cover image The Magician of Hoad

The Magician of Hoad

Margaret Mahy, . . S&S/McElderry, $18.99 (411pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-7807-7

Hans Christian Andersen Award–winner Mahy serves up a highly successful fantasy concerning Heriot Tarbas, a young man subject to fits and prophetic dreams, who believed that “something ravenous was feeding on him and tearing him into two.” Heriot is soon sent to the capitol to become the Magician of Hoad, serving the king by reading the minds of courtiers and diplomats and creating magical entertainments. He must also deal with the treachery of Carlyon, the Hero of Hoad (the king’s ceremonial co-ruler); the eccentricities of the king’s three sons, two of whom may be mad and one of whom is in love; and his own growing attachment to Cayley, a feisty gutter rat of uncertain parentage and gender. Mahy (Maddigan’s Fantasia ) is a master at creating odd but compelling characters and Heriot makes a fine, somewhat fey protagonist. Although Hoad is a fairly generic medieval kingdom, Heriot’s magic owes as much to the logic of dreams and surrealism as it does to the traditions of Tolkien and genre fantasy. This is a lovely tale that should thoroughly please the author’s many readers. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)