Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 132
Enchanting Historical Fantasy
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
An enchanting historical novel full of charming characters, whimsical and spooky magics, and one girl’s journey to save her family from an evil plot decades in the making.

Biddy grew up on the island of Hy-Brasil, an isolated refuge for some of the last magic in the world, in the care of the mage Rowan and his rabbit familiar, Hutchincroft. She longs to see the wider world which she has only read about in novels, but her first foray to England comes only when Hy-Brasil is threatened, and she and Rowan arrive in London armed with a desperate plan to protect their home from the grasping hand of the magical council. Faced with a whole new world, enemies old and new, Biddy begins to uncover dangers and secrets that threaten to undermine everything she’s been told about herself, her trust in Rowan, and magic’s very presence in the world.

This was one of those rare books where, from beginning to end, the only thing I wished to be different was for there to be a sequel. (Alas, none at this time). The workings of magic are largely left a mystery, and there are glimpses of magical artifacts, portals to fae-like worlds, and powers in old yew trees that feel very much of Celtic legend. Biddy is practical, charming, and kind - she cares for Rowan and Hutch, and the land of Hy-Brasil with familiar affection, but isn’t afraid to make herself heard when she disagrees about something important. As she learns about the world through her own experiences independent of Rowan, she learns that maybe this man who raised her has a history beyond what he’s shared with her, and a several themes in the book revolve around trust and responsibility in relationships, and how differently issues of trust are approached when coupled with love, envy, or hate. Biddy’s adventure is clouded with uncertainty and secrets, but deep down, more than anything, she and Rowan, and loyal Hutch, never lose the deep affection they have for one another as family.

I first became acquainted with this author through A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians, a historical fantasy novel about Pitt and Wilberforce, vampires, abolition, and revolution. It became one of my favorite books - in part probably because that’s one of the periods of history I find most interesting - and I’m so happy that The Magician’s Daughter, while not having that advantage, has become a favorite as well. Excited to see what HG Parry will be up to next!
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