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Septimus Heap: The Magykal Papers

Review

Septimus Heap: The Magykal Papers

Fans of Septimus Heap will go wild for this encyclopedic supplement to the series. The full-color illustrations and amazing range of papers from the Castle, the Wizard Tower, the Palace and "Around the Castle" make this a book to get lost in for many enjoyable hours.

The first section, "Papers from the Castle," opens with a bit of history. Here, we learn all about a tiny village that lay along the river long ago. Its people had gathered there after escaping from the Darke Forest, where many creepy and terrible beings lurked. And yet, the villagers were not quite safe from those evil creatures, which sneaked into the village at night to steal, blight and otherwise do wrong by the good people. After one particularly horrid crime, the villagers began to build a protective Wall around their little settlement…and that was the beginning of the Castle. We also learn how a young Queen came to live in that Castle, the arrival of the first ExtraOrdinary Wizard, and much more.

Rupert Gringe's Around-the-Castle Boat Tour programme is here, too (we are so relieved to read that "This amazing journey is fully endorsed by the Castle Protection Trust and the Wizard Way Conservation Society"!). Other tours are represented, such as the "Ask Sirius Walking Tour of the Castle and the Ramblings" and Silas Heap's ink-splotched "A Ramble through the Ramblings Walking Tour."

Of course, any tourist to the Castle will want to know exactly where to eat. The Egg-on-Toast Restaurant Guide points us to such fine eateries as Ma Custard's Cake Stop, where one can sample the specialty of the house: raisin custard pie. The Guide steers visitors far away from The Meat Pie & Sausage Cart, where they are wont to experience not only surly service but sausage summed up in one word: "disgusting." The Guide also does not recommend Café La Gringe, with its menu of "brown stew, dark brown stew, and very dark brown stew."

The many detailed and illustrated biographies are a major highlight of THE MAGYKAL PAPERS. We learn a tremendous amount of fascinating facts about Sarah and Silas Heap, Jenna, Mr. and Mrs. Gringe, ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand (Q: How can you tell the difference between the real Marcia Overstrand and a clever imposter? A: The true ExtraOrdinary Wizard ALWAYS wears pointed purple python shoes.), Altha Mella, and others. One can delve even deeper into these personalities by way of the journals, letters, appointment diaries, and family trees.

You might be wondering exactly what etiquette governs a visit to the Wizard Tower. Never fear; "A Guide to How to Behave When Visiting the Wizard Tower," penned by none other than Marcia Overstrand, ExtraOrdinary Wizard, will set you straight. In fact, you must sign an acceptance clause of the rules before you will be allowed to enter. Sorry to say, you cannot bring in your pet hamster. And, although the moving spiral stairs may tempt you, strict regulations guard it --- so don't even think about requesting that the stairs whip around at emergency speed.

THE MAGYKAL PAPERS, filled with tidbits of information, hilarious asides and a smidgeon of dragon poo (not to mention a list of 10 important rules to being dead), is truly irresistible, completely enjoyable, and most definitely magykal.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on June 23, 2009

Septimus Heap: The Magykal Papers
by Angie Sage

  • Publication Date: June 23, 2009
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • ISBN-10: 0061704164
  • ISBN-13: 9780061704161