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Steel Magic

(The Magic Books #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  506 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Original Title: Steel Magic 1967 ed. illustrated by Robin Jacques.

A well told story of time travel with wonderful detailed black and white, pen and ink illustrations.

Sara, Greg, and Eric Lowry are exploring the woods near their uncle's Hudson Valley estate when they are magically transported to the land of Avalon. There they meet Huon, Warden of the West. When he tells the
Paperback, 128 pages
Published June 13th 2005 by Starscape (first published August 1965)
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MB (What she read) Robin Jacques is the one I'm familiar with.…moreRobin Jacques is the one I'm familiar with.(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  506 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childhood-books
Oh piss off! What's with the fancy modern cover and "Steel" instead of "Gray"?!

Seriously. I read an original-edition paperback of this book, titled "Gray Magic", which was originally my mother's when she was a kid. I loved this book; it's honestly great for a bored seven year old stuck in her grandmother's house for two weeks in the summer. Wasn't sure what to do with the other 13 days, but this provided magic for one whole day.

And now it's all shiny and new and with a real-as-life cover. Pah!
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
This is the book that got me reading science fiction/fantasy.
MB (What she read)
It was a treat to find this childhood favorite now available from Kindle Unlimited. I loved this book as a child, and it was a quality nostalgia reread for me. I missed the evocative illustrations* in this ebook version, but the literary goodness is still there. It was a quick read, but well worth the revisit. I have to give kudos here for some of the most unusual magical talismans I've come across in my reading experience.

I was also happy to discover there are four additional books in this seri
Wilson E. Stevens Sr.
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This is a good young adult or children's book. It contains limited magic, and problems each of the 3 children must overcome in order to succeed in their quest. The success of their quests changes them forever for the better, and sets an example for others to follow in their lives as we go about our day to day tasks. This is a simple and fast read, and held my interest at 70, though I read it the first time when I was around 22 or 23 years old.

Read it again 31 Jan 2018, enjoyed it.
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
I love Andre Norton - she was amazing for her prolificacy (is that the right word?) if nothing else. And I have a ton of her stuff, and some of it I really love. I hadn't read any of The Magic Books before, so I started one on a long train ride today.

Sadly, I wasn't impressed - I don't think this is one of her best works... it's a rather mediocre story about 3 kids who end up in Avalon and have to help retrieve 3 magical talismans: Merlin's ring, Huon's horn, and Excalibur. And... that's about
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steel Magic

Another in the series of magic books this is a strong well written story. Based on the myths and legends of Arthurian tales plus it is an interesting twist of plot. A god read.
Mar 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I first read this and loved it when I was a kid. 91? I just reread it. It was still good, but not as great as I remembered.
Admittedly, during the first 30 pages or so I wondered how this would finish for me. (I reminded myself this was published in 1965! Different time and this writing style did seem a bit stilted to me...) I was not overly-impressed at that point in time. But then the action picked up and I quite enjoyed this book overall. Certainly not a favorite for me, but I would definitely continue with this series.

Although there were 3 siblings each individual child had to complete their own challenge. I like
Gary Sundell
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Andre Norton in YA mode. If you like a straightforward adventure set in Avalon as visited by three kids from our world this might be your cup of tea. 3.5 stars rounded up because it is Norton.
Nor'dzin Pamo
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, childrens
I heard about this book on BBC Radio 4. I had not realised that it was a children’s book. It is a simple story and rather obvious for an adult reader, but nevertheless quite charming. I also did not realise that it was part of a series of stories. Perhaps I will look the others up for when my grandson is older.
Jun 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
Ok, I love kids books and always rate them as what they are - for kids. But this one was so simple it was almost insulting. Scratch that - it WAS insulting. There was no point, no "magic" to the magic, no character development, no real struggle. I love kid's fantasy - Lloyd Alexander, Edward Eager, Levine, etc - this, however, was.....well, you get the point. ...more
Carlos JP Navia
Feb 12, 2010 rated it liked it
I remember enjoying this book when I was much younger, although all I can recall about it now is how I thought it both absurd and fantastic that these kids, the main characters, could have wound up in a setting where the silverware stood taller than they were.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Much too cutesy for an adult, but maybe the kidlets would find it exciting. I'd still rather start them with something better, like The Once and Future King. ...more
Jun 25, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked this better as a kid than I did rereading it as an adult. I suppose though, that that is only to be expected.
Linda Stover
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
The year was 1978 and a friend lent me book. He assured me that it was really good and I'd like it. And over the weekend I managed to finish it which only led me to want to read more from Ms. Norton. Which I then did over the next few years.

Three siblings, while staying with their Uncle, decide to take a picnic lunch and explore his estate. There they find an island, in the middle of a small lake, with a small castle at the centre of it. Seeking adventure they manage to make their way there and
Early Bird Book Deal | Overly simplistic, the kids act without agency. | Young readers are capable of so much more than this book provides. Everything is set out without complexity, step by step in order. The protagonists say magic words without knowing that they're going to of what those words will do, the magic objects they're holding make decisions for them, and the dangers they face are minimal. They even get pulled out of Avalon before the battles begin. There's some awkward, stilted langua ...more
R. Ware
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite a good kids-stumble-into-Faery adventure book.
I first read it when I was pre-adolescent, and the book
seems well aimed at that readership. The heroes seem
to be about that age. Some fun magic. The instance that
stuck in my memory was an ordinary dinner fork being
expanded to the size of a spear, to serve one of the young
heroes as a useful magical weapon.

There are two sequels, which I have not read.
Di Reyliner
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Steel Magic might as well be called an "ideal" children's fantasy book. What's particularly refreshing is that the siblings are required to split and go on solo quests, each to face and overcome his/her respective fear alone. The settings are very interesting, as are the characters' journeys through them. ...more
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
I've read a number of Andre Norton and enjoyed them. I hadn't quite appreciated that this was a children's book and was somewhat taken aback by the simplistic and somewhat prosaic telling of the story, it just lacked that 'spark' that makes reading such a pleasure. Admittedly I'm not the target audience but I think I may have found this dull as a child. ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's dated to a simpler time in children's books, but I think it still holds up. ...more
A fun little adventure, very Narnia-esque
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A childhood favorite which had always stayed in my memory and was really pleasurable to reread.
Marc Maxmeister
The writing is dated (1940s-50s) and dialogue has a lot of unnecessary "saidisms" that was typical of the "right way to write" at the time. But distracting today. And the story is fine if you're 5 but rather predictable if you read a lot of fantasy. ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Has some wonderful illustrations by Robin Jacques, but I felt the story wasn’t quite on the same level. No doubt though I would have given this at least four stars if it had been a childhood read...
None of these editions seems to be the one I have, which is a hardcover, is from World Press, is labeled 'copyright 1965', and contains the Robin Jacques illustrations. The cover illustration is wrong from the start. The 'horses of the wind' are clearly described as having batlike wings--those depicted have avian wings.

So let me get this straight. These talismans will be used to harm, whoever has them. The only difference is WHO they will harm. Seems like the logical thing to do is destroy them,
Sheryl Tribble
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Read this when I was a kid, and this time through I missed the Robin Jacques illos. Tracked them down on the 'net, so now I'm happy.

As with Fur Magic, the main characters are thrown into another world where their actions are magically guided -- they just "know" they need to do this or that -- which to me gives such a feeling of inevitability the whole experience seems kind of meaningless. We're told the characters grow or change or lose their fear or whatnot, but I don't find the change very co
Jessie Anne
Nov 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
Ok, I love kids books and always rate them as what they are - for kids. But this one was so simple it was almost insulting. Scratch that - it WAS insulting. There was no point, no "magic" to the magic, no character development, no real struggle. I love kid's fantasy - Lloyd Alexander, Edward Eager, Levine, etc - this, however, was.....well, you get the point. ...more
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
I remember being unimpressed with this, but it wasn't bad. ...more
I know this is a book for kids, but I couldn’t help but feel that the writing was playing with my intelligence. Lol.

Children are smart. I'm not sure what they might think of this book. Personally, I felt that it was telling itself to a preschooler.
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Alice Mary Norton always had an affinity to the humanities. She started writing in her teens, inspired by a charismatic high school teacher. First contacts with the publishing world led her, as many other contemporary female writers targeting a male-dominated market, to choose a literary pseudonym. In 1934 she legally changed her name to Andre Alice. She also used the names Andrew North and Allen ...more

Other books in the series

The Magic Books (7 books)
  • Octagon Magic (The Magic Series, #2)
  • Fur Magic (The Magic Series, #3)
  • Dragon Magic (The Magic Series, #4)
  • Lavender-Green Magic (The Magic Series, #5)
  • Red Hart Magic (The Magic Series, #6)
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