Series Spotlight: Septimus Heap by Angie Sage

I don’t remember how I came across the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. But I remember picking up ‘Magyk’ at my local library. I dove in and emerged from the imaginative world of the green-eyed Heaps seven books later.

There is something highly compelling about the story of the “seventh son of the seventh son.” The setting, though completely fantastical, felt familiar, and I attribute that to the author’s skill in introducing readers to the rules of this strange world. I never felt overwhelmed by all the new words, places and people. Each element was well-described and integrated in a way that worked with the story. One simply got to know this world through immersion in each story.

The over-all arc of the series begins as Septimus Heap discovers his true identity and his magical gifts. It follows his training and development as a wizard, with each book presenting a series of different challenges for him and his friends to overcome. The common foe is a dark type of magic that threatens to take over  the kingdom. Although one villain makes repeat appearances (even after he’s died), he hasn’t always been the active antagonist in each story. This may change with later books, obviously, if he returns as a more direct for against Septimus.

What I love about this series is that this fantastic universe keeps expanding as the story unfolds. Angie Sage goes deeper with each book by adding physical layers and dimensions. There are magical potions, ice caves under the castle, dragons, and time travelers. It’s a world that never gets boring.

What I’m not too thrilled about, however, are the instances when the grown-ups come to our hero’s rescue. I get that Septimus is young and still not fully trained as a wizard. But I think the story would be more satisfying if he had engineered the triumphs on his own, with the help of his  young friends. For this, I give a couple of the individual books 4 out of 5. But, overall, I give the series a rating of 4 1/2 Purple Hats.

If you’re looking for a series of middle-grade fantasy books, this is one that I definitely recommend. There are actually 6 books in the series, with one companion book which came out after the fourth book. Septimus Heap is published by Katherine Tegen Books and illustrated by Mark Zug. Here are the seven books so far:


Book 1: Septimus Heap: Magyk
Publication Date: March 2006
Overview:
“The seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a new born girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?”


Book 2: Septimus Heap: Flyte
Publication Date: March 2007 
Overview:
“It’s been a year since Septimus Heap discovered his real family and true calling to be a wizard. As Apprentice to Extra Ordinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand, he is learning the fine arts of Conjurations, Charms, and other Magyk, while Jenna is adapting to life as the Princess and enjoying the freedom of the Castle.

“But there is something sinister at work. Marcia is constantly trailed by a menacing Darke Shadow, and Septimus’s brother Simon seems bent on revenge. Why is the Darke Magyk still lingering?”


Book 3: Septimus Heap: Physik
Publication Date: March 2008
Overview:
“When Silas Heap unSeals a forgotten room in the Palace, he releases the ghost of a Queen who lived five hundred years earlier. Queen Etheldredda is as awful in death as she was in life. Her diabolical plan to give herself everlasting life requires Jenna’s compliance, Septimus’s disappearance, and the talents of her son, Marcellus Pye, a famous Alchemist and Physician.

“Septimus is transported 500 years back to serve Marcellus and help Queen Etheldredda in her awful quest. Can Septimus get back home, or will he be a prisoner in Time forever?”


Book 4: Septimus Heap: Queste
Publication Date: June 2009 
Overview:
“There is trouble at The Castle. Jenna and Septimus have returned from 500 years in the past, but they did not bring Nicko and Snorri with them. Meanwhile, Merrin has returned with Darke plans for Septimus.

“Sent on a deadly Queste,  Septimus must find a way to survive what no other Apprentice has: he must find the House of  Foryx where All Times Do Meet.

“With the help of Jenna, Beetle, and a mysterious scribe named Ephaniah Grebe, Septimus sets off on a journey of adventure, danger and Magyk.”


Book 5: Septimus Heap: Syren
Publication Date:
Jan 2011
Overview:
“Septimus ends up on a captivating beautiful island. He’s stranded there with his badly injured dragon, Spit Fyre, along with Jenna and Beetle.  There are some strange things about the island, including a Magykal girl named Syrah, a lighthouse that has lost its Light, and an eerie presence that sings to Septimus – can he escape the persistent call?

“Trouble is also brewing for Lucy and Wolf Boy, who have become entangle with nefarious sailors at sea, and for Milo Banda, Jenna’s father, who is harboring a mysterious treasure chest in his ship’s hold…”


Book 6: Septimus Heap: Darke
Publication Date:
June 2011
Overview:
“Alther Mella has been Banished, a Darke Domaine engulfs the Castle, and a Darke dragon is on the loose. Septimus Heap must use all of his skills to save the Castle and the Wizard Tower from destruction: He must enter the Darke. But he cannot do this alone. With the help of Jenna, Alther Mella, Marcellus Pye, and Septimus’s estranged brother, Simon Heap, Septimus and Marcia Overstrand battle the spreading Darkenesse. Will Septimus succeed in protecting his Magykal world?”


Companion Book: Septimus Heap: The Magykal Papers
Publication Date:
June 2009
Overview:
“Septimus Heap: The Magykal Papers is a collection of never-before-seen documents from the world of Septimus Heap. Contents include top-secret papers from the files of the Supreme Custodian; detailed maps; pamphlets by Silas Heap; excerpts from the private journals of Septimus, Jenna, and Marcia Overstrand; messages from the Rat Office and a glimpse into the Office’s inner workings; The Egg-on-Toast Restaurant Guide; Alther Mella’s Guide to Being Dead: Ten Handy Rules for New Ghosts; excerpts from the Pigeon Post Biography series and the Heaps of History series; and much, much more.”

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UPCOMING RELEASES:

The Darke Toad: A Septimus Heap e-Novella will be released in February 2013.

The evil Dom Daniel is up to something with the Port Witch Coven, and he needs Simon Heap’s help. Is Simon ready to do his master’s bidding? And in the state that Dom Daniel is in, how will he fare against the nasty—and ever entertaining—Port Witch Coven?

And then, Book 7, Septimus Heap: Fyre, will be published in April 2013! Here’s a peek:

Now that Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle are fourteen years old, they have assumed larger roles in their Magykal world. Beetle has become the Chief Hermetic Scribe of the Manuscriptorium and Jenna is waiting to be crowned Queen, but Septimus is still battling the remnants of the Dark Domaine, which will remain until the power of the evil Two-Faced Ring is destroyed forever. To accomplish that, the ancient Alchemie Fyre must be relit—a task that sends Septimus to the very origins of Magyk and Physik, testing both his skills, and his loyalties to ExtraOrdinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand, and Alchemist Marcellus Pye.

In a journey that encapsulates the entire Septimus Heap series, Septimus will continue to discover the truth of who he is and expand upon his Magykal power and skills. Septimus Heap, Book Seven: Fyre weaves together every singular character from the entire series and incorporates many of the Magykal places from each book. Written with Angie Sage’s distinctive humor and heart, Fyre is the grand finale that celebrates the greatest Magyk of all: When the Fyre inside is kindled and when the Time is Right, anything is possible.

To follow the saga of Septimus Heap, you can visit the following:

Author Angie Sage’s website and Twitter

Septimus Heap’s Website, Blog and Twitter

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