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Maddigan's Fantasia

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  581 ratings  ·  64 reviews

When twelve-year-old Garland Maddigan asks Timon and Eden where they have come from, she is overwhelmed by their answer: the future.

In a post-apocalyptic time, Garland's family's traveling circus troop, Maddigan's Fantasia, leaves the city of Solis once a year to perform and earn a living. However, this year Solis has given the Fantasia the crucial task of obtaining a ne

Hardcover, 512 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published December 31st 2005)
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Fantasy Literature
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Early in the 22nd century, the world underwent a vast and radical change, in which the tectonic plates of the Earth shifted and a series of devastating earthquakes changed the face of the planet. As a result of these events — now known as the Great Chaos — the population has severely dropped and most technology has been lost. What remains is a dangerous wilderness where communities are isolated and bandits roam the unmapped highways.

Yet out of the ashes of the old world comes Solis, the shining
Kate  K. F.
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've been wanting to read a book by Margaret Mahy since I lived in New Zealand and first heard her name. Maddigan's Fantasia was the perfect book to start with, because in the strange future world that seems like a distortion of New Zealand, the world building, characters and plot pulled me in. The Fantasia is a traveling circus that moves along the shifting roads of a world that has been broken and remade and is still rebuilding itself, by reconnecting the various towns, the Fantasia helps to s ...more
The only thing missing in the book is the romance...
Kataryna Hermans
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Fantastic and magical.
Kathleen Dixon
I saw some of the TV series based on this book (quite a few years ago now, and I can't remember why I didn't get to see it all), and have long wanted to read the book. As I'm currently reading a literary biography of Margaret Mahy I was reminded, and acted on it immediately.

I love Mahy's writing, the way she evokes ideas of the supernatural while being clear that she's actually writing science fiction (mostly). She has lovely passages about the land twisting and turning in its changes, and one c
Teenage Bookworms
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book was so FREAKING huge! When I first got it from the library, I literally gasped out loud. It was kind of boring in the beginning, but I came to like Garland as the book went on.I never liked Timon And Eden. They were too damn mysterious. They don't explain any thing. I didn't understand anything, not the plot, not the resolution, not the bad guy, not ANYTHING. I only gave this book another star because i liked Garland. Her character, her resolution, her attitude. But there just too many ...more
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
All of the elements of a good fantasy novel are here: a post-apocalyptic society; a fantastic traveling circus; a world in peril; a quest; a cruel villain; a love plot. And written by one of the best writers around. Why, then, does the whole thing fall flatter than a pancake?

Perhaps because the book is all plot, and repetitive plot at that. Perhaps because Mahy shows rather than tells everything about what her characters are supposed to be thinking and feeling. Perhaps because the main characte
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
Bought Maddigans Fantasia second hand not realising it was a children's book. I was intrigued by the synopsis, a circus trying to navigate and survive in a futuristic, post apocalyptic world. The writing is very simplistic but entertaining, although I did find this book a slog to get through, Garland the main protagonist moves from one scenario to another, towards the end of the book this can get boring and repetitive. The characters were dull and flat and did not hold my interest. The story is ...more
Emma Moore
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. Exciting and very readable.
Matilda Chapman
I certainly have a love/hate relationship with Maddigan's Fantasia. It promised a fun filled, middle grade, circus themed dystopian novel. What I got in return, was a bunch of entertaining yet quickly resolved, self contained stories, set amongst a long, withdrawn, and quite frankly dull main plot. The characters were just there, and even though it was explained multiple times, I never truly ended up remembering who some of them were.

Come to think of it, I only finished this a few days ago and
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third of Margaret Mahy's books that I have read and I think I can say that it is by far my favourite. I think I enjoyed it the most because the traveling circus gave a unique atmosphere to the story. The fantasia seemed more like a character itself than a setting and it traveled through so many different locations, giving the whole book quite a sense of adventure. I loved the idea of a traveling circus full of many different personalities, all moving together to various places just h ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Maddiagan's Fantasia is a circus, and their goal was to travel to Newton to recieve the converter & bring it back to their hometown (Solis). Ferdy, the man in charge gets murdered at the beginning, by "Road Rats".Then Yves, the driver then takes Ferdy's place.Garland is the main character in this book.She's the daughter of Maddie and Ferdy Maddigan.All the adventure begins when three mysterious children joined the Fantasia, Eden, Timon and Jewels, though trailing behing then are two cold hea ...more
May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Book review:

Losing a faher is a nightmareto Garland, when Yves replaced her father in the Fantasia, it gets even worse. Garland wished her father will come back, and will do anything for her father to come back. Her wish might come true when three mysterious children came and joined the Fantasia: Timon, Eden,and baby Jewel, most important,they came from the future. But they came froman important place and they are important people to their greedy Uncle,which made troule to the Fantasia and thems
Garland Maddigan is part of the travelling circus known as Maddigan's Fantasia. Travelling through a post-apocalyptic world that is slowly remaking itself after the Destruction and Chaos, this trip they're on a mission to find a Macguffin and bring it back to their home city of Solis. When two young boys appear in front of Garland out of nowhere, claiming sanctuary in the Fantasia, the trip suddenly becomes even more fraught with adventure and danger.

This was quite a frustrating book. There's a
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Maddigan's Fantasia is a novel by Margaret Mahy. Now a TV series, the novel unravels the story of a circus, named 'Maddigan's Fantasia'. The circus travels place after place in the near future, juggling their balls and playing their tricks. The leader, Ferdy Maddigan, is the father of the main character, Garland Maddigan. Unfortunately, the merry Fantasia was met by the 'Road Rats' and like their namesake they scrambled into the circus and stole food, money and resouces. Ferdy and many others lo ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, youngadult
I love Margaret Mahy. Her book The Changeover is one of my all-time favorites. So I was excited to see a new fantasy by her. However, it is not a very good fantasy - it tries to hard to have a fantasy tone. And boy, is it overwritten.
Garland Maddigan travels with her family's circus, called Maddigan's Fantasia. After her father dies in an attack by Road Rats, she meets two boys, one holding a baby, who is their sister Jewel. They are from The Future, and they have come back in time to save the w
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jordan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Maddigan's Fantasia frustrated me no end. I'm a big fan of Margaret Mahy and MG fiction but this was really disappointing.

The story was there, the characters were there, the excitement and adventure were there. But these elements were never able to connect properly due to:
- the stilted, tell-y and repetitive writing;
- the long drawn out build up to, and then too-quick resolutions of, each chapter's conflict;
- and the lack of depth I was able to find with any character at all, among other thin
Jun 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
A greatly unappreciated gem of a book. It is by no means perfect, but it has a special little place in my heart, and I'm sure it will for many more children in the future.
I actually saw the TV series of this first about 5 years ago, and desparately wanted to read it. Garland is a member of a travelling group of performers in a post-apocolyptic land of strange creatures and ruins. She encounters two brothers, Timon and Eden, and their baby sister Jewel, children from the future on a quest to sa
Joey DeLeen
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Not one of Ms Mahy's best, but still a very solid book and worth reading. It's very large for an MG and it can be a bit scary at times. It follows a carnival/circus as they wander through a post-apocalyptic wilderness, spreading hope and happiness and searching for new technology.
It was written as a companion to a TV series (of her creation) of the same name which I have yet to see, but which got very good reviews.
Unfortunately, this shows in the writing, which can be very telling at times. Par
Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Finally! It's taken me an unusually long time to finish this book, even though it is quite good. I am a complete sucker for books about fantasy circuses, and an even bigger sucker for books set in dystopic futures (so fond of those that I actually wrote one. Ha!), so it's no wonder I picked up this book. The writing flowed well and the plot/setting was always imaginative and full of wonder. Garland was a very believable and compelling main character; Timon and Boomer were also well-characterized ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
got a little tired of all the shouting and yelling
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 5th-9th
Shelves: ya-fantasy
In a post-apocalyptic future, the traveling circus, Maddigan’s Fantasia, travels around a country where people struggle to bring civilization back from ruin. Ferdy Maddigan and the rest of his family/troupe are charged with bringing a new solar converter back to the city of Solis. But complications arise when the troupe is attacked by Road Rats and two boys with a baby join the troupe. The boys claim they are from a destroyed future, which happened because the troupe failed in their mission. The ...more
Jeni Enjaian
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book never found solid ground. The entire plot felt a bit like the world it was describing, constantly being made, unmade and remade. The protagonist, Garland, felt unfamiliar to me, even at the end of the book. The antagonist felt undefined and nebulous. Nothing in this book took root. A plot without even the semblance of an anchor is not a plot worth salvaging. The only reason I'm giving this book 2 stars instead of one is that occasionally Mahy's prose was quite beautiful. I'm quite disa ...more
I was terribly disappointed with this book! The characters were good, but the plot was dreadful, and full of holes. The tension was very episodic - the characters encountered a problem, surmounted it, and moved on to the next adventure. There was very little build up of the overall plot, I found it was rather incohesive - the final climax was just another in a long line rather than the big finale. And the time travel theories were a bit illogical. Even the writing was bad at times, particularly ...more
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Maddigan’s Fantasia is set in post-apocalyptic New Zealand and follows a travelling circus/fantasia as it journeys to find a power source to save civilisation. The tale of the strange journey is mainly told by Garland Maddigan but also through the eyes of other characters, including Timon a time traveller. The small group battle the elements and henchmen sent from the future to try and save their world.

If you want to read the full review you can find it on
Janelle Dazzlepants
Read this a couple of years ago and I remember really liking it, although at times it seemed like the fantasy element was a bit try-hard, and the recurring themes of the roads disappearing sounded like it was supernatural, when it actuality it was just due to overgrown grass and erosion and such.

The main character Garland was a bit annoying, but I remember really liking the tunnel scenes and the lake monster reminded me of the maori Taniwha which led back to my early childhood living in New Zea
This book was interesting and exciting all the way through. If you like the excitement of a book that you can't put down, this is a good choice. Margaret Mahy is very skillful at building tension which is evident in this book. Many parts of the book were strange and dark which also seems to be part of her writing. My favorite character was Garland. The characters were involving and intriguing and the plot kept me involved from the start to the end. After this book, I am interested in other books ...more
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maddigan's Quest is also another great read that I could put down at the time I was reading it Margaret Mahy is such a great new Zealand author that when she passed away she left a hole in New Zealand written books and books that should be read She was a great icon to the books in New Zealand Her books are funny and very easy going reading I loved The Magician Hoad and Maddigan's Quest I think they are two very well books They are definitely my favourite books in her writing so far
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: age-8-10, age-10-11
I read this because my son had said it was his favourite about 4 years earlier - he was 9. It is obviously good for that age group, or slightly older....but not for adults who like a 'young adult read'.

Not a great read for adults..... pretty cliched and basically bad writing. I was surprised that some of it got past the editor.

The story was ok - just full of holes and many scenes reminiscent of other books.
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Do you think Ferdy's death is too harsh for an intro? 2 6 Jun 01, 2012 06:31PM  
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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
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What's happened to the world? she was thinking. Everything has turned terrible...and the bits that aren't terrible have gone mad. I don't understand anything anymore. 7 likes
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