African Zacharias Wythe is the new Sorcerer Royal to England – but after the mysterious disappearance of his master, the old sorcerer royal, there are more reasons than the colour of his skin that the rest of the magical world do not like him. Add into this the secret steady disappearance of magic, angry and dangerous foreign wizards, and a girl who wields incredible magical skill and power despite women being forbidden to do so and you have the set up for an extremely good book!
I really loved this book! It was tremendous fun to read from beginning to end, with a gripping plot, fantastic characters and a world set up that was simply fantastic. There was action and adventure in bucket loads and just about everything that you need for an amazing magical story. Even writing about it makes me want to re-read!
There was just so much going on here. The plots interweaved and twisted masterfully, shedding light and shadow on each other as we went. Magic is running out! Someone is trying to kill Zacharias! Prunella wants to get married! All the familiars have disappeared! And the vampires? Foreign relations? So much more!
Two thirds of the way through the book I got suddenly scared that there was no way that everything was going to resolve within the space of the book and that it was going to be the start of a long series, but amazingly everything came together remarkably satisfyingly.
Our main characters, Zacharias and the witch Prunella, are fantastic and very easy to empathise with. As outsiders because of their race we are compelled to root for them, and each of them learns things and grows throughout the plot, as well as being extremely likeable characters from the start. Plus the baddies are convincingly
And the set up was marvellous. We’re in Victorian London, but with magic. It’s even just possible to imagine it as a hundred years before Harry Potter, as the magical society is similarly real and human rather than removed and fanciful. There’s not too much effort trying to establish the rules of magic or how everything works either; we race through the story discovering things as we go, but left in no doubt that there is more that we have never seen.
I was left, therefore, desperately hoping for another book in this world, just to encounter it again. I heartily recommend this and I’m pretty certain it’ll be on my top books list of 2015! Plus, in the real version, the cover looks awesome!
Thanks so much Pan Macmillan for the chance to read this fantastic book in exchange for this review! My views are in no way affected by the free gift but I remain extremely grateful!