Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fyre by Angie Sage

"So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night..." Remember the Von Trapps yodeling their goodbyes to the guests? I know they weren't yodeling... they were showing their prodigious singing talents. This song's lyrics kept settling in my ears because this story reads like the author is saying, "Goodbye" to all her characters. Many will like it or they might be like me who has read the series over 8 years and struggled at times to recall who the heck was whom. Here's a tip to you kindred spirit speed-demon-readers: the characters are listed in the back of the book. Yep! That's right. You might want to use your big brain and flip back and forth. My brain is not that big. What can I say? I like to do things fast. And when I don't particularly like a book, I read in warp-speed. I have enjoyed many of the Septimus Heap books, but not this one; I thought Angie Sage spread herself too thin with an abundance of characters that took the spotlight off the star: Septimus.

Students are always looking for stories in the same vein as Harry Potter and this series satisfies that need for escapism. The world building is well-done, the characters "okeydoky" (I did get tired of that anachronistic word), and the plot messy. Readers are left with an entertaining book, but a convoluted message because Septimus's internal struggle with figuring out his career path gets chucked on the wayside of the road's plot too many times.
Septimus is helping Marcellus and Marcia dispose of the evil two-faced ring. They must rebuild the fyre the Alchemist's used  in the old days before the great Alchemie disaster to destroy it. Sounds a bit like Lord of the Rings, eh?  Marcellus and Marcia distrust each other because they represent two opposing political parties of alchemists and wizards. The two bicker an awful lot throughout this story and I didn't like how they would fight over Septimus. For instance, they are in a room with Septimus and Simon looking for ancient gold. Septimus suggests using the Transubstantiate Triple bowls and Marcellus says, "He's good isn't he?" and Marcia agrees saying that is why she chose him as his apprentice. It is supposed to be funny but it puts down Simon who is standing right there suggesting he is inferior. Marcia and Marcellus are supposed to be leaders, but their paranoia toward each other, dingy actions, and prickly attitude toward others left me disliking them. Normally Marcia's prickliness shows she care for Septimus but she was catty about Jillie Djinn putting down her "fat legs" and disrespectful to Milo who is the king's daughter, to name a few.

Many obstacles happen along the way and many don't advance the plot but are instead used to say, "goodbye," to the characters. Nursie and Merrin are presented as bait but aren't used as such. Jillie Djinn doesn't add anything to the plot except making Marcia look like an impatient jerk. Syrah wakes up but says hardly a thing, and on it goes. Remember when I told you to use your big brain and flip between the back and front? Well, you might not want to because they contain one paragraph wrap-ups of what happened to whom. Like I said, Sage has too many characters and loose threads she's trying to resolve.

The characters don't change much. Simon finds redemption and I liked the part where his knowledge of dark magic assists in the battle with the evil wizards. Marcia learns to accept Marcellus and vice versa except they are quite stupid and juvenile. Pike faces his prejudices but even that lacks depth and Jenna doesn't change much. Beetle gets little page time and Septimus gets lost in the shuffle.

"So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Adieu Septimus! I wish you had ended on a stronger note!

3 Smileys

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