I forgot how much I liked this series. It’s a long book, like all of them, but this one was particularly good. It sort of relies on some elements from the previous book, but it mostly goes in a new direction. Naturally, we pick up on the cliffhanger from the last one- and this book is the search for Septimus’ and Jenna’s brother Nicko. There are several twists, however, and the whole point is not what you think it is. There were also some laugh-out-lines, as always. I love her writing. Given the number of pages, it kind of drags out slowly, but it doesn’t seem that way because it’s such a quick read (I finished this in 2 days).
I really like all the characters. They are so lively and done so well. From the best ones to the bad ones, they are all very 3D.
I’m still kinda iffy on Jenna, but she’s growing on me. She can be really stubborn, but she means well. I guess I liked her more in the last book. In this one, she was kinda frustrating. BUT. I remember one particular conversation she had with Septimus about their future- how he could choose whether or not to be a wizard, but she couldn’t choose not to be queen. That was a really important conversation, I think, and it represented their growing up. They’re still kids, but they have a lot more responsibility now, and that’s partially revealed by their quest to save Nicko.
I didn’t mind Septimus so much here. He wasn’t my favorite, but I liked him. In fact, Beetle was probably my favorite. He was a true friend, so helpful and knowledgeable. There was nothing off about him whatsoever, and his little crush on Jenna was SO CUTE. (I’m pretty sure it’s the only real hint of romance in the series so far, putting aside Lucy/Simon and Alther/Alice.)
I actually really began hating the witches in this book. They’re so nasty and probably have really dark intentions. And Septimus’ Forest brothers are all caught up in it, except good old Sam. I really liked Sam. He had a good head on his shoulders.
Simon kinda did a 180 here. He was all dark and evil before, but he seems totally reformed. I mean, nothing can excuse all the horrible things he’s done in the past, but I did feel a bit sorry for him. I couldn’t help it! I always have a soft spot for the baddies. In this book, he’s banished from the Castle, but I hope he gets accepted back in the future.
I don’t think I included this section on previous reviews in this series, but I LOVE the setting. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It’s done so well. There are tons of maps, and it’s described really well. Honestly I feel like if someone dropped me off in their world, just ANYWHERE, I would know where to go and what to do. I feel so part of it when I read. It’s so magical, but not like Harry Potter where it’s cut off from the rest of the world; rather, it IS the world.
Everything wraps up quite nicely, after a few twists, of course. It doesn’t really require a sequel, I don’t think- not many loose ties, but mostly a few storylines that could be expanded on (like Beetle and Jenna, Simon and Lucy, etc.).