#1 New York Times best-selling author Pat Wrede returns to Scholastic with an amazing new trilogy about the use of magic in the wild, wild west.
Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent - and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.
With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternate history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
©2009 Patricia C. Wrede (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
"History, Magic, Teens, & Not An Inkling of Romance"
First of all, Thirteenth Child's lack of romance is extremely refreshing. There are a lot of YA series out there with strong female leads, and there's almost always a romance in there... but not here. Maybe in the later books.
Eff isn't unique in her tomboy-ish characteristics; that's a familiar trope in modern YA literature, but she's more Laura Ingalls or Jo March than Katniss Everdeen. She's remarkably normal for a world full of magic - then again, this is a world where magic is seen as a given, and its the Revisionists (affirmed non-magic users) are seen as radical.
Wrede writes a world that makes no bones about life with magic being easier, and finds suitable, unexpected consequences for that magic. Magic in Columbia isn't opposite of nature, it's an instrinic part of it - and as our environment adapts and changes with our use of it, so the magic does in Eff's world.
Amanda Ronconi is a fine narrator, and I liked what she did with Eff's character and did adore the voices she chose for the men - particularly Wash, a character who appears about 2/3 of the way through the book. I don't know if it was a specific choice on her part, but she made Eff and Lan's voice relatively similar (they're twins!) and I liked that. Otherwise, the narration was a little slow, but it suited the tone of the story.
Overall, the plot isn't particularly surprising or exciting, but it's a solid tale with good world creation, and fleshed-out characters. I was able to stop and start listening with relative ease... I think it took me about two weeks to go through it, listening for a few hours every couple of days. It was easy to fall back into the story, and Amanda Ronconi helped with that familiarity a lot.
"Wild Magic in the Wild West"
Eff is the twin sister of the seventh son of a seventh son. She is also a thirteenth born. In this alternate universe just after the War of Secession, birth order is an important factor in this world where magic and ordinary live in uncomfortable partnership. From her birth, members of the family point out everything bad as her fault and are waiting for her to turn evil. She begins to believe it. In contrast, her brother's exalted magical status makes him lucky and magical beyond belief.
When the twins are five years old, their father gets a job as a professor of a college on the western frontier. Their father, a professor of magic, is an exciting addition to this college. The twins and the other siblings grow up and flourish in this environment. Eff learns confidence, makes friends, and learns to think through the negative message about her birth order.
There are lots of adventures and explorations in this entertaining novel of a world and history not-quite-ours.
This was an audio book and the narrator did a wonderful job capturing the different accents, genders, and the character of Eff.
"marvelous performance nice coming of age story"
I would never have gotten this if it hadn't been on 3.99 special. This IS a YA story but its a good one, so it works for me. I think the Laura Ingalls meets Harry Potter tag is apt as far as it goes - but in this one Magic isn't a secret world - its a mainstream political issue. I am interested in seeing how the sort of "amish" no magic fringe plays out. Its always good to investigate ways of resisting.
Its a slow but engaging start - the pov girl is only 5 when the story opens but she hears things, and shes 13 or so by the middle.
I usually avoid female narrators. Not always, mind- there are several that I really like - its a tone/ pitch thing I think- but this performance is great. There are subtleties of accent and pitch that are mindblowing and shes never ever squeaky.
"If the "Little House on the Prairie" had magic."
Interesting concept. I liked it enough to finish listening to it and ended in a place that suggests a sequel. Nothing terribly new or exciting for the fantasy reader. Might be a fun story for the fans of "Ann of Green Gables" or "Sara, Plain and Tall"
"Great story-total surprise- next one please"
Great series start. I was pleasantly wowed by this unknown author, as we follow Eff, the "unlucky" thirteenth child as she grows into her magical own. What I loved: book translated to adults. No formula love triangle. Female heroine. Good adventure. Good storytelling...and great narrator. The bad: Could have had some more complex characters. Overall, a great, light adventure tale that I really enjoyed- hope they release the next two soon!
"Little House on the Prairie meets Harry Potter"
Wow, I really enjoyed the first book of this series. As I understand it, imagine the 1800's and the Wild West mixed in with wild unbelievable creatures (including mammoths!) and magic as part of the everyday lives of these pioneers. The author does a great job at the world creation of this alternative reality, and though the descriptive aspect of the series might turn off some readers, it's well balanced with good character development and some adventure. The reader, Amanda Ronconi, is a favorite of mine from the Molly Harper books, but she does a great job reading for this new series. It could use a little bit of romance, though there's a hint of something in the air, but I guess I'll need to read the rest of the books to find out if my feelings are correct. I really look forward to the rest of the series.
"Refreshingly un-teen angsty"
Let me start by saying I liked this book enough to read all of them in just a few days.
The book had been in my wish list for quite some time, and I just kept ignoring it fearing it was another teen romance just set in a new place (which it is not). I finally gave it a listen because of the narrator she is one of my favorites. There are a few that I am willing to try any book they have read Amanda Ronconi, Renée Raudman, Lorelei King, Cynthia Holloway, and Marguerite Gavin. I am happy I did.
This book has been compared with the Harry Potter series. I do not really get that (except for the magic). Rowlings is absolutely brilliant, and gives rich twisting details to her plot and characters, but the kid going to wizzarding school has been done before (not as well mind you). Wrede's story felt different to me. I am not sure I have read a book like it before.
The story follows Eff (don't let the name bother you like it did me it is a nickname). She is born the thirteenth child of a seventh son. She also has a twin that is the 7th son of the 7th son (which we have seen before). She is told for most of her young life that being the 13th is a bad thing. Through out the story the idea of the thirteenth child is explored, and through it Eff grows and starts to find out who she no matter what order she was born in.
I like the family dynamics in this book. It gave the story more depth. They were not all lovey dovey all of the time but they did love each other. From the twin who was the favorite whether he wanted to be or not, to the older bossy sister they enriched the story. I adored the parents. It was nice to have kind loving caring parents rather than the mean, indifferent, quirky, uncaring, or too busy parents that have been in a lot of the books I have read recently. This probably where the Laura Anne Wilder comparisons come in (that and the west themed)
I love a good western, and this was. Yes there was magic but you still had the horses and a lot of the other stuff that goes into westerns. What made it interesting is the idea that the town is along the Mammoth (Mississippi) River and that on the other side of it is all of these creatures from dragons to mammoths to wooly rihnasorous to bison. If you simply cross the river where the magic wall is you are taking your life into your own hands.
It was nice not to have a romance instead Wrede concentrated on Eff finding out who she is. I highly recommend this series
Missed it by that much.
Patricia invents an interesting alternate world, which supposedly has dire wolves, steam dragons, mammoths, wooly rhinos, sphinx, sabre cats and more. This universe has glimpses of Card's Seventh Son and Sanderson's The Rithmathist. The problem, as with a lot of teen books, is the writing style. The writing is similar to a little kid writing a letter. Hi, I am fine, how are you? The book supposedly has all the animals mentioned above, but with the exception of a run in with a mammoth and a dead steam dragon, we just hear they exist, they take no part in the story. Lots of the story is just tedious things, that could be going on in anybody's life.
What I did like.
This book is pro parents, school and teachers. The parents in this book, especially the mom are the best part. The mom is extremely level headed (unless you think she should quit having children.) The teachers are positive and challenge the students. School is looked at as something important. I also listened to the whole book, which I often don't do with a book that is not five star material.
I didn't feel that Amanda was all in for this reading. At times she sounded rather drool. The first few chapters, it sounded like she was mad at somebody. At other times it sounded like she was enjoying her work. I especially liked her voice for the teacher. It reminded me of one of the regular women on NPR.
Teen books and or children books
I have a real problem with this category. It seems that if the writing is substandard and the main character is young, then it is automatically put in this category. Sanderson, Card and others have shown that you can write books aimed at a younger crowd and have them still be exciting, interesting reads, that even adults will like. An editor should have made PW go back and put more life into this book.
I get it that this is a YA book. I finished it, but teens deserve a well-crafted story. This would have been better if the author explained the different types of magic early on in the book. Alternative history is interesting, but the story didn't captivate.
Eff is a self-pitying sad sack who lets others around her control her destiny. If i heard the phrases "13th child" or "7th son of 7th son" ONE more time i think i would have screamed.
I bought this because of Amanda! I absolutely love her in Molly Harper's books.
Try Joseph Delaney's series The Last Apprentice instead.
"Fun, but not much plot"
Read from August 02 to 14, 2014
What a fun book! I did find myself wondering several times while listening where it was going and what the point was, as there isn't really much of a linear plot to it; but it was engaging enough to overlook that for the most part. The audiobook had a sample of the second book in the series, too, and now I'm really looking forward to that one.
"Origional, interesting & unexpected"
Magical Alternate America
They were all pretty memorable, the main characters magical development, the alternate world & the alternate world's creatures were what had me hooked & that obviously was the whole book :)
Totally, Imhad to stop because I was so exhausted I was feeling sick & it turns out I was seconds away from the end of the book. I basically listened to the whole thing in one day
If you are a fan of alternate histories or of steampunk or even Urban Fantasy I'm pretty sure you are going to like this. Setting it on the frontier means rhat it isn't really any of those genres but it feels like all of them & is amazingly well done. I wouldn't be surprised if this book inspires a whole genre of magic on the frontier alternate history book.
"A great adventure"
I had completely forgotten about this series, Patricia C. Wrede was one of my favourite authors as a teenager and it was great to be immersed in a new series of hers [though it's a few years before I got to listen to it]
Eff finding a place she could become herself and not the Thirteenth Child, seeing her character develop over this book.
Completely didn't realise that I have listened to other audible titles from Amanda, a good narrator and picks up the frontier dialect with ease.
"Great book for a cosy night in"
It was easy to follow the story and the development and characters, without the story being boring or too long. The author found just the right way of allowing listeners to enjoy their experience and not having to just focus on listening, while still making sure the story is interesting and compelling. It is also very easy to follow characters and understand their feelings, which always makes it easier to dive into a story.
The moments in which the main character proved her strength and her determination were my favourite, and it was very easy to feel with the character and understand her developments.
A great book with a great story and well though out character development. Would absolutely recommend this book and can't wait to continue the series.
"A Jewel in the rough"
I was very pleasantly surprised by this story. At first I wasn't sold on the style. I thought the character's lack of polish would be irritating, but soon I was drawn into the story and found the style (and narration) complimented the story perfectly. This is probably the best story I have listened to in months. No one thing made it stand out, but everything fit together to make a great book. There is a nice mix of characters with good depth, there is enough detail to paint vivid pictures without droning on, the plot moved on at a good pace and the story line was original and engaging. After finishing, I immediately downloaded the next book in the series, which is always a good sign.
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