The Wizards of Once (The Wizards of Once #1)
This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.Perfect for boys and girls who love fantasy adventure ...Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests.Wizard boy, Xar, should have come in to his magic by now, but he hasn't, so he wants to find a witch and steal its magic for himself. But if he's got any chance of finding one, he will have to travel into the forbidden Badwoods.Xar doesn't realise he is about to capture an entirely different kind of enemy. A Warrior girl called Wish.And inside this book, at this very moment, two worlds collide and the fate of the land is changed forever.Xar and Wish must visit the dungeons at Warrior fort, and face the evil Queen.But something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring ...

The Wizards of Once (The Wizards of Once #1) Details

TitleThe Wizards of Once (The Wizards of Once #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 19th, 2017
PublisherHodder Children's Books
Rating
GenreFantasy, Childrens, Middle Grade

The Wizards of Once (The Wizards of Once #1) Review

  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Cressida Cowell is best known for her, “How to Train Your Dragon,” series, which was a big hit with my thirteen year old son, when he was younger. My ten year old daughter has never really shown interest in those books, but she read this very happily and enjoyed it immensely. The cover attracted her, with the words, “Once there was Magic…” intriguingly written across the back of the book. The story revolves around the conflict of a young wizard boy, named Xar, whose magic has not yet arrived at Cressida Cowell is best known for her, “How to Train Your Dragon,” series, which was a big hit with my thirteen year old son, when he was younger. My ten year old daughter has never really shown interest in those books, but she read this very happily and enjoyed it immensely. The cover attracted her, with the words, “Once there was Magic…” intriguingly written across the back of the book. The story revolves around the conflict of a young wizard boy, named Xar, whose magic has not yet arrived at the expected age, and a warrior girl, named Wish, who is all too keen to cover up the fact that she has magic and a wish which brings them together. The novel is set in Ancient Britain, a land of forests, magic, giants and really scary witches… The illustrations are a little dark, so this is probably best for children aged 8+ and it has lots of appeal to both boys and girls. This is obviously going to be one of a series and my daughter is keen to read on. She says that she liked the characters and setting very much and has noticed a few children in her year reading it, so I am sure this will be a great success. At nearly 400 pages, it is for confident readers, but the illustrations help make this an excellent choice for children and great fun to read aloud.
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  • Shahirah Loqman
    January 1, 1970
    You can view more reviews at: https://booklovesreviews.wordpress.com/Thank you Pansing Malaysia for the proof copy in exchange of an honest review*I received a proof copy of Cressida Cowell's upcoming new series The Wizards of Once. Famous for her works in the How to Train Your Dragon series, in which movie I loved by the way, I was super excited to read this. I rarely read Children's books. Their language and plot are a bit simpler than that of Middle Grade. So in an attempt to properly review You can view more reviews at: https://booklovesreviews.wordpress.com/Thank you Pansing Malaysia for the proof copy in exchange of an honest review*I received a proof copy of Cressida Cowell's upcoming new series The Wizards of Once. Famous for her works in the How to Train Your Dragon series, in which movie I loved by the way, I was super excited to read this. I rarely read Children's books. Their language and plot are a bit simpler than that of Middle Grade. So in an attempt to properly review this book, I put myself in the shoes of a pre-school/primary school child to see if this book would appeal to me had I read it back at that age.Wizards of Once is the tale of a Wizard and a Warrior who met in an unusual circumstance and had to help each other out in order to save both human and magic world safe from the evil clutched of the Witches.Hands down, Cowell is a great storyteller and illustrator. Despite being short, I felt thoroughly entertained with the adventures of Xar and Wish. The illustrations are so beautiful that I loved looking at them for long periods of time to memorize every little detail. However, being a proof copy, some illustrations were incomplete and yet to be included in the book. I was a bit sad about that but I'm sure the finished book is going to have an abundance of beautiful drawings that will entertain its young readers for hours. Xar, the Wizard, wasn't really my favourite character from this book. He's annoying, disobedient (as mentioned by everyone), arrogant and self-centered. I don't know how this kind of character would portray to a child but I do appreciate that Wish is the opposite of him. The book depicted how well two very different personalities can become friends. Wish is truly a special girl, and I want her to be my friend. Someone who is kind, loyal and caring is very hard to find.The plot was very simple in a way that a child will be able to follow through easily and be amazed at all the wonderful new words that Cowell has created in this world. We see tough situations bringing Xar and his companions closer on a quest to save their world. It shows resilience, teamwork and perseverance bring out the best in us. And I think Cowell is great for this - for engaging a child's mind to question beyond fiction. And see that these characters aren't so different from us at all. We all have moments of cowardice and selfishness, but finding the silver lining in every situation makes us grow into kind human beings.If you're a parent reading this review, or an older sibling/aunt/uncle and you want your young ones to start reading, I think The Wizards of Once is a great series to begin with. Its language and plot are simple to comprehend, the illustrations are on point, and there are so many questions you can ask your young reader to make them think beyond the story.I definitely would have enjoyed this book if I came across it during my preteen years.I'd definitely recommend reading this during bed time. The voices and impersonations you can make while reading this aloud is just amazing. Believe me, I've tried.
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  • Luna
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first Cressida Cowell I’ve read and it won’t be the last because I’ve been meaning to start the How to Train Your Dragon series for the better part of 2 years now and The Wizards of Once reassured me that I’d enjoy it. Admittedly though I didn’t love it. I’m not sure if it’s because I had built my expectations up so high before I began though.The Wizards of Once is fun. I’m certainly recommending it for world building and characters. Mostly the supporting characters though, I liked W This is the first Cressida Cowell I’ve read and it won’t be the last because I’ve been meaning to start the How to Train Your Dragon series for the better part of 2 years now and The Wizards of Once reassured me that I’d enjoy it. Admittedly though I didn’t love it. I’m not sure if it’s because I had built my expectations up so high before I began though.The Wizards of Once is fun. I’m certainly recommending it for world building and characters. Mostly the supporting characters though, I liked Wish and Xar but I liked their “support” menagerie more. Also this is very much a 1 in the series book. The ending is ok but you know you’re going to be in for the long-haul and I prefer stories where I can return if I want to but don’t feel like it’s a must – but that’s me.The chapters a short and you are a quarter of the way in the book before you know. There a lot of characters but Cressida Cowell manages to make it clear who’s who without long description so you feel part of the adventure. As mentioned I enjoyed the world building and the first book has laid the ground work for really building further so that will be good to see.I might visit Cressida Cowell first series before I return to Wish & Xar’s adventures but I’m sure I’ll be back soon enough.
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  • Hadaiyah
    January 1, 1970
    Couldn't guess the narrator of the storyGuess I'll have to find out when the next book comes out...
  • meg chia
    January 1, 1970
    3.5It was phenomenal for a middle grade as it is dark and twisted but for me, it is just fine. Don't die hard love it but don't hate it either. But I think I may like it enough to read the sequel
  • S.J. Higbee
    January 1, 1970
    My rather elderly Kindle did not handle Cowell’s trademark illustrations very well and I needed to persevere to pick out the text within the rather hinky formatting. However, I refused to be put off though it took me a little longer to get into the story than I had expected, simply because Xar is fairly obnoxious at the beginning – though as the narrative progressed, it became increasingly obvious why he is such a pain and I grew to like and sympathise with him.This book is clearly aimed at an o My rather elderly Kindle did not handle Cowell’s trademark illustrations very well and I needed to persevere to pick out the text within the rather hinky formatting. However, I refused to be put off though it took me a little longer to get into the story than I had expected, simply because Xar is fairly obnoxious at the beginning – though as the narrative progressed, it became increasingly obvious why he is such a pain and I grew to like and sympathise with him.This book is clearly aimed at an older age-group than the How To Train Your Dragon series, and consequently lacks the can-do chirpiness that runs throughout HTTYD no matter what is going on. The language is also richer, full of poetic metaphors and although the adventure is full of incident and unexpected developments that are the hallmark of a Cowell story, the issues are more nuanced. Neither Wish or Xar are all bad or all good and I particularly liked the way the adults are portrayed. Very often in children’s literature, adults are either bullying buffoons or simply oblivious. It’s relatively rare to see an adult with a significant backstory and an interesting hidden agenda, yet both parent figures in this book first appear as typically black and white authority figures, only to later develop into something far more intriguing. I shall be very interested to see how they develop in due course.All in all, this is a joy. I shall be reading it aloud to my granddaughter as a break from the Louis the Laugh series – after I’ve bought the print copy. And I have included the poem at the back of the book as something of a treat – I recommend you read it aloud…Wandering FreeIn the roads of sky and paths of seaAnd in that timeless long-gone hourWords of nonsense still had powerDoors still flew and birds still talkedWitches grinned and giants walkedWe had Magic wands and Magic wingsAnd we lost our hearts to impossible thingsUnbelievable thoughts! Unsensible ends!For Wizards and Warriors might be friends.In a world where impossible things are trueI don’t why we forgot the spellWhen we lost the way, how the forests fell.But now we are old, we can vanish too.And I see once more the invisible trackThat will lead us home and take us back…So find your wands and spread your wingsI’ll sing our love of impossible thingsAnd when you take my vanished handWe’ll both go back to that Magic landWhere we lost our hearts…Several lifetimes ago…When we were WizardsOnce.While I obtained the arc of The Wizards of Once from the publisher via NetGalley, this has in no way influenced my unbiased review.9/10
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    Public library copyIn Ancient Briton, there is the magic son of a Wizard, Xar, and the daughter of the queen of the Warriors, Wish. Xar has no magic, and Wish wants to embrace magic, even though her people are against it and are trying to remove all of it from the world. Xar is trying to get some magic, and thinks that it is a good idea to mix the blood on a sword that Wish has with his own blood. He's a bit unsure whose blood it is, but it turns out to be from a witch. Witches are terribly dang Public library copyIn Ancient Briton, there is the magic son of a Wizard, Xar, and the daughter of the queen of the Warriors, Wish. Xar has no magic, and Wish wants to embrace magic, even though her people are against it and are trying to remove all of it from the world. Xar is trying to get some magic, and thinks that it is a good idea to mix the blood on a sword that Wish has with his own blood. He's a bit unsure whose blood it is, but it turns out to be from a witch. Witches are terribly dangerous, and everyone thought they were gone, although one shows up and is dispatched by Xar and his many magical companions. Unfortunately, his sprite Squeezjoos is injured by the blood, and Wish and Xar approach Wish's mother to see if she can save him. Since both Xar's father and Wish's mother are cut from the same cloth as many British parents (odd and a bit abusive), this request is just made more difficult. Complications ensue, a magical witch killing sword figures largely, and a tenuous peace comes to the world of the witches and warriors, waiting for the next book in the series. Strengths: This will be popular with fans of Cowell's How to Train Your Dragon series, and seems very familiar. It's got a vaguely Monty Python-esque vibe to it, with lots of goofy characters, the sort of wizards vs. warriors scenario that shows up in lots of books, and has illustrations as well. The cover is quite nice. The parents do improve, and Xar does become less obnoxious as the book goes on. He and Wish are able to work together. Weaknesses: Nothing particularly new or fresh about the story. What I really think: There's something about some illustrations of noses that I find really repugnant. Ignatow's Popularity Papers has them, and Cowell's work does as well. Also, there are SOOOO many fantasy books based in ancient British mythology, and I think we just need to say no more. With the influx of new books with fantasies based in other cultures, I would rather spend my money diversifying my collection instead of adding the 200th book that seems vaguely like it's related to the story of King Arthur.
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  • Maria Antonia
    January 1, 1970
    Basic plot: Xar is a Wizard (but without magic) and Wish is a Warrior (with a magic sword) in a place where Wizards and Warriors are taught to hate each other. Brought together, they form an odd team against a deadlier threat. The Witches, thought extinct, are back.WHAT’S COOL…1) Xar and Wish are likeable, but also have their own quirks (and at times can be unlikeable!) I like that Xar is not just a copy of Hiccup. He shares some attributes with Hiccup, but he’s different enough.2) I liked how W Basic plot: Xar is a Wizard (but without magic) and Wish is a Warrior (with a magic sword) in a place where Wizards and Warriors are taught to hate each other. Brought together, they form an odd team against a deadlier threat. The Witches, thought extinct, are back.WHAT’S COOL…1) Xar and Wish are likeable, but also have their own quirks (and at times can be unlikeable!) I like that Xar is not just a copy of Hiccup. He shares some attributes with Hiccup, but he’s different enough.2) I liked how Wish’s eye patch comes into the story. (I won’t spoil it.)3) I really like the talking raven, Caliburn. I love his philosophy and his wisdom. Great character!4) As with How to Train Your Dragon, the illustrations in the book are wonderful and unique. They add the extra oomph.5) I like how the parents in this series are not quite the bumbling idiots from HTTYD. I respected them. I even feared them (especially Wish’s mother: Queen Sychorax). Yet, the children each seek approval and love from these parents, which ultimately humanizes them.  (Note: I noticed in the early HTTYD books, Cowell portrays her parents as 2D buffoons. But then in the later books, especially during the dragon rebellion, this changes slightly. I wonder if she rather regretted this earlier characterization?? And with this new series, I’m guessing she wanted to start with a different tone.)6) The Witches make for a formidable foe. I like how she ties the plot points together. When we finally meet the Kingwitch, I was like: Yeah, that makes sense.7) The Unknown Narrator is a nice touch. I have my guesses, but I can’t/won’t say for sure yet. I’m assuming this is something that will play itself out as the series continues.8) I don’t like cliffhanger books. I like a book to have its own ending. This book has that! Yay! But, it’s also lets you know that there’s more to come. (Which is a good thing. Because now I am excited for Book 2, which probably won’t be out for a year and a day. But I’m cool with that.)WHAT’S NOT COOL…1) I wasn’t too crazy about Squeezjoos, the little baby sprite. He was a little too much like Toothless-meets-Jar Jar Binks. I like Toothless. I don’t care for Jar Jar.FINAL THOUGHTSMy rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – Which is a high rating from me. (Rarely do I rate a book 5 stars.) This book is definitely written by the author of How to Train Your Dragon, but it has enough differences that it is its own book/series. I was afraid the book wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but I’m glad to say, it passed the test… with flying colours!This review was originally published at my blog.
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  • Jessica M
    January 1, 1970
    http://jessjustreads.comThe Wizards of Once is the first book in a new middle grade fantasy series by Cressida Cowell, the author of How to Train Your Dragon. It’s about two kids — completely different from each other and too stubborn to want each other’s help or guidance — who must band together to destroy an evil that plagues both of their worlds.Deeply rooted in history and legend from ancient Britain, this book takes place in a land-filled with dark magic, mysterious forests, and suspicious http://jessjustreads.comThe Wizards of Once is the first book in a new middle grade fantasy series by Cressida Cowell, the author of How to Train Your Dragon. It’s about two kids — completely different from each other and too stubborn to want each other’s help or guidance — who must band together to destroy an evil that plagues both of their worlds.Deeply rooted in history and legend from ancient Britain, this book takes place in a land-filled with dark magic, mysterious forests, and suspicious characters. It isn’t too hard for the reader — child or adult — to grasp the history of this setting. There are warriors (no magic), witches (evil and magical), and wizards (good and magical). “Giants are big and they tend to have BIG thoughts”The warriors lived out beyond the sea and were invaders. They disliked the witches and wiped them out years ago. Since then, they’ve also been wanting to wipe out wizards as well. However, as the novel begins and we are introduced to the cast of characters, we learn that there’s a mutual hatred amongst the neighbouring lands in the Kingdom because both warriors and wizards are very much still alive and they despise each other. The warriors haven’t been successful in their plight to destroy wizards and their magic. And so begins the story of Xar (the King Enchanter’s Son) and Wish (Warrior Princess).The Wizards of Once is suspenseful and intriguing, with sketchy, scratchy illustrations scattered throughout the book. Kids will love the story, and although it’s a large book, some pages have no text on them and so kids won’t feel too daunted when picking this up to read. At times I did find that the pace slowed a little too much, and I started skim reading just to keep things moving a little faster. In retrospect, Cressida probably could’ve trimmed the book in certain sections to keep the pace from slowing. Despite this, the characters are brave, bold and really fun to read. They’re incredible flawed. They’re polar opposites and they compliment each other well. They learn to trust each other and to support each other, and together they work to tackle a common evil. Scattered throughout the story are moments of humour, reflection and depth.Cowell’s world is delightful and fun and The Wizards of Once is a rollicking adventure — I’d recommend this to children aged 8-13. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    This is the problem with adventures. They bring out parts of you that you never even knew were there. I'm a huge fan of the HTTYD books, so I had to read this. The Wizards of Once is the first of a new series from Cowell, featuring Xar, a cocky Wizard boy who'll do anything for magic; Wish, a Warrior girl with a strange aptitude for discovering things she shouldn't; and Bodkin, assistant bodyguard. They're followed by a talking raven called Caliburn (SOLD) and a whole score of other creatur This is the problem with adventures. They bring out parts of you that you never even knew were there. I'm a huge fan of the HTTYD books, so I had to read this. The Wizards of Once is the first of a new series from Cowell, featuring Xar, a cocky Wizard boy who'll do anything for magic; Wish, a Warrior girl with a strange aptitude for discovering things she shouldn't; and Bodkin, assistant bodyguard. They're followed by a talking raven called Caliburn (SOLD) and a whole score of other creatures on an uncomfortable, dangerous adventure. As the book started off, I thought several of the characters seemed like HTTYD characters under different names, but they turned out to be vastly unique. The story is similar to the way HTTYD stories unfold, but is so different at the same time that you don't feel like you're reading a rewrite. It's high-paced adventure with a casual narration (insert humor and morals) and amazingly telling illustrations. If you still aren't interested, think Harry Potter crossed with a slightly darker How to Train Your Dragon . For those who think these books are childish, you didn't read far enough. While they are suitable for children, they are layered with plot detail that makes them perfect for any age. I'm 21, and I adore them. This book is clean.
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  • Shae McDaniel
    January 1, 1970
    I very much enjoyed that. I've always liked Cressida Cowell's writing style, so connecting with the prose itself was no surprise. But between the awesome illustrations (by Cressida!), the humorous characters, and the exciting diversions from the fun fantasy adventure plot into outright creepiness, I was one happy reader. I think most people will like Wish the Warrior princess best, which is completely fair, because she's awesome. However, I also enjoyed Xar the Wizard prince. He was like a great I very much enjoyed that. I've always liked Cressida Cowell's writing style, so connecting with the prose itself was no surprise. But between the awesome illustrations (by Cressida!), the humorous characters, and the exciting diversions from the fun fantasy adventure plot into outright creepiness, I was one happy reader. I think most people will like Wish the Warrior princess best, which is completely fair, because she's awesome. However, I also enjoyed Xar the Wizard prince. He was like a great mix of the non-appalling aspects of Peter Pan and The Thief-era Gen but with even less impulse control! Also, his sprites and giants and other magical companions are such a joy. There's a little something for everyone here: great twists, giggles, silly creatures, scary moments, cool illustrations, characters you love to root for, complex relationships... and Cressida says David Tennant will be narrating the audiobook, so that's certainly something to look forward to as well!
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  • Melleny
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsIf you would like to see all my thoughts on this book, be sure to check out the review on my blog:www.abooktropolis01.blogspot.co.zaBut here is a snippet and overview of what I thought:Overall, I adored this middle grade. Usually if a book is very middle grade, I don't like it as much as I thought I would. But with this book I found myself loving it from the beginning. The writing was fun and enjoyable. The illustrations were gorgeous and the dialogue was light and fluffy, with some hum 4.5 StarsIf you would like to see all my thoughts on this book, be sure to check out the review on my blog:www.abooktropolis01.blogspot.co.zaBut here is a snippet and overview of what I thought:Overall, I adored this middle grade. Usually if a book is very middle grade, I don't like it as much as I thought I would. But with this book I found myself loving it from the beginning. The writing was fun and enjoyable. The illustrations were gorgeous and the dialogue was light and fluffy, with some humour tucked away inside it. The plot was packed with events that just made you want to join the story even though it is a bit scary. The characters were absolutely spectacular! They each had their own little quirks. I ended up loving Wish and really disliking Xar. At the end of the day, I highly recommend this book! Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan South Africa for providing me with a copy of this book!
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  • Carien
    January 1, 1970
    So this was totally a cover buy, although the story sounded fun as well. When the book arrived it turned out it was full of beautiful illustrations as well.The book is a children's book, but a treat for any fan of Fantastical stories. I very much enjoyed the antics of Xar and his companions, and I really liked Wish and her bodyguard assistant Bodkin.The illustrations show scenes in the story, but are also used as a storytelling device. Like in the part of the books that shows Xar's spelling book So this was totally a cover buy, although the story sounded fun as well. When the book arrived it turned out it was full of beautiful illustrations as well.The book is a children's book, but a treat for any fan of Fantastical stories. I very much enjoyed the antics of Xar and his companions, and I really liked Wish and her bodyguard assistant Bodkin.The illustrations show scenes in the story, but are also used as a storytelling device. Like in the part of the books that shows Xar's spelling book. The story is both fun and suspenseful. Xar and Wish have to team up to get themselves out of trouble and to keep horrible things from happening. This book ends with some major storylines resolved, but also leaves enough open to keep you guessing what things might come next for Xar and Wish.All in all a very enjoyable and action-packed read, and a beautiful addition to my keeper shelves.
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  • Kira H
    January 1, 1970
    I`d like to read this book because it`s from the same author that writes the 'How to train your dragon' series, and she recently ended it. So she`s moved on to writing a series about a wizard who has no magic, and a warrior who has a forbidden object (which I know what it is but I'm not going to say) and the two were raised to hate each other. I met Cressida Cowell at he library and she`s had an awesome life as child and she talked about the book, and sounds great so I can`t wait. I`d like to read this book because it`s from the same author that writes the 'How to train your dragon' series, and she recently ended it. So she`s moved on to writing a series about a wizard who has no magic, and a warrior who has a forbidden object (which I know what it is but I'm not going to say) and the two were raised to hate each other. I met Cressida Cowell at he library and she`s had an awesome life as child and she talked about the book, and sounds great so I can`t wait.
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  • Ronja
    January 1, 1970
    I listened to the Audible version read by David Tennant - or as one should rather say performed by David Tennant.It is an enchanting book, told in a charming way and telling a story which is adventurous and funny and propagates all the right messages to kids (and I suppose, to their parents as well).If there were six stars I would award them - because of David Tennants hilarious performance. He had me in stitches much of the time. Absolutely brilliant.
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  • KBev
    January 1, 1970
    I might be in the minority on this, but I felt the illustrations were very incongruent to the story. They were really dark, while I felt the story was really for the younger crowd. Morethe 8 year olds than the 12 year olds. Just seemed a bit much at times. But it was fun & there is definitely an audience for this book out there.
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  • BookHugger
    January 1, 1970
    yikesokay review to come, hopefully soon because this book'll be published soooooon, speaking of which, if you think it looks interesting, GO READ IT! I kinda hated it, but YOU MIGHT LIKE IT. more on that ~later~-book huggerhttp://www.bookhuggerreviews.com
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  • Hannah Emory
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite thing about Cressida Cowell’s writing is that she combines suspense and silliness, fancy and fundamental truths. Her stories give young and older readers alike a hero to root for, an adventure to go on, and a feeling of hope that fantastic things can happen to anybody. This first magical installment in a new series from the author who brought you Hiccup and Toothless will have you by turns giggling, biting your nails, and maybe shedding a tear or two.
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  • Nannette Demmler
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adore the How to Train Your Dragon series, so I was eager to snatch up this ARC and read it. I was not disappointed. Cressida Cowell has come up with a unique and wonderful story about two totally different kids who have been brought up as enemies but come to understand and like each other. Mix in some fairy tale creatures, snowcats, and witches and you have delightfully fun story. Plus there are Cressida’s distinctive drawings to help enhance the story and bring all of the characte I absolutely adore the How to Train Your Dragon series, so I was eager to snatch up this ARC and read it. I was not disappointed. Cressida Cowell has come up with a unique and wonderful story about two totally different kids who have been brought up as enemies but come to understand and like each other. Mix in some fairy tale creatures, snowcats, and witches and you have delightfully fun story. Plus there are Cressida’s distinctive drawings to help enhance the story and bring all of the characters to life.Xar is a very interesting character. He can be very annoying at times, especially when he is boasting about how he is the chosen one. But he is clever and smart and really wants to make something of himself, even when he chooses to go about it in the wrong way. He has a delightful group of sprites, giants, snowcats and other creatures that are very loyal to him and follow him around helping him out of trouble. Caliburn, a raven that watches over and tries to advise Xar, was one of my favorite characters. He often was the voice of reason and seemed to always have an answer to all of Xar and others questions and issues.Wish, the warrior princess, is a quirky young lady and not at all warrior like. She is kinds and curious, but also brave and willing to do what needs to get done. Wish’s character probably goes through the biggest change in the story and even though I was pretty sure about her big reveal towards the end there was still more to it than I thought there would be. Her mother Queen Sychorax (yes I spelled that correctly) is not a nice person for the most part. She doesn’t treat Wish very well but comes to appreciate her a bit more by the end of the story.Bodkin, is Wish’s apprentice body guard and was a delightful addition to the cast. He spent a lot of his time telling everyone that they were doing the wrong thing and bad things would come of it. He is loyal to Wish although he doesn’t completely understand her. And even though he doesn’t like magic, by the end of the story I think he comes to appreciate it a bit more. The plot is wonderful. There are lots of twists and turns and the ending was not something I was totally expecting. It is fast paced enough to make it exciting and hard to put down. There are some touching moments between the parents of both kids and Xar and Wish that are very nicely done. Although there is a definitive end to this story, there is still enough questions to make you want to pick up the next book to continue seeing what happens with Xar and Wish.If you like my review check out my blog at https://elnadesbookchat.com/
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  • Book Gannet
    January 1, 1970
    This was fun. Wizards and warriors, not-very-heroic heroes, magical beasts, scary monster witches, a talking raven and a magic spoon, all set in ancient Britain – what’s not fun about any of that? Illustrated throughout in Cowell’s distinctive sketchy (yet clever) style, this book is perfect for any child who love fantasy, even if they aren’t strong readers.Xar and Wish are very, very different. Xar is confident and headstrong, foolish and selfish, and not particularly likeable for most of the b This was fun. Wizards and warriors, not-very-heroic heroes, magical beasts, scary monster witches, a talking raven and a magic spoon, all set in ancient Britain – what’s not fun about any of that? Illustrated throughout in Cowell’s distinctive sketchy (yet clever) style, this book is perfect for any child who love fantasy, even if they aren’t strong readers.Xar and Wish are very, very different. Xar is confident and headstrong, foolish and selfish, and not particularly likeable for most of the book. He wants magic and doesn’t care how he gets it. And yet, there are times when a better person emerges – he does care about his friends, whether they’re sprites, animals or human, and there is some hope that he might eventually learn from all his numerous mistakes. (Maybe.)Wish couldn’t be more different. She’s uncertain and strange, shy and hesitant, yet really nice. She isn’t a natural Warrior because she tends to ask questions and not accept the her mother’s rules just because she should. She’s smart too and friendly. I liked her a lot and loved seeing her grow stronger through the book.Alongside these two are plenty of friends – from assistant bodyguard Bodkin, to friendly giant Crusher, along with snowcats and sprites, that cute magic spoon and poor put-upon Caliburn, the talking raven who is charged with the impossible task of keeping Xar sensible. We also see two very different parents in the leader of the Wizards and the leader of the Warriors, ruling over a wild wooded world full of fun details and scary threats.I really enjoyed this – the characters, the plot, the illustrations – the whole book was a joy to read. It’s exciting and silly at times, dangerous and dark at others, but once started I didn’t want to put it down. So if you have any magic or adventure loving children in your life, hand them a copy of this. I’m pretty sure they’ll enjoy it too. I can’t wait to read the next one.(ARC provided by the publisher via Amazon Vine.)
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  • Margaret Boling
    January 1, 1970
    10/20/2017 ** Unfortunately, I didn't feel that this book lived up to the cover and flyleaf, sadly. After hearing the author speak and seeing her original sketchbook at the Heartland Fall Forum (a trade show for independent booksellers) I was ready to fall in love.From the flyleaf:Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests. Until the Warriors came...Xar is a Wizard boy who has not Magic and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns something forbidden, s 10/20/2017 ** Unfortunately, I didn't feel that this book lived up to the cover and flyleaf, sadly. After hearing the author speak and seeing her original sketchbook at the Heartland Fall Forum (a trade show for independent booksellers) I was ready to fall in love.From the flyleaf:Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests. Until the Warriors came...Xar is a Wizard boy who has not Magic and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns something forbidden, something magical, and she will do anything to conceal it. When stars collide, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they are ever going to make it to the hidden dungeons at Warrior fort...where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring...Problems: Frist, the plot moved too slowly, with too much commentary from the unknown narrator. Second, I never felt like I really knew Xar and Wish - the narrator spent too much time telling me about their traits and not enough time showing me their personalities through actions. Finally, I didn't feel like the characters especially grew or learned as a result of their adventure, though this could be to leave space for growth in future books in the series.Interesting: The narrator often broke the fourth wall and spoke directly to the reader - this helped draw me into the story more fully. Though the style of the illustrations isn't especially to my taste, I think that many children will find them appealing.I look forward to sharing this book with fans of The Spiderwick Chronicles and other tales of high fantasy. I'm curious to hear the opinions of those for whom the story is actually written.Note: I received a copy of this book at a paid breakfast at the Heartland Fall Forum.
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  • Leilah Skelton
    January 1, 1970
    Cressida Cowell, author of the best-selling ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ books, introduces with ‘The Wizards of Once’ the start of a new adventure series set in an ancient, forest-covered Britain. Xar, a young wizard with a reckless compulsion to prove his magical worth runs headlong into an odd young warrior called Wish, whose approval will only come when she discards her own peculiar, concealed magic. Each from fiercely opposed tribes, their paths only cross on account of them both being somewhe Cressida Cowell, author of the best-selling ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ books, introduces with ‘The Wizards of Once’ the start of a new adventure series set in an ancient, forest-covered Britain. Xar, a young wizard with a reckless compulsion to prove his magical worth runs headlong into an odd young warrior called Wish, whose approval will only come when she discards her own peculiar, concealed magic. Each from fiercely opposed tribes, their paths only cross on account of them both being somewhere they shouldn’t. With a supporting cast of magical creatures, sprites, fairies, ogres, giants, scary witches, and one fantastically exasperated raven, this is a brilliantly imagined world. I found it an engrossing story and a perfect place to spend the witching hours. The Wizards of Once crackles with alchemy, and cleverly combines old magic, folklore and traditions with timeless (and therefore highly relatable) dilemmas – The need for approval, or the challenging of prejudices, or querying the status quo. Here, the goodies aren’t 100% good and the baddies aren’t 100% bad, and every twist that this tale takes has a consequence. What’s also fantastic about this book is the degree to which, alongside the story, it gently encourages empathetic thought. There’s plenty to think about between chapters and Cowell invites her young readers to think for themselves, steering them gently towards kindness and tolerance, without ever overstepping to appear condescending. This author clearly trusts in the intelligence of young readers, and hooray for that.With a cracking quest-driven plot, a map – for all the best books have maps, – and Cressida’s own beautifully magical, scratchy, inky illustrations throughout, this is a great story to both read aloud and pore over. There’s a lot more here than meets the eye, and that’s a magic that you only get with a certain calibre of story…
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    A gleefully written tale of magic in Iron age Britain -"a British Isles so old it did not yet know it was the British Isles" - of two warring tribes: the Wizards & Warriors; to the wizards, the warriors are a wicked invading force, cutting down their forests & wiping out their magic, to the warriors, the wizards are uncivilised & ignorant and that magic brings evil & anarchy. Both are convinced they're right & the other is wrong (doesn't sound familiar at all right?). Two chi A gleefully written tale of magic in Iron age Britain -"a British Isles so old it did not yet know it was the British Isles" - of two warring tribes: the Wizards & Warriors; to the wizards, the warriors are a wicked invading force, cutting down their forests & wiping out their magic, to the warriors, the wizards are uncivilised & ignorant and that magic brings evil & anarchy. Both are convinced they're right & the other is wrong (doesn't sound familiar at all right?). Two children from each of these tribes meet, both, for various reasons, considered disappointments by their people & desperate for approval. They find that perhaps either side isn't quite what the other thought it was & that they might just have to start learning to work together. For while their people have spent centuries squabbling, something greater & more evil has been stirring, waiting for the right time to wake. After all, as anyone who pays attention to fairy tales knows: dark woods are dangerous.The style is... not 'simple' but unfussy, with a (pleasantly) surprising amount of depth with some not coincidental references to 'The Tempest' (& I think, possibly, one or two to 'A Midsummer's Night Dream'?), creating an atmosphere that is enhanced brilliantly by the beautifully idiosyncratic illustrations. The story gallops along, with moments of both pathos & bathos (or, to put it in less pretentious language, it makes you laugh and tugs on your heart strings) & characters you'll immediately recognise. But who is the mysterious 'unnamed narrator', the 'god' of the story? Where on earth will the story go next? I've no idea but I'm looking forward to finding out.
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  • Allison M
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars for this children's fantasy adventure book.This novel is the first in a new series by Cressida Cowell and it is a fun and scary adventure. The main characters are thirteen-year-olds Xar, younger son of a powerful Wizard king, and Wish, the seventh daughter of Sychorax, Queen of the Warriors. Xar is a self-absorbed, overconfident, unthinking, infuriating boy who will do anything to obtain magic: most Wizard children have their Magic 'come in' by the age of 13 and Xar worries that he wil 3.5 stars for this children's fantasy adventure book.This novel is the first in a new series by Cressida Cowell and it is a fun and scary adventure. The main characters are thirteen-year-olds Xar, younger son of a powerful Wizard king, and Wish, the seventh daughter of Sychorax, Queen of the Warriors. Xar is a self-absorbed, overconfident, unthinking, infuriating boy who will do anything to obtain magic: most Wizard children have their Magic 'come in' by the age of 13 and Xar worries that he will never have Magic unless he steals it from a Witch. Wish is kind, lonely, thoughtful and dismissed by most as unWarriorlike and very unlike her beautiful scary mother the Queen. They are accompanied by a host of other characters including Bodkin, conscientious Assistant Bodyguard to Wish who discovers he has a 'slight fainting issue' when faced with danger, Crusher a gentle Giant, snowcats, sprites, hairy fairies and an enchanted spoon. The characters and their relationships are beautifully drawn.It is an exciting and well plotted tale involving the enmity of Wizards and Warriors; extinct-or-perhaps-not evil Witches; journeys, trials, and quests; lies and uncovered truths; and credible development of the characters. The only aspect of the book that I was less keen on was the narrative voice - this is subjective of course but I found the way the book was narrated rather off-putting, with laboured humour and at times it was just too twee for my liking. I am not commenting on the illustrations as I was unable to view many of them in my Adavanced Reader Copy.I received this ebook free from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Adele Broadbent
    January 1, 1970
    Xar is selfish, impulsive and full of himself. After all, he is the son of Encanzo, the King Enchantor. But he is the youngest son, and his magic hasn't come in yet, causing him embarrasment and worry.Wish is the daughter of Queen Sychorax, the most evil queen in the Warrior Empire. Wish is also impulsive, daring, and rebellious, but also caring and kind.They are taught from birth that the other is a foe, an enemy, one to be slain if need be. But these two venture out into the darkness on the sa Xar is selfish, impulsive and full of himself. After all, he is the son of Encanzo, the King Enchantor. But he is the youngest son, and his magic hasn't come in yet, causing him embarrasment and worry.Wish is the daughter of Queen Sychorax, the most evil queen in the Warrior Empire. Wish is also impulsive, daring, and rebellious, but also caring and kind.They are taught from birth that the other is a foe, an enemy, one to be slain if need be. But these two venture out into the darkness on the same night, breaking the strict rules of their forts. Wish is looking for her friend, a magical spoon that has run away. Xar is hoping to catch a witch. Everyone knows witches are extinct, but Xar believes if he can catch one and harness its magic, he will finally make his father proud of him and quieten his older brother's taunts.But there is something else out in the darkness. Something wild and evil, which throws them together into a uneasy pact to help the other. Not only do they have to face their angry parents, the something's power has been growing their whole lives and they have unwittingly unleashed it.Told directly to the reader, this is an exciting story about a prince and a princess unlike any other. Xar is a weedy, annoying brat and Wish has a limp and an eye patch. But both have loyal sidekicks who will defend them to the death. Xar's magical creatures are funny and fantastical and Wish's assistant bodyguard is new at the job and trying to be brave. Full of mystical pencil sketching illustrations, this was a great read with an unanswered question at the end - who is narrating the story?
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  • Carrie Griffin
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this novel. The fantasy tale was interesting and also cute. I rooted for all of the characters especially our two main characters, Xar and Wish. Also, the witches are interestingly different than I have ever seen before and are creepy. Cressida Cowell is great at story building and writes with a voice throughout the story that I could not get enough of. Her use of wit and narration are great parts of this story. David Tennant did a great job creatin I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this novel. The fantasy tale was interesting and also cute. I rooted for all of the characters especially our two main characters, Xar and Wish. Also, the witches are interestingly different than I have ever seen before and are creepy. Cressida Cowell is great at story building and writes with a voice throughout the story that I could not get enough of. Her use of wit and narration are great parts of this story. David Tennant did a great job creating a distinct voice for each of the characters. He made this book so much for me and I know that I will be picking up the rest of the series once they come out. I will have a full review of this audiobook up on my blog: https://whattoreadwithcag.blogspot.com/, on Friday, September 15th. If you get the chance to read this book I would recommend it and if you want to get a great audiobook I would recommend this one. David Tennant did a phenomenal job reading this wonderfully written book. *I received a copy of the audiobook for free for an honest review. I cannot wait to get a physical copy of this book.
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  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    Cressida Cowell, author of the How to Train Your Dragon series, certainly writes engaging books that combine adventure, fearsome creatures, magic and just the right amount of quirky, silly humour. Set in a time in Iron Age Britain, a time so long ago that it was before Britain knew it was Britain, it is the tale of two heroes. Firstly, a boy called Xar is a Wizard who is yet to develop his magic, although he wants it desperately, and secondly, Wish is a Warrior who is in possession of a magical Cressida Cowell, author of the How to Train Your Dragon series, certainly writes engaging books that combine adventure, fearsome creatures, magic and just the right amount of quirky, silly humour. Set in a time in Iron Age Britain, a time so long ago that it was before Britain knew it was Britain, it is the tale of two heroes. Firstly, a boy called Xar is a Wizard who is yet to develop his magic, although he wants it desperately, and secondly, Wish is a Warrior who is in possession of a magical sword - a banned magical object. The difficulty is that they are from two opposing tribes who hate each other. When they are both in trouble and their paths collide they realise they must join together to fight the greater evil: The Witches! Packed with illustrations (some of which may be a little frightening for younger readers) the story is fast paced and adventurous with references to Snowcats, sprites, Ogrebreaths, heroes and villains. Cowell’s fans will not be disappointed in this story, the first in a new series.Suitable for 8+ - some scary supernatural elements, dark illustrations
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  • Ludmila Marton
    January 1, 1970
    I'm going to give it 5 stars for now. I was oscillating between 4 and 5 and my rating might change in future. Here's why. I absolutely love Cressida's writing style and her masterful story building. This is a start of new series and although story of this book alone is fantastic, it is also a beginning of a bigger story that will play out on the scale of whole series. Things she touched in first book are very important to me so I guess I'm gonna be quite sensitive about this. But my hopes are hi I'm going to give it 5 stars for now. I was oscillating between 4 and 5 and my rating might change in future. Here's why. I absolutely love Cressida's writing style and her masterful story building. This is a start of new series and although story of this book alone is fantastic, it is also a beginning of a bigger story that will play out on the scale of whole series. Things she touched in first book are very important to me so I guess I'm gonna be quite sensitive about this. But my hopes are high and I'm trusting. We'll see.Here is the other thing: Cressida had said in past that a good story is not just about creating a hero, but also about creating a villain. She'd done that masterfully and flawlessly with How to train your dragon series. So I'm curious about evolution of hero(s) this time. We're off to a great start with villains though. The witches here are hands down one of scariest I've ever read about.
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  • J. Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    There's nothing better then a hilarious middle grade fantasy when you've read a bunch of boring, older fantasies. I brought this on a whim because of the beautiful cover and illustrations, like they are stunning, however I didn't expect to love it which I did completely. Every character are like my babies, each one I really liked and I won't hear a bad thing said about any one of them. (view spoiler)[ The bit that had me was with the father and son, it is so rare to have a king who actuallry lov There's nothing better then a hilarious middle grade fantasy when you've read a bunch of boring, older fantasies. I brought this on a whim because of the beautiful cover and illustrations, like they are stunning, however I didn't expect to love it which I did completely. Every character are like my babies, each one I really liked and I won't hear a bad thing said about any one of them. (view spoiler)[ The bit that had me was with the father and son, it is so rare to have a king who actuallry loves his sons and although he doesn't appear to at first, when his son is missing he regrets not telling him that he loved him and treating him as if he never did. I was already tearing up when he found out his son was okay and he hugged him and was so thankful for having him back that I cracked. I loved seeing the Queen show love for her daughter in her own way too. (view spoiler)[(hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]
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  • Augusta
    January 1, 1970
    My son received an ARC of this book and read it in 2 days. He's a huge Cressida Cowell fan. We even went to see her speak a few years ago at a book festival in England. Here is his review--If the goal of this book was to somehow go over the high bar set by How to Train Your Dragon, it failed. If it's goal was to be a completely unique series, unaffected by that series, it did a great job. The characters are likable (with the exception of Xar) and the story both simple and interesting. I look for My son received an ARC of this book and read it in 2 days. He's a huge Cressida Cowell fan. We even went to see her speak a few years ago at a book festival in England. Here is his review--If the goal of this book was to somehow go over the high bar set by How to Train Your Dragon, it failed. If it's goal was to be a completely unique series, unaffected by that series, it did a great job. The characters are likable (with the exception of Xar) and the story both simple and interesting. I look forward to sequels, especially considering that the How to Train Your Dragon series made a name for itself (in my opinion) from its later installments. Much of the humor fell short, but many parts still made me laugh. I will give four stars, and hope that future books will do even better.
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