Septimus Heap: Darke by Angie Sage

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Septimus Heap: Darke by Angie Sage

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: The Magykal world has been invaded by a terrifying Darke Domaine which freezes people and gradually kills them. Septimus and his companions, including one or two he would rather avoid, have to risk their lives once again to save the people they love.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 656 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1408806289

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The seventh son of a seventh son has magical powers, as we all know. And Septimus is that son, although it took quite a time for him to find it out. Now he's apprenticed to Extraordinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand, she of the short temper and fabulous shoes, and he's about to embark on a horrendously dangerous part of his training, called Darke Week. For this exercise he has chosen to rescue Alther, a ghost who was accidentally Banished (a lot of words start with capital letters in these books) by Marcia, but once again the baddies have other ideas.

Septimus and Princess Jenna are just about to turn fourteen, the age of adulthood. Their birthday party is to take place on Longest Night, when tradition dictates every window in the Castle will display a burning candle. But before the night is over, much of the area will be enveloped in a darkness more profound and terrifying than could be explained by a simple lack of moonlight. Someone with a serious grudge against Septimus has found a magical artefact so powerful he is able to summon the Things, creatures of evil and despair, plus an enormous dragon which eats anyone it finds in the streets of the town. Marcia and the wizards do everything in their power to repel the invasion, but little by little the Darke advances, until only the very top of the Wizard Tower is still visible. It is up to the Heap family and their friends to save the day, even though it means risking their lives to do so.

This is the sixth book in the series, and they are all satisfying long, allowing for plenty of action and character development. This is great if you have read them all in order (highly recommended), and if you have, then you would probably award the series a resounding five stars. It is gripping, fast-moving and thrilling, and to make sure it doesn't get too scary Angie Sage uses her trademark humour to lighten the mood. It may require a more puerile sense of humour than most adult reviewers would admit to, for example, but the scene where the Heap family, sealed in a small room overnight with a large horse, discover why he's called Thunder (and it has nothing to do with the stormy colour of his coat) is definitely giggle-worthy. All those oats, one supposes.

But this abundance of story does have its disadvantages. A few small strands of storyline (like Snorri and Alfrun, for example) appear in the text but do not develop until we reach what could be called the epilogue, when a series of paragraphs tells us what happened to them after the defeat of the Darke Domaine. Why did Nicko feel relieved when they left? And what is the difference between Jenna's dad and her father? Still, it has to be said a ton of backstory would be very tedious, and it is perfectly possible to enjoy the story without worrying too much about a few minor characters. The story also has a thoroughly satisfying sense of closure at the end, which doesn't always happen in lengthy series, and is to be commended. Settle yourself in a comfy chair with this book, and prepare to be shocked, entertained, scared and delighted. This series just gets better and better.

Further reading suggestion: This is the sixth book in the series, and if you enjoy it you will probably want to read some of the others too. Bookbag specially recommends Syren. And if you haven't already done so, you'd better make the acquaintance of that more famous wizard, Harry Potter. Start with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J K Rowling.

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Buy Septimus Heap: Darke by Angie Sage at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Septimus Heap: Darke by Angie Sage at


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