Title: Wizards of Once
Author: Cressida Cowell
Publisher: Hachette/Hodder Children’s Books
Published: 8th May 2018
Synopsis: From the bestselling author of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON comes an exciting high-adventure series – set in an ancient, magical time, full of Wizards, Warriors, Giants and Sprites.
#1 Sunday Times Bestseller Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award
This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught since birth 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. Until the Warriors came…
Xar is a Wizard boy who has no Magic and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns a banned Magical Object, and she will do anything to conceal it.
In this whirlwind adventure, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they’re going to make it to the dungeons at Warrior Fort.
Where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring…
Wish is a Warrior, and she owns a banned Magical Object. She’s out riding with her bodyguard, Bodkin, when she meets Xar, a Wizard boy without magic, beyond the age when magic usually comes in. Xar and Wish clash as they argue about who is superior in a fantasy land that mirrors the British Isles before they were known as such, according to the Unknown Narrator, who intrudes into the story with commentary every now and then, breaking the fourth wall in a very clever and entertaining way.
Xar and Wish forget their differences quickly when one of Xar’s sprites, Squeezjoos, is infected with Witch-blood. But saving Squeezjoos will be a challenge. Should they succeed in their quest to get into the dungeons of the Warrior fort, they could unlock a dangerous enemy that nobody wants to face.
I picked up this series because Hachette sent me the fourth and final book to review. That book is out at the end of the month, and I decided to read the whole series and have fun with it. I was absolutely hooked from the first page and devoured the first book within two days. I loved the alternating chapters that moved seamlessly back and forth when necessary, so we understood everything that was happening and how it fitted together.
This is one of those unique novels and series that is funny, serious and magical at the same time. It draws you into its world and invites you to experience every aspect through Xar and Wish, Cressida’s fabulous and evocative prose and her delightful, fun and joyful illustrations that contribute wonderfully to the story. I am setting out to read all four back-to-back during the next few weeks.
As the Unknown Narrator says, this is a world set in the British Isles, long before this name was used, feeding into the delicious fantasy world that Cressida Cowell has built, and that cleverly leads into the second book, which I am about to start reading. This looks to be a promising and clever series, drawing on tropes and common themes within fantasy, and giving them a twist that will entertain and capture the imaginations of readers of all ages.