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If you enjoyed the first book in this series, chances are that this sequel will be right up your street. Although I found the fact that the novel does not pick up exactly where The Wizards of Once left off to be a bit confusing at first, the novel eventually finds its feet again. Really the plot is more of the same, following Xar and Wish as they try to find a way to defeat the Witches.
Structurally, I did feel as though this novel had the same issue as the previous book. The first half of the story largely felt like filler. It separated both Xar and Wish once again, and took a surprising amount to time to bring them back together again. Yet, the novel did find its feet again in the second act and built to a climax that was very satisfying, if a little bit bittersweet in places.
While the themes that the novel presents can be very large - ranging from Wish's struggle with dyslexia to the difficulty in trying to unite people who have very different beliefs. Yet, the novel this time seemed to struggle to keep its focus. As with the previous instalment, the novel frequently bombarded the reader with new characters and concepts, flipping between one and the next without taking the time to develop them.
Yet, the book is sure to appeal to young and reluctant readers purely due to the fact it is so fast-paced and random. The tone of the novel is the perfect mix of creepy and humorous, and the accompanying illustrations do a great job of capturing the personality of the characters (even if they don't always exactly match what is described on page).
Yet, ultimately, as the story ended it did feel as though not a lot had been achieved. While the novel does end on a slight cliffhanger that did at least point Xar and Wish in the right direction for the sequel, it did not feel as though they were any closer to defeating the Kingwitch, curing Xar's witchstain in this novel or uniting the Warriors and Wizards.
In fact, even the characters did not get that much development this time around. Xar is still, largely, insufferable. He is arrogant and self-centred, usually acting in his own best interest. Although he does seem to change over the course of the climax, this largely comes out of left field and felt more like a sudden epiphany rather than character growth.
Wish, on the other hand, is still a wonderful character. The fact that Xar is so awful only serves to illustrate how brave and empathetic she is. I loved the scenes that focused on her learning how to use magic, and the delight that she felt as she discovered a way of learning that suited her. It was a shame that the adult characters could not share in her growth. Sychorax, in particular, seems to have taken a step back in this book and it annoyed me that she seems now to be portrayed in a far more negative light than Encanzo.
So, all in all, I was a bit disappointed by this one as I did not feel that it was as strong as The Wizards of Once. Hopefully, the story will pick up again in the third instalment.
I was terrified by the picture of the king witch... Every time i saw the picture i would always try to turn to the next page of the book. Eventually, i was so scared of the picture that i had to stop reading the book! Although, i did read the first book and it was much more stable than this book. I was absolutely petrified when i first saw the king witch hanging from the ceiling. And yeah that is my review of this book that i kind of read ;)
Wow, brilliant book. I bought S3 for £4 in Tesco for my non reading (for 2 years) grandson. He was hooked immediately, so after 2 weeks, I bought S1 and S2 and began from the start. He is going on 11 and parents never heard him read. This is a total transformation, we have achieved so much in a short time. He cannot wait for S4 to be released mid September- in the meantime he will start How to train your dragon. It helps that I am an ex primary schoolteacher.