old son to get into trouble more than once for staying up very late listening to them on his ipod in the dark when he was supposed to be sleeping. Next book PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
As a mother of very young children, I'm always on the hunt for books that interest me, yet are kid friendly. (no cussing, vulgarity, etc) This series is wonderful. If you liked the other Septimus books, you'll enjoy this one as well. The narrator is very good (after getting used to him in the second book) and one that I enjoy listening to. Though I do wish the had kept the original narrator from the first Septimus book.
"wish they would make movies from these books."
i read these books to my kids and even my husband would stop and listen. i would compare these to the harry potter books. great imagination. great adventure. im 43 and plan to listen to all of the angie sage books. clean reading.
easy to understand and great expression
continue in the love of wizards and imagination with septimus heap and his adventures.
"A great 3rd book in the series"
I really enjoy this series. It is very imaginative. And I do enjoy the narrator, Gerard Doyle, he make you "see" the story.
"Ghosts, Cats, Dragons, Disapproving Queens, & Time"
The third entry in Angie Sage's seven-book Sepimus Heap series, Physik (2007), begins with Septimus' feckless father Silas the Ordinary Wizard and his coarse "friend" Gringe the North Gate Gatekeeper (two of the many fallible adults whose mistakes make life interesting for Sage's child heroes and readers) "UnSealing" a Sealed room in the palace attic so that Silas may keep safe there his prized colony of sentient board game counters. By opening the Sealed room, the clueless men release two malevolent Substantial Spirits, the ghost of the wonderfully named Etheldredda the Awful, who has been waiting with her pointy chin, pointy ears, pointy shoes, and disapproving expression for 500 years to become Castle Queen again, this time forever, which may involve getting rid of any troublesome princesses in her way, and the ghost of her pet Aie-Aie, a red-eyed, snake-tailed, single-toothed creature with a penchant for spreading disease. Thus begins an exciting and unpredictable plot of multiple point of view characters and two time streams, one in the present and one 500 years in the past.
Sage introduces neat new characters, like the 14-year-old Hanseatic League Northern Trader Snorri Snorrelssen, who's come to the Castle of the Small Wet Country Across the Sea for the first time, partly in search of the ghost of her father. Snorri is great, with her attractive Scandinavian lilt, Spirit-Seer abilities, spunk ("No one told Snorri Snorrelssen what to do"), "white-blond hair," "translucent blue eyes" (Sage's fantasy world is quite white), and feline protector Ullr, a small orange cat by day and a powerful black panther by night. And the Last Alchemist Marcellus Pye, a selfish, decrepit, and senile 500-year-old who only breathes once every ten minutes and shuffles around under the moat at night looking for gold coins, is creepy and sympathetic.
Sage develops former characters in neat ways, too, like Uncle Alther and Alice Nettles, whose cross-existence romance is wistful and sweet. She does a bit more with the ghost of Jenna's mother, the assassinated Castle Queen, who is still not ready to Appear before her daughter. Spit Fyre, Septimus' pet dragon, is growing apace, needing more food, producing more droppings (and burps, farts, and snot, Sage indulging the child reader's sense of potty humor), and learning how to ignite his gassy breath. Sage's protagonist Septimus Heap, seventh son of a seventh son, the Apprentice to the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand, grows, too. He is covertly interested in Physik, which Marcia believes is too close to the dodgy (if not Darke) Alchemy. In this novel the boy will learn everything he ever wanted to know about such subjects, in addition to Time.
Sage interestingly plays with time: "Time Glasses" through which people may step (or jump or fall) into "the liquid cold of time" and end up elsewhen; the vertiginous and identity-threatening aspects of suddenly finding oneself in the distant past; and the debilitating effects of living forever without youth. She also makes explicit the Rules of Ghosthood. Spirits must stay for one year and a day in the same place where they died, after which they may move around, but only to places they visited when alive. They may only be seen by people they choose to Appear before. And although they may pass through anything or anyone and vice versa, they intensely dislike the nauseating experience.
Sage writes a lot of witty lines (especially in context), like: "Ghosts must put up with the bad habits of the living," and "Even Alchemy Scribes had to sleep some time." And she writes many vivid and evocative descriptions (Sage's writing is more magical to me than Rowling's):
--"The barge was decked out in flags that fluttered in a wind that had died long ago."
--". . . the lingering smells of decaying spells …"
--"The low yellow stone building was ablaze with light, its wide lawns spread out before it with their fresh snowfall like a crisp white cook's apron."
--". . . there were things--soft, squishy things--floating in the water; he could feel the ends of his oars touching them."
Such rich writing outweighs Sage's few missteps, like similes whose anachronistic vehicles violate her fantasy world, as when Spit Fyre moves his tail back and forth "like a great windshield wiper," or as when Etheldredda's voice "has the penetrating quality of a dentist's drill."
Sage writes an archaic style to estrange the Castle of the past from her characters and readers. Although some of it sounds dodgy, like "Now, hie thee to the Great Gates, thee to the stables and thou, fools, take thy great flat feet to the river" (thee, thou, and thy should maybe be for singular cases), it often sounds fine, like "Whereupon Mary didst wail, like the pigs do wail when they see the meat cook's cleaver."
The reader Gerard Doyle is good, especially with Snorri's winning accent, Etheldredda's nasty voice, and Ullr's orange meow, but I still prefer the reader of the first book in the series, Magyk, because Doyle tends to put too much stressed out whining in the voices of the kids. This audiobook includes Sage's fun epilogue, "Things You Might Like to Know More About," to recount the fates or backgrounds of several characters.
Readers like me who were put off by the manufactured action and unpleasant character development and lack of consistency and charm of the second book, Flyte, should try this third one, because Physik is excellent. Moments like Jenna rescuing a plucked duckling from a scalding orange sauce and later falling asleep with it are charming; moments like Septimus walking into the Great Hall of the Wizard's Tower 500 years ago and deceiving himself that he's in his own time are moving. Readers who like imaginative and humorous YA magical fantasy with a Darke streak should enjoy Physik and the series in general.
"Into the looking glass"
This was not my favorite in the series so far. It seemed like it took too long to get to the actual plot, and became tedious with far too many new, inconsequential characters added too quickly. I think think that a quarter of the story and several characters could have been left out. The last few chapters were full of updates and information about the characters that could have been avoided if the story had flowed correctly. I hope the wonderful pacing that made the first two books so good is reesablished in the next book. Not a bad Septimus adventure just, for me, a little too jumbled and watered down with to many extraneous events and characters. Onto the next....
"Interesting, and well preformed."
.Yes. It is easier to follow
The aspect of time was interesting, but there was almost no magic.
Bit of a cliff hanger.
this book was not only excellent writing, it was joy to listen to, could hardly talk to people 'cause it would interrupt. Totally reccomend it to all Fantasy lovers.
"Fun children's epic"
Working my way through the series. I like to preview the books before my seven year old reads them. I have very much enjoyed them to this point. The reader is also fabulous. I think the book may be a little slow if not read correctly. A fun listen and a good read for a young adventurer.
"Getting better as it goes"
No I wouldn't, because the first two books in the series wasn't as good as this one. The series has gotten better with each book. Yet I don't know it's worth the trouble to get here.
Clean, crisp, & clear
I think it was worth it, but I don't know if the first books are worth there time.
This book wasn't great or was it the worst. This book was better than Magyk and Flyte the other two book in the series. Maybe it's because I'm too old for this book that it took me till book three to really like the series. I haven't decided if I want to go on to the others in the series.
"I think Septimus is as fun as Harry"
Well, it can't touch the Wee Freemen series, but for middle reader fantasy books it does well. The narrator is good overall, though I don't love his 'girl' voices all the time.
Unlocking the sealed room. You'd think even an ordinary wizard would suspect that wasn't a good idea.
I liked Jenna's response to being in the queens robe room. She's not a girly girl, and yet there is a side of her that likes beautiful things and is realizing her place in the kingdom.
These books were recommended to me by my granddaughter and I love sharing the story with her. I like Septimus and I'm liking Jenna more and more. I like the loyalty between the friends. I like the ghosts. It's a fun series, but I'm a little intimidated by how many there are. Hope the fun will last.
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