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Darke is the sixth book in the popular 'Septimus Heap' series (the earlier books don't appear to be on Dooyoo yet; I'll suggest them and review them if they're added). Like the rest of the series, Darke follows Septimus Heap, apprentice to the ExtraOrdinary wizard Marcia Overstrand, his foster sister Princess Jenna, his extended Heap family, and his best friend Beetle, a scribe in the manuscriptorium. The plot does focus on some events that occurred in previous books, but everything is adequately explained, so it isn't necessary to have read them first.
A vital stage of Septimus' apprenticeship is Darke week, where he has to complete a task that involves confronting Darke magic. Septimus sets off to try and rescue the ghost of the prevous ExtraOrdinary wizard, Alther Mella, who was previously accidently banished to a Darke place. But while he is gone, Darke magic is unleashed in the palace, put in place by old enemies. A Darke Domain, starting in one of the attics engulfs the palace, and despite the wizards' attempts to hold it back, it soon spreads over the entire city. Within in it are Things, creatures of evil that will destroy anyone they come across. Marcia and Jenna must try and find the wizard who started the Darke Domain before the entire castle is overwhelmed. Septimus faces challenges of his own, but he has no-one to help him...
This isn't my favourite book in the Septimus Heap series, but it certainly has its charm. The trademark wit and fun is there, though in many cases the plotline is a lot darker than previous books. The world created is not as detailed as in other fantasy books; we get no place names, but just 'The Castle' and 'The Port'. This means it lacks some realism, but the world described is still charming enough to be a good backdrop. The characters themselves can be a bit two-dimensional. The best way of describing most of them would be fun. Yes, they get into perilous situations, but you don't ever feel that they are really in danger. Fair enough, overwhelming peril might be unsuitable in a children's book, but a little bit of tension would have been nice. A lot of old favourite characters appear, but don't add very much to the story. Hence established readers will enjoy their appearances, but those new to the series will probably find this a bit annoying. I really like the 'What Happened Afterwards' section at the back of the book, a nice way of filling us in on minor characters. These books are sometimes described as the next Harry Potter, but I would say there is not enough substance to make that comparison; while children will enjoy, I imagine a lot of adults would find it over simplistic.
What can i say... Angie Sage in my mind is going to be the next J. K. Rowling.
I for fun and a bit of extra money collect signed first editions and have collected Angie Sage's novels from day one.
Angie Sage grew up in Thames Valley, London and Kent. Her father was a publisher. He would bring home blank books that she could fill with pictures and stories. Sage first studied medicine, but changed her mind and went to Art School in Leicester. There she studied Graphic Design and Illustration. She began illustrating books after college. Then she progressed to writing children stories, including toddler books and chapter books. The Septimus Heap series was snapped up by the movie bosses at Warner Bros and David Frankel (Marley & Me) will be directing. This can only mean that the film bosses want to try and make the Septimus Heap series into the NEW Harry Potter.
The Angie Sage tittles to look out for are MAGYK (2005), FLYTE (2006), PHSIK (2007), QUESTE (2008), SYREN (2009) DARKE (2009)and THE MAGYKAL PAPERS (2009). If you can get hold of any these copies Ist edition Signed they will be worth a few quid once the movies are released.
I would go on to tell you about the story lines to the books but i have not read them, i know its wrong of me but they are still boxed and stored safely.