The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

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The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Fun and funny new fantasy from Cressida How To Train Your Dragon Cowell. It doesn't disappoint. Not too similar from her winning formula, but not too different either.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Hodder
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1444936700

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Xar and Wish only meet because they are both where they are not supposed to be. Xar is an impetuous young wizard keen to prove his magical prowess. Wish is a young warrior desperate to demonstrate her worth. They live in a world in which Iron vanquishes Magic - and the Magic of the witches is pretty evil stuff. Thankfully, the warriors have used Iron to keep the witches at bay. And now, they are turning their attention to the wizards. But what if not all Magic is bad? What if the witches are a threat to warrior and wizard alike? What then?

And this is how you get a brand new quest-driven story from Cressida Cowell!

Of course, I loved The Wizards of Once. Of course! Where How To Train Your Dragon was all about Viking history and seafaring, this new series takes us back further, to Iron Age Britain and the chalk hills of the Sussex Downs. The new world Cowell has created is just as vivid and, hopefully, will inspire just as many children to learn about this time outside of her books. There's plenty of magic in Cowell's wild woods and it rises from the pages fresh and clear and with fizzling energy.

And it's funny, as you'd expect. Cheerfully funny with daft jokes and slapstick and sharp dialogue. The supporting cast is vast and everyone will choose a favourite. Will yours be the talking raven? The kindly giant? Mine was Squeezjoos, a sprite I'd like to be best friends with if I could only get back in time to do it. Of the two main characters, you might laugh at Xar but you also might find him a tad annoying. He's impulsive to the nth degree and tends to the pompous. Wish is determined, kind and loyal, but she also has lessons to learn.

The underlying theme is one of tolerance of difference. But Cowell is clever about this. She is not didactic and never patronises her readers and I really like this about her. She writes with empathy and encourages it in her readers that way. So much better to let kids come to their own conclusions once you've gently pointed them in the right direction. I think this is one reason why Cowell is so popular - there is a trust between author and reader that both feel and respect.

The Wizards of Once is a great start to a new series. I wish it well.

If you're wanting to get back to dragons after reading The Wizards of Once, you could try the fabulous Dragon Orb series by Mark Robson.

Buy The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell at

Buy The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell at


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