‘The Wizards of Once’
By Cressida Cowell
(Book #1 in the Wizards of Once Series)
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publish Date: 2017
Series: The Wizards of Once (Book #1)
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Purchase Locations: Book Depository Booktopia Amazon & Kindle Audible Dymocks QBD
This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.
Perfect for boys and girls who love fantasy adventure …
Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests.
Wizard boy, Xar, should have come in to his magic by now, but he hasn’t, so he wants to find a witch and steal its magic for himself. But if he’s got any chance of finding one, he will have to travel into the forbidden Badwoods.
Xar doesn’t realise he is about to capture an entirely different kind of enemy. A Warrior girl called Wish.
And inside this book, at this very moment, two worlds collide and the fate of the land is changed forever.
Xar and Wish must visit the dungeons at Warrior fort, and face the evil Queen.
But something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring.
Outright, I really enjoyed this book. I had never read a book by Cressida Cowell but once I saw that she had written ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ I knew I wanted to read this story. I was not disappointed.
The story starts by following Xar (Pronounced Zar) a Wizard with no magical powers (yet). He’s a great character to start with. He is very self confident – regardless of his lack of magic – and is on the hunt to catch a witch to steal magic. We quickly meet is band of followers, magical creatures and adviser Caliburn who is a bird.
We learn about Xar’s plan and how he feels about his brother Looter (who in my opinion is not very nice) before we meet our other main character, Wish. She is a Warrior. Readers learn about the rift between the Witches and Warriors. Wish is a warrior who doesn’t want to be a warrior and enjoys all things magical – including an enchanted spoon which is where we first meet her.
The characters are introduced so well in the story and you make connections with them very quickly which I think is a spectacular characteristic particularly for middle grade novels and children need to be engaged instantly.
The illustrations throughout the book really enhanced the story and allowed you to picture this world that Wish and Xar inhabit. They go along nicely with the descriptions of the world. My particular favourites were the Spelling book, the tree house in which Xar lives and the dungeons in Wish’s Mother’s kingdom.
I was encapsulated in this little world from start to finish, I loved how they made Xar likeable and unlikable at the same time. I also loved Wish, as someone that works at an all girls school I love seeing determined, brave and daring female characters to introduce to the girls.
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 7/10
World Building: 6/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Have you read any of Cressida Cowell’s other books?