This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
by Angie Sage
Series: Septimus Heap #7 & last
Seventh and last in the Septimus Heap fantasy series for middle-grade readers and revolving around the Heap family.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Magyk. – Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law”
I have to confess that I thought Fyre would never end. Sage kept it going and going and…shades of that Energizer Bunny! She did tie quite a few loose ends off (while introducing all sorts of new possibilities and leaving some threads dangling). This is a series I’d prefer to read as quickly as possible to retain all the twists and turns that become important in later stories. Then again, that’s probably my “need to know” surfacing, as Sage does provide tidbits to remind you.
The prologue was handy as we learn what happened all those centuries ago when Hotep-Ra fled, the protections and plans he put in place to protect and serve. The reason why the Princesses and Queens ever since have been in danger.
Humph, we finally find out what caused the Great Alchemie Disaster. What. A. Betrayal!!
Dried wormsticks?? Ickkkk…!! And I can definitely do without the pig’s feet.
I have enjoyed the Septimus Heap series, as Sage does a lovely job of combining the silliness of children with giving them responsibility. There are good people and bad, with the good, naturally, coming out on top. There’s teamwork and supportive friends. There’s the fear and the courage to ignore it, to stand up for what’s right.
Sage’s descriptions appeal to the child in me:
“…like a large mechanical toy, the scorpion clattered on its way — two-three-together, two-three-apart, two-three-together, two-three-apart, two-three-together, two-three-apart— “
I love it when Nursie gets some comeuppance against the Port Witch Coven, *snicker* Then there’s the “truth” behind Jillie’s annoying habits with Hotep-Ra’s resolution, lol.
It’s a constant back-and-forth of achievements and setbacks, adventures everywhere with a few disasters, choices to be made (poor Septimus is torn between his two loves), individuals getting most annoyed with others, betrayals and traps…it’ll take them all to save the day. And someone, ahem, has a lot to answer for!
It’s a wedding. Simon Heap and Lucy Gringe’s to be exact. A happy occasion followed by the Big Freeze festivities…and a dying Dragon Boat.
Jenna will soon be Queen and Beetle is now Chief Hermetic Scribe. But it only leads to more Darke discoveries, and Septimus must rid the Castle of the Darke Domaine by destroying the Two-Faced Ring.
It will be a test of skills for many…
Port is the town where everyone lives.
Septimus Heap, once known as 412 in the Young Army and whose Darke name is Sum, is now a Senior ExtraOrdinary Apprentice to Marcia. Spit Fyre is Septimus’ curious dragon (Flyte, 2). Jim Knee is the reluctant jinnee Septimus picked up in Syren, 5. Jim has had a checkered past. Wait’ll you read about Tallula Crum, the cook at the Port Palace that Jenna discovers.
Madam Marcia Overstrand is the ExtraOrdinary Wizard and Septimus’ master, mistress?
The Wizard Tower was…
…started up by the very first ExtraOrdinary Wizard, Hotep-Ra, who also built the House of Foryx. Talmar Ray Bell is the Apprentice who left the Castle with Hotep-Ra. The Dragon Boat is a living dragon, left behind for another Dragon Master. Other, previous ExtraOrdinary Wizards include Julius Pike and Alther Mella who had been Marcia’s mentor; the ghost of Alice Nettles is finally Alther’s partner.
Thomasinn Tremayne is the Seal Watch Wizard. Hildegarde Pigeon is a sub-Wizard. Dandra Draa is the new Sick Bay Wizard and very skilled in DisEnchantment. Syrah Syara was Julius Pike’s Senior Apprentice back in his day until she was lost on Queste (Syren, 5). She’s now in a magykal coma. Rose has been an Apprentice in Sick Bay. Sassarin Sarson, Bernard Bernard, and Miroma Zoom are more wizards.
The Sealed Cell is the most secure place in the Wizard Tower and used for imprisoning dangerous and powerful Magyks. The Stranger Chamber is where visitors considered a threat to the Tower are kept.
Jenna is the Princess who had been found and raised by the Heaps fourteen-and-a-half years ago. Domino is her horse. Milo Banda is her blustering merchant father. Sir Hereward is the ghost who guards the Princess’ bedroom. Queen Cerys is the ghost of Jenna’s mother; I much prefer her grandmother’s ghost, Queen Matthilda. Julia is the friend Jenna makes on her Journey. Petroc Trelawney is a sentient pebble.
Marcellus Pye, the Last Alchemist who is now the Castle Alchemist, is the son of the 500 years-dead, mean Queen Ethelredda while Esmeralda had been his sister. (He’s also Princess Jenna’s many-times great uncle.) Drummins are an underground people who tend the Chamber of Fyre, except they call it the Deeps. Duglius Drummin is their chief. Perius is his deputy.
The Heaps are…
…a large, loving, and rather messy family who took in an abandoned baby girl all those years ago back when they lived in the Ramblings, a neighborhood in Port. Sarah and Silas are the parents; she keeps house at the Palace and still carries around Ethel, her duck-in-a-bag, while Silas is an Ordinary Wizard (and once an Apprentice to the ExtraOrdinary Wizard). Simon is their oldest son who went Darke for a while. Now he’s marrying Lucy Gringe, who turns out to be a good architect. Sam, the twins Edd and Erik, and Jo-Jo are the sons who ran off to live in the Forest. Nicko is a Senior Apprentice at the boatyard and loves the sea. Septimus is the youngest, the seventh son of a seventh son. Maxie is their ancient wolfhound.
Aunt Zelda Heap is the current Keeper out at Marram Marshes where she lives on Draggen Island in the Keeper’s Cottage, although now that the Dragon Boat has been moved to Port… She has a disgusting fascination for all things cabbage and buggy. Wolf Boy (once known as 409 in the Young Army but christened Mandy Marwick) is her Apprentice. Bert is Zelda’s duck. Wolf Boy still doesn’t know that he’s one-third of a set of triplets. Broda Pye was Marcellus’ wife back in the day as well as the then-Keeper. Ernold and Edmund Heap are the disreputable twins; Theo Heap is a Shape-Shifted Storm Petrel; and, Benjamin Heap is a Shape-Shifted tree — and Silas and Zelda’s brothers.
The Magykal Manuscriptorium and Spell Checkers Incorporated is…
…a combination magykal library, vault, and charms shop for the kingdom. And it’s a disastrous mess after Jillie Djinn’s reign. It also holds The Live Plan of What Lies Beneath, an interactive map of all the Ice Tunnels below the Castle. O. Beetle Beetle is its new Chief Hermetic Scribe (thank god! Darke, 6) who has gone off Jenna. Romilly Badger is the Inspection Clerk; Partridge is the new Scribe of Maps; William “Foxy” Fox is the Chief Charm Scribe; Barnaby Ewe is one of the scribes; Moira Mole is Beetle’s new clerk; and, Ephaniah Grebe, a half-man half-rat, is the Conservation, Preservation, and Protection Scribe. Jillie Djinn is the ghost of the previous Chief Hermetic Scribe; a nicer thing never happened the day she died.
Smugglers’ Bolt is a long tunnel to the Castle with a few ventilation shafts along the way: the Bail Out at Smugglers’ Rest and Mooman and Daisy Pike‘s farm (yep, Julius’ descendants through Martha Pike, his mother).
Rupert Gringe is Lucy’s brother; He’s currently seeing Maggie, the port barge skipper. Lucy’s parents are the snobby Theodora and Gringe — he’s the gatekeeper.
Staff at the Palace
Billy Pot is the dragon keeper; Barney Pot serves as a footman in the Palace. Maizie Smalls is the Palace and Castle TorchLighter who keeps trying to find Binkie, her cat who went feral in Darke and is now the chief of the Forest Cats.
People who store the Coronation paraphernalia include…
…Sally Mullin who runs Sally Mullin’s Tea and Ale House; she’s also a good friend of Sarah’s. Little Betsy Beetle and her grandmother manage to get the Coronation Pianola to the Palace all the way from the Ramblings.
Townspeople in Port
Bott’s Cloaks sells both old and new to wizards, only Bertie Bott was lost in Darke, and his widow(?) feels lost now. Larry Morologus owns Larry’s Dead Languages where he does translations. Stanley is head of the Rat Office who is training a Message Rat, Florence, one of his baby ratlets. Jannit Marten owns a boatyard and took Rupert and Nicko on as apprentices; Eustace Bott is the new Apprentice. Terry Tarsal owns the shoe store where Marcia buys her purple python shoes. Marcus Overland was an ex-Ordinary Wizard and Marcia’s father. Igor owns Gothyk Grotto, a junk shop where Marcus and Matt, Wolf Boy’s brothers, work along with Marissa, a witch who was with the the Wendron Witches under Morwenna Mould, the Witch Mother, and then the Port Witches Coven, a Darke group. Heather, Elizabeth, and Samson Snarp are stonemasons. Maureen runs The Harbor and Dock Pie Shop. Some of the pies actually sound good. Vilotta Bott and Tremula Finn are tourists in the wrong place. Alice TodHunter Moon is the little girl who waved to Septimus that night.
Merrin Meredith (Queste, 4) had been Simon’s unhappy Apprentice; he truly went Darke and then took over the Manuscriptorium! Turns out Nursie Meredith is his mother who lives in the Doll House. Dorinda is part of the Port Witch Coven. DomDaniel was an evil ExtraOrdinary Wizard who used to wear the Two-Faced Ring; Simon had been his Apprentice.
The Two-Faced Ring is where Shamandrigger Saarn and Dramindonnor Naarn, Warrior Wizards and Masters of the Darke Arts, a.k.a., the Ring Wizards, were trapped. They’re also the reason for the vortex that plunges to the Darke Halls beneath Bleak Creek (Darke).
Ice Wraiths haunt the Ice Tunnels. Moaning Hilda is one of them.
The Cover and Title
The cover is The Queen Rules all rebound and pretty in red leather with dulled gold corner protections and a locking clasp while the Dragon Boat, the series information at the top, the large title above center, the author’s name at the bottom, and the simple scroll work forming a border around the cover are in a gleaming gilt gold. We have a bird’s eye view of a small pyramid resting atop the Dragon Boat, one with the stamp of an Egyptian bird nestled within the flattened tip.
The title is the salvation at the end, the Fyre that comes to life and reveals the truth of long ago events.