Reviews /

Magicborn

Authored by Peter Bunzl
Published by Usborne

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It’s hard to know where to start reviewing this book. I remember being bowled over by the Cogheart series but this has certainly surpassed my memories of that book. In a children’s literature world where so many books are published each year it is hard to ‘stand out’ at times. This story does just that. It is a novel full of hope and escapism, has a tilt to so many fairy tales and literary characters and yet manages to be totally unique. This is down to Peter’s writing style. It is clean, bright and fresh. The language is not complicated but the story still challenges its reader.

Peter begins by telling us ‘This is not a fairy tale, though there are fairies in it. And Kings and Queens, and princesses and princelings and magic that comes from faraway places not found on any map’. Tempest and Thomas are twins, separated by a wicked curse set by their mother (but secretly altered by their aunt). They both end up in remote and difficult places. Tempest (storm girl) is found by Prosper, the ferry man and Marino, two kindly folk who found her and gave her a home for as long as she wanted. Thomas (wolf boy) lived in the forest having lost his way. Neither can initially remember how they got there. Both have a deep affinity to animals. Thomas with the wolves and Tempest with the robin, Coriel, who she can talk to. Approaching their thirteenth birthday, when the curse is due to be activated, the twins are tricked and captured by the Lord Hawthorn the Royal Sorcerer.

An adventure ensues involving parallel worlds, fairy antics and a great deal of magic. Their fate is slowly revealed as they begin to remember what had happened and how they had been tricked. They realise that they both have magical powers aided by their talismans. When these are taken by the wicked Lord Hawthorn, they must find new ways to ‘magic’ their way home and stop the curse before it is too late.

There are some lovely characters in the story. The relationship between Tempest and the robin, Coriel, is charming. Coriel is a very wise and caring robin and acts as guide and protector of Tempest. Kwesi (Hugh) the sorcerer’s apprentice becomes the twin’s friend and a protector too name. These are just two in a story with many more.

This is a terrific middle grade read full of fun, magic, wickedness and kindness. It offers lot of opportunity to open up discussion. For instance, the references to fairy tales throughout such as Tempests red coat and Thomas’s relationship with wolves are two possible talking points. There are so many superlatives I could use with this book; however, I merely suggest you read it. You will not be disappointed.