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The Magician of Hoad

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  235 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
A hero, an ageing magician, a farm boy, a noble daughter and a mad prince meet on the edge of a city of tents. So begins an intricate tale of a boy with a troublesome eye, who is capable of extraordinary things. Forced from home, twelve-year-old Heriot's unwilling steps lead to Diamond, first city of the Hoadara, who conquered his people generations before. By tradition, K ...more
Published November 1st 2008 by HarperCollins New Zealand (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jan 26, 2011 Mely rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, young-adult
Margaret Mahy's The Tricksters is one of my very favorite books in the entire world, so it is with great sadness that I report that The Magician of Hoad has some wonderful bits and some very good bits and some really not at all wonderful bits that all add up to, well, not adding up in the end. It has one of those endings where a character has to explain everything that just happened to the audience, which is almost always a bad sign, and where large chunks of the plot happen because a mysterious ...more
Noah W
Dec 20, 2013 Noah W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most unusual fantasy novels I’ve ever read. It’s written by New Zealand author Margaret Mahy; I’d heard great things about her but never read anything by her and this book seemed like it would be to my liking--it sounded like a good, hearty, old-fashioned stand-alone YA fantasy adventure.

But it definitely defied my expectations. For one thing, though it’s ostensibly YA, the story follows the main characters from about age 12 to about age 25. There’s also some sex and even a f
The way everything ties together in the end is interesting, but I don't feel like everything makes sense. Particularly the motivations of the characters. (And especially the three princes. They all felt like sketches that suddenly became real but you have no idea why or who they are.) I wanted to give it 4 stars, but I am still feeling like I didn't get the full story. Or maybe that I got a lot of parts of a full story.

Also, I am still trying to figure out the following puzzle:
When Heriot is 17
Jul 06, 2010 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, magic, fictional-world
This book held great promise. A lot of promise actually. The first part of the story held my interest greatly. It was intriguing fast paced. Then things hit a wall. The plot got and story got weaker. Things started to lag. Pretty soon i'm yelling "edit" at the book every five minutes and unable to enjoy the story. I think this is because looking at the authors other stories this type of book is not her forte. She usually writes children's or young young adult books. Most of the dialog in this se ...more
Dec 01, 2015 Ariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beginning is creepy and upsetting as the young magician struggles, divided and self-hating, not understanding his own fate to be a magician. But by the middle the book is in full flower and all the ends tie together marvelously at the end.
Jenny Lau
Oct 19, 2016 Jenny Lau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is my absolute favorite book of all time I think I have probably read the book almost 10
times. This is a book that I NEVER get tired of reading.The plot is pure genius on its own, The character development is just amazing and you could literally imagine yourself in the book with all of the characters growing up and becoming more that they should just be.
Sep 05, 2016 Aelvana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heriot Tarbas is the odd one out in his farming family. Prone to fits, both of pain and of vision, he occupies a place on the periphery of his extended family, but he remains relatively happy thanks to the land itself. He enjoys being a farmer. Which is why he tries to run when one particular vision draws the attention of the king's court. He doesn't want to be a magician for the king, reading minds and performing magical entertainments. But the Magician has a role, just like the King and the He ...more
A Ramdom
I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy this book to some degree but it was just confusing. One thing I struggled with is the book seemingly has no plot. I found myself in the middle of the book searching for it desperately but never finding it. There is always something going on but the way there was no head antagonist and the ones we have were at times really vague when they should have been sympathetic and the story is all over the place, drags at times, and can be at war with itself on whi ...more
Dec 25, 2014 Melliott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is a wonderful book. With all the debates about high fantasy vs. low fantasy and what makes something one or the other (with all the conflict about world-building and which world where and why), I can't decide where this would fit. The descriptions of Diamond and the islands and the countryside remind me of those in A Wizard of Earthsea--that level of high-flown romantic realism.

Its simplest description is that it's about a boy who becomes a magician through no conscious choice or knowledge
Jennifer Heise
Jul 14, 2014 Jennifer Heise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy, fantasy
This lyrical ya fantasy reminds me a bit of early Patricia McKillip, among other things-- with a side order of Leona Wisoker, Diana Wynne Jones, and Megan Whalen Turner.

One cannot help being fond of the titular Magician, Heriot, who suffers through a sort of divided mind and seizures; but also has magical dreams and a magical connection to the world around him. Dysart, the king's third son, known as the Mad Prince, seems to have some mystical connections of his own, and Linnet, a duke's daughter
Mar 01, 2010 Anne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Heriot Tarbas runs away from his home and family instead of going with the member of the King's Court who has appeared to take Heriot away. Unfortunately, he runs into some difficulties and inadvertently ends up with the Court after all. There it is decided that the headaches and visions he has suffered from all his life actually are signs of his true ability and he is made the Court Magician. As the years pass, Heriot becomes more troubled and unhappy with life in the Kingdom - but he is not th ...more
Shanshad Whelan
Apr 11, 2011 Shanshad Whelan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
So much of Mahy I've always enjoyed. My two faves being The Haunting and The Changeover. I have some idea of the kind of thing to expect from this author as far as her treatment of magic and transformation within a story. However, I can't give this fantasy more than three stars. The book is over-long, over-wordy and winds and weaves through the story until I'm left going "huh?" and not in a good way. There's a good plot in there and some interesting characters--but a lot of it gets lost behind t ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Jasmyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, magic
The Magician of Hoad is the story of a boy, Heriot, a boy that is discontent with his place in the world, has always seemed to not fit in. Then one day he finds out that he is actually so much more than he expected. He is a magician, but not just any magician. He is to become the official Magician of Hoad.

But the boy, realizes quickly that he does not want his destiny to be determined by his new title. He wants to be the man he decides he wants to be. He realizes that his powers can be a danger
Sep 29, 2011 Discoverylover added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: alkaline-kiwi
Recommended to Discoverylover by: Dad
I finished this a few days ago, and it was really compelling! It made me think about words - how in fantasy/sci fi there are words that we use (for example in this book there was a city called Diamond) but are used slightly out of context and still make sense, and how there are just some made up words (for example Hoad), but then they still use the same words we do (like apple, city, things like that)...I guess if you have too many made up words for things then the book becomes unintelligible.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2010 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
This one was a bit of a struggle early, as there were jumps forward in time with little revelation of characters' history and motivations. Once I got used to having large chunks of their lives missing and unexplained, and just went with the flow, my appreciation for the book grew. Although there is a bit of traditional fantasy plotting, this is mostly an exploration of the characters' interior lives and how those interior lives influence their relationships in the world. And given the characters ...more
Jan 18, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wowzer! This is another winner from Margaret Mahy. In some ways this story reminded me of trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle without referring to the picture of the complete puzzle. I was given many tiny details that I read right over, and it was only in the last three chapters that I saw how they fit into the larger story.

I don't want to do a synopsis of the plot, because, really, the less you know going in, the more you'll enjoy this. But questions of love, loyalty, lust for power, betray
Mar 31, 2010 Phoebe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very strange fantasy that is hard to get into and that I wasn't able to finish. A young man is legendary in his close-knit family for having fits and spells, but he's not ill--he's a magician, and his fate is tied into that of the Mad Prince, the King of Hoad's youngest son. The characters are odd, unpredictable, and unappealing; the storyline is weird and hard to understand, and I can't recommend this to anyone! Don't bother with it.
Aug 06, 2010 Alita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A traveler recognizes power in the farm boy, Heriot. After being tested he is invited to become the King's Magician. Turbulence and conflict surround Heriot as he grows into manhood. He finds not everything is as it seems in Diamond, the capital city of Hoad.
This is a complex and entertaining story. The characters are well developed: The king is a tad naive and the villains are power hungry. It is a little slow to start, but once Heriot gets to Diamond, it is a great adventure.
Dec 17, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-fiction
This is another fantastic book by Margaret Mahy- a master of teen literature! I have been bemoaning the fact that there has been very little really good, sink-your-teeth-into-it fantasy lately, but here's one that has shot to the top of my list for this year! Lyrical language, complex characters and story, and the inner lives that often rule our lives, with touches of magic that doesn't always work as wished.
Maureen E
Oct 04, 2011 Maureen E rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I read some fairly negative reviews of this on Goodreads, which surprised me. Okay, I know Goodreads is often not a reliable source for reviews, but I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters, and the setting, which is important to me in general. I wasn’t overly confused by it, and in places I was reminded of the Dalemark Quartet. It’s not The Changeover at all, but I don’t think it needs to be. [March 2011]
Feb 25, 2013 Risa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out fascinating but lost some momentum as the plot unfolded. I enjoyed revisiting Mahy's singular writing style, which I found exhilarating at certain moments. But the final third of the book went on too long, with too much repetition and rehashing of predictable elements. I feel something close to despair that none of her other books has been as utterly singular and breathtaking as The Tricksters was.
Jan 18, 2011 Mary-Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I'm not used to Mahy writing about magic in a fantasy setting. The book was good, but I much prefer the way she writes about magic in the ordinary world. I found the plot of this one a bit dull in places, even though it was exciting enough in others. I was also never sure how I felt about Hoad either. He was such a strange character, what with the way his magic affected his personality.
Sep 15, 2012 Chesra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I enjoyed this book a lot! It's my second Margaret Mahy book and I really love how she twists what should be a stereotypical fantasy world into something more dangerous, more tangible. I called on some plot twists early on in the story, but it didn't make this book any less fun. Overall, fantasy lovers will love this. :>
Jun 22, 2010 Mimi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A must read for all. From farm boy to king's magician to prince's conscience and much more, here is a story where five lives meet, connect, then divert, as completely different people. Two rowdy romances and a crazy King-to-be, magic has never ever, in my whole life or reading, been portrayed like this. Amazing.
Jan 03, 2011 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the precision of Mahy's writing still astonishes me, the plot was very fragmented. With so many interesting characters, I found myself wishing for a more cohesive and balanced narrative. That said, I have a feeling this book improves on the reread, when all the nuance Mahy puts into her descriptions can be properly appreciated rather than puzzled over.
felt it didn't quite come off - alternately dull and annoyingly oblique. those new to Mahy should start off with the golden period - the Changeover, the Tricksters, Memory. also, i am massively displeased with harpercollins for making the cover of the english ed (which i read) an important and late story spoiler. honestly, guys.
An interesting book which I enjoyed overall. A young boy with fits and talents is discovered and called to the king's court as its magician to discern truth and provide entertainment. It's a bit confusing at first, but as the main character learns more it starts to make more sense. There is some cussing including one unnecessary f-bomb. There is violence and sex, though not grossly described.
Jun 20, 2015 Shannon rated it it was amazing
The Magician of Hoad is a must for any Margaret Mahy fans on facebook it was really funny like all of Margaret Mahy books it was a page turner of a book it was an interesting read it was an awesome book Margaret Mahy was such a good new Zealand author that when she passed away it was a sad day for New Zealand Literiture
All her books are a must read for fans or anyone
this took a little while to get started, and is very different to Mahy's usual style but still maintains her wonderful ability to write about human relationships in a way that shows both the highs and lows. Not her best, but worth the read if you can get through the first few chapters.
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I read this under the title Heriot btw 1 1 Mar 07, 2013 07:26PM  
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Margaret Mahy was a well-known New Zealand author of children's and young adult books. While the plots of many of her books have strong supernatural elements, her writing concentrates on the themes of human relationships and growing up.

Her books The Haunting and The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance both received the Carnegie Medal of the British Library Association. There have 100 children's boo
More about Margaret Mahy...

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