The Wizards of Once

Cressida Cowell. Little, Brown, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-50833-9
In a whimsical fantasy set in a “British Isles so old it did not know it was the British Isles yet,” Cowell (the How to Train Your Dragon books) launches a series featuring two feuding societies: the “Wizards, who were Magic” and the “Warriors, who were not.” The Warriors are determined to stamp out all magical beings, forcing the Wizards into hiding along with giants, pixies, and other creatures. When 13-year-old Xar, a Wizard without magic, sets out to capture a dreaded Witch (long thought extinct) in order to steal its power, he instead encounters Wish, a Warrior Princess looking for an adventure of her own. Though supposedly enemies, the two become reluctant allies as their escapades bring them into conflict with an actual Witch, as well as their own families. The tongue-in-cheek voice combines with scribbly b&w interior illustrations, rampant use of capitalized words, and an omniscient (and occasionally unreliable) narrator to sustain a sense of wonder and mayhem from start to finish. Cowell skillfully mixes adventure with silliness in a satisfying story for younger fantasy fans. Ages 8–12. Agent: Caroline Walsh, David Higham Associates. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/18/2017
Release date: 10/03/2017
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-9657-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5491-1304-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-2273-5
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-316-47668-3
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