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2.96  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A legend is born.

Heriot has always known that he was different with his terrifying dreams and psychic powers. Ripped from his family farm, he is forced to serve as the King's magician in the capital city of Diamond.

Isolated and lonely, his only friends are the 'mad prince' Dysart and Cayley, a mysterious wild city child. But their friendship is about to be tested to the
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published July 2nd 2009 by Faber Faber
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Average rating 2.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  54 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Aisha Ditta
Dec 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNFed it at page 20. It was soooo boring and confusing. I don't remember anything of what I just read. ...more
Anne Hamilton
Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya, australia-nz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
this is the 2nd re-read for this novel.
I remember liking it when first read it, but it was a mystery for me. I didn't quite get it, maybe cos it was one of the very early kinda complicated novels I began with and was left with a feeling that i want to re-read it to make sure I digested it, and so I DID...

in this 2nd re-read I felt more at ease while reading it ,I understood it ,I knew what is going on, the confusion was gone at last, and AGAIN I enjoyed it, it is a magical story, an old story,
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I nearly put this down as a 3-star, to be perfectly honest. It took me a long while to decided how exactly I feel about this book and I still don't think I'm entirely sure.

I can't even arrange my thoughts correctly atm. I'll review this at a later date when I can express coherent opinions about it.
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Okie dokie, this book caught me off guard many times, but it's interesting nonetheless!~ I'll have to warn future audiences out there though, that this is book is surprisingly very adult themed for being written for children and young adults...! There's sex in it, some disturbing violence, and an F bomb dropped in dialogs too. I think this book would be more suitable for OLDER teenagers and adults instead. :)

It took me awhile to get into the story, mainly due to the writing style! With all my re
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the first time I have read one of Margaret Mahy's novels for young adults. I have always loved her books for children.
A really interesting story, I particularly liked the way the characters all came together having previously "known" each other.
The main character is a young magician who finds himself during the course of the novel. Relationships are handled very gently in this story, with some very complex characters. The individual histories of Heriot and Cayley were particularly inter
Sep 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This won't be for everyone. Mahy's writing can be decidedly strange, but I find it beautiful, sometimes visceral. Despite my love for it, also wasn't perfect; one storyline and point-of-view was disappointingly predictable and occasionally even felt extraneous. The rest, however, asks some interesting questions about the power of symbols, traditions, and stories in making a person who they are. A different sort of fantasy book and very much my sort indeed.

full review at a book a week
Charlie Boucher
I am a massive Margaret Mahy fan, but this book is almost too full of her usual tricks... I didn't think one of her books could be too full of her particular style, but apparently it can. Mahy fans will probably be a bit more forgiving than those new to the author, who might find some of the phrasing and dialogue over-done. Don't start with this one if you think Margaret Mahy is an author you'd like to try - any of her earlier novels is a much more gripping read (and my particular favourite is T ...more
Mar 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
A strange book. Something about the style of story telling kept me at a distance from the characters. The cover, by the way, is deceptive. There are absolutely no dragons in this book. Rather it's a story of political intrigue and courtly jostling for power, and Heriot, the title character's attempts to manage the magical power he processes and reconcile it with what happened to him as a child. Some nice twists but nothing too amazing. I found the solution to the problem of Bethony unconvincing. ...more
Dec 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
I gave this 110 pages and had to give up--1.5 stars. There were some interesting and promising parts, but overall there were too many "huh?" moments in the writing--where things were not described or explained properly, or were explained too late, so I was completely disoriented at several points. I hear some of the author's other works were good, so I might give those a try--the good parts did show promise, even though they petered out later--but this book was a miss. ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Was umming and ahhing between giving this 2 and 3 but for me the writing didn't cut it- wasn't consistent throughout. I could feel the author reaching out for what they wanted to say but not quite getting there. Didn't really feel to involved with any of the characters. Still, a good, light read and probably better for a younger audience. ...more
V.C. Linde
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent read. Really well written with lots of clever details to make you think hard about choices, decisions and who you are. Plot was excellent also although this cover is rather out of sync with the novel itself.
Matti Tornio
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
The book had its moments but overall it wasn't that good. Characters are not very compelling, the writing is messy and the plot is way too predictable. ...more
Anja Fruelund
Not her best but still a good story, though it took a while to get caught up in the tale.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
High fantasy, gender weirdness, explicit violence. Also, omniscient POV, my top fave! (I'm really selling it, aren't I). ...more
Jul 12, 2014 added it
Most unlike the other books I've read by her and not my type of fantasy at all, but really well-written and compelling. ...more
Jan 11, 2015 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval-fantasy
Did not finish. Some of the characters had interesting quirks, but ultimately I didn't connect to anyone and I put it down at around the 150-page mark. ...more
Surya Narayan M
rated it it was amazing
Mar 16, 2018
Pangur Ban
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Jan 01, 2017
rated it it was ok
Mar 02, 2015
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Jan 18, 2013
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Jan 11, 2012
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Jan 23, 2011
rated it it was ok
Jul 16, 2014
kia yee
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Jan 03, 2013
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Jul 27, 2019
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Nov 14, 2009
rated it it was ok
Nov 11, 2015
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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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