Megan's Reviews > Thirteenth Child

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
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's review
Aug 07, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: library, ya

this was excellent sick-day, read-in-one-sitting material. set in an alternate magical version of the U.S. in the 1800s, eff (short for francine) and her family are living on the frontier, separated by a magical barrier from wild beasts like steam dragons that live to the west (and yet not from the native people, for she's left them out altogether...). she's the thirteenth child in her family, considered unlucky, but because this is a fantasy coming-of-age narrative, of course she turns out to have lots of magical power that she has to discover, come to terms with, accept, and learn how to use. mainly she has to get over her fear of misusing it. i really liked the idea that there are various types of magic (the alternate-universe counterparts to african, english, and chinese, roughly) that work in different ways, much like religions are all different ways at getting at god. "aphrikan" magic involves looking and sensing what magic's around and adjusting it, rather than spell-casting, and it was very satisfying to read about and imagine what that would be like.

still, i probably won't seek out the rest of the books in this series. i liked eff well enough, but i wasn't captivated by her character or her world.
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