Genre: Childrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Series: The Wizards of Once #1
Publication date: September 19th, 2017
Source: Pansing Malaysia
Page Count: 384
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.
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.
In a whirlwind adventure, 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 …
I received a proof copy of Cressida Cowell’s upcoming new series The Wizards of Once. Famous for her works in the How to Train Your Dragon series, in which movie I loved by the way, I was super excited to read this. I rarely read Children’s books. Their language and plot are a bit simpler than that of Middle Grade. So in an attempt to properly review this book, I put myself in the shoes of a pre-school/primary school child to see if this book would appeal to me had I read it back at that age.
Wizards of Once is the tale of a Wizard and a Warrior who met in an unusual circumstance and had to help each other out in order to save both human and magic world safe from the evil clutched of the Witches.
Hands down, Cowell is a great storyteller and illustrator. Despite being short, I felt thoroughly entertained with the adventures of Xar and Wish. The illustrations are so beautiful that I loved looking at them for long periods of time to memorize every little detail. However, being a proof copy, some illustrations were incomplete and yet to be included in the book. I was a bit sad about that but I’m sure the finished book is going to have an abundance of beautiful drawings that will entertain its young readers for hours.
Xar, the Wizard, wasn’t really my favourite character from this book. He’s annoying, disobedient (as mentioned by everyone), arrogant and self-centered. I don’t know how this kind of character would portray to a child but I do appreciate that Wish is the opposite of him. The book depicted how well two very different personalities can become friends. Wish is truly a special girl, and I want her to be my friend. Someone who is kind, loyal and caring is very hard to find.
The plot was very simple in a way that a child will be able to follow through easily and be amazed at all the wonderful new words that Cowell has created in this world. We see tough situations bringing Xar and his companions closer on a quest to save their world. It shows resilience, teamwork and perseverance bring out the best in us. And I think Cowell is great for this – for engaging a child’s mind to question beyond fiction. And see that these characters aren’t so different from us at all. We all have moments of cowardice and selfishness, but finding the silver lining in every situation makes us grow into kind human beings.
If you’re a parent reading this review, or an older sibling/aunt/uncle and you want your young ones to start reading, I think The Wizards of Once is a great series to begin with. Its language and plot are simple to comprehend, the illustrations are on point, and there are so many questions you can ask your young reader to make them think beyond the story.
I definitely would have enjoyed this book if I came across it during my preteen years.
I’d definitely recommend reading this during bed time. The voices and impersonations you can make while reading this aloud is just amazing. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Thank you Pansing Malaysia for providing me a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.