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The Wizards of Once: Book 1 Paperback – 3 May 2018

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,279 ratings

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Product description

Review

World-conquering ― The Guardian

The first volume of a new series by author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon series is an event....Funny, thoughtful and surprisingly wise and lively, this is another coup from Cowell ― The Sunday Times

Cowell's latest work offers a fully realized fantasy world abounding with witches, sprites, killer plants, and talking ravens. Her scrappy teenage protagonists are wonderfully flawed and almost scarily realistic in their bravery, selfishness, and desire to please their parents yet not surrender their individuality. The omniscient narrator's voice is pitch-perfect, sounding appropriately young without ever talking down to the target audience. Readers will fall in love with the imaginative worldbuilding and humorous dialogue and asides....A delightful magical romp. ― Kirkus Reviews

The detail of Cowell's world is a delight...This one will run and run. ― The Observer

I am pleased to report that The Wizards of Once...is terrific. It introduces us to a new fantasy world, though its roots again lie deep in a familiar mulch of history and legend. Not the Norse myths this time, but a fantasia of ancient Britain, a land of dark, mysterious forests and powerful magic. What follows is a rollercoaster of suspense and surprise...The book has all the familiar Cowell trademarks. The story never flags, even at moments of calm and reflection, and the writing has humour, grit and depth. She provides her own illustrations, and their scratchy style and scribbled annotations strike the right note. It all adds up to a beautifully designed hardback volume. ― The Guardian

... sustain a sense of wonder and mayhem from start to finish. Cowell skillfully mixes adventure with silliness in a satisfying story for younger fantasy fans. ― Publishers Weekly

... it is by turns grim, poignant, philosophical and terrifying, woven through with Cowell's slapstick humour. ― The Times Literary Supplement

An exciting and promising start... A fantastical adventure ensues, filled with mythical beasts, cliff-hangers and an epic struggle between good and evil ― The Scotsman

bristles with rambunctious energy and humour, and feels as if it has been slapped down on the page with glee and mischief....its characters, Xar the wizard who has no magic, and Wish the warrior princess, who happens to have a magic spoon, are irresistible. ― Herald Scotland

Wizards, warriors, sprites and snow cats in a brilliant new fantasy adventure. ― The Bookseller

The Wizards of Once is... terrific... a rollercoaster of suspense. ― The Guardian

I loved The Wizards of Once. Of course! The new world Cowell has created is just as vivid...There's plenty of magic in Cowell's wild woods and it rises from the pages fresh and clear and with fizzling energy... And it's funny, as you'd expect. Cheerfully funny with daft jokes and slapstick and sharp dialogue... The underlying theme is one of tolerance of difference. She writes with empathy and encourages it in her readers that way. So much better to let kids come to their own conclusions once you've gently pointed them in the right direction. I think this is one reason why Cowell is so popular - there is a trust between author and reader that both feel and respect. ― The Book Bag

It's so brilliantly entertaining, exciting and scary, you'll be desperate to get your hands on the sequel. ― The Week Junior

Cressida Cowell is a gifted author with a real talent for taking her readers right inside her fantasy worlds. Now we have the start of a great new series, with more to look forward to...The illustrations by the author are an outstanding feature of the book - they really convey the atmosphere and propel the reader into this fantastical world. Totally absorbing. ― Parents in Touch

I really enjoyed this book because there were moments of suspense where you could guess what would happen and 9 times out of 10 be shocked by what happened.
It was really fun and a good read, I love how it all intertwines and locks. It is a book you get drawn into and can't put down and I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out because it leaves a real cliff hanger of an ending! An incredible read. 5 out of 5

Primary Times

Fans of How To Train Your Dragon who have been waiting for Cressida Cowell's new series will not be disappointed. Wizards, warriors, magic and two fab new mini heroes. ― Weekly Scoop

Without ever losing the qualities that have made her books so deservedly popular, very gently (and cleverly) Cressida Cowell leads her young readers into something deeper, something richer, something even more magical. In doing so, her contribution to children's literature follows exactly the same path. She is a true hero of current children's fiction. Her books are a gift and children, parents, carers, and teachers should all be deeply grateful for it. ― Magic Fiction Since Potter

A treat for old fans and newcomers alike. ― S Magazine

Packed with Cowell's own quirkly illustrations, and as imaginative, funny and warm-hearted as the Dragon books, The Wizards of Once is a pacy, exciting read that's sure to herald another hit series. ― Gainsborough Echo

Funny, thoughtful, lively and suprisingly wise, it is another coup for Cowell. ― The Sunday Times Ireland

The book bristles with rambunctious energy and humour, and feels as if it has been slapped down on the page with glee and mischief. And its characters are irresistible. ― The Glasgow Herald

This is a spellbinding adventure. It's so brilliantly entertaining, exciting and scary, you'll be desperate to get your hands on the sequel. ― The Week Junior

A wildly entertaining and funny adventure. It is a visual treat to snuggle up with or read together with an adult. ― South Wales Evening Post (Swansea)

If your kids adored How to Train Your Dragon, they'll be thrilled by the new The Wizards of Once. ― Family Traveller

The illustrations of Xar, Wish, the magical creatures, notices and maps will be familiar to fans of How to Train Your Dragon but they are darker and have more of a feel of Tinder or A Monster Calls. An enjoyable read for anyone who loves the idea that 'Once there was Magic'. ― The School Librarian

Full of quirky illustrations, it is a pacy read. ― Cornish Times

Packed with Cowell's own quirky illustrations and as imaginative, funny and warm-hearted as the Dragon books. ― The Wrexham Leader

A new fantasy world drawing on the background of Ancient Britain. The book is engagingly written with humorous illustrations and sketches adding to the flavour and vividness of the writing. A must of any KS2 reader who likes fast-paced adventure. ― The English Association

The story moves at a cracking pace. ― Teaching English

I would recommend this book to people who like long adventures stories. I would say people aged 9 to 12 would like the story. I would say that this one of the best books I have read. 10 out of 10. ― Cork Evening Echo

Book Description

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.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Hodder Children's Books (3 May 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 480 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1444936727
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1444936728
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 9 - 11 years
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 417 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.2 x 3.5 x 20 cm
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ India
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,279 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
1,279 global ratings
How are ratings calculated?

Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 12 September 2018
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Reviewed in India on 3 January 2018
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3.0 out of 5 stars An adventure for children
By Anusree on 3 January 2018
From the best selling author of How to Train Your Dragon comes yet another magical ride that is The Wizards of Once. The story, as the name suggests, is of Wizards and Witches and Warriors

The Plot

Xar is a wizard prince who is a reckless, stubborn, narcissist teenager. In the wizard tribe, magic comes to each wizard by the age of 12. But Xar was 13 and he had no hint of magic in him yet. He sets out with his magical companions one night to capture an evil witch and steal its magic and prove his worth to his King father and rest of the tribe.

But here is the thing : Witches are supposed to be dead. Or they were all killed by the warriors ages ago. Even if Xar managed to find one, Witches were far too  dangerous and evil to fall into Xar's trap.
On the same night, Wish - a warrior princess - is out in the forest with her bodyguard in search of her pet. Wish, like Xar, is a misfit in the warrior tribe.

So that fateful night brings Wish and Xar together. They are supposed to be enemies- As warriors knew Witches were evil, they thought all things magical were evil too. They hated everything magic and Wish's mother Queen Sychorax is one who goes out of her way to remove magic from magical creatures.

And thus begins the magical adventures of Xar and Wish.

 The Review

Cowell has once again proved her charm in the fantasy genre by The Wizards of Once. The writing is witty, thrilling and a page turner. Her illustrations wonderfully complement her words. But beneath all those magic, the story line stays weak.

Xar's character has borrowed unmistakable traits of Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. And he has too many sidekicks that it gets confusing. The story has an array of unnecessary characters which one could only hope would make sense in the sequels. But all these arguments could be invalidated considering that it is, afterall, a children's book.

Overall, The Wizards of Once is a joyous read. Though the book spans a little shy of 400 pages, it could be easily read in one night. Definitely recommended to children who loved the How to Train Your Dragon series.
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Arkham Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 January 2019
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18 people found this helpful
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The Elite Book Group
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect book for children of all ages (yes, even those with grey hair!)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 September 2018
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13 people found this helpful
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Stephen Ince
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect combination of story and illustration
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 November 2020
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Andy Shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars Having all loved HTTYD I was just hoping it would be worth ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 October 2017
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Mike Watson
3.0 out of 5 stars Good - but not quite as good as I’d’ve hoped.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 July 2019
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