On the eve of his all-important 14th birthday, Septimus faces a real challenge. As part of his Wizardly training he must undertake his Darke Week. This is difficult and dangerous and requires his single minded attention. But as he embarks on this mission, he finds that the Darke is threatening all he holds most dear. He will need the support of all his friends to save his world.
Fans of Septimus Heap will be undaunted by the bulk of this latest instalment – over 600 pages. They will be reassured by the traditional elements of the plot; satisfied to find the Magykal world as detailed as ever. They will also be delighted to meet old friends and enemies while making the acquaintance of new characters. They will be eager to find out how Septimus and Jenna are faring as they each approach their fourteenth birthday; important because it marks the beginning of adulthood. Nor will the fans be disappointed. Angie Sage keeps up the momentum that has characterised previous Septimus titles and the plot moves forward at a breathless pace, though as always with a strong element of humour. In keeping with the other books in the series, there is an adventure at the centre of the narrative, in this instance the rescue of the ghost, Alther from the Darke. This action is set against the over-arching plot which follows the development of Septimus and Jenna into their specific roles as wizard and queen. As a result there is a satisfying coherence for those who have been with these characters from the beginning. However, this might prove a barrier for readers who are meeting Septimus for the first time. Though not impossible, the enormous cast of characters, the speed of the storytelling and the number of incidents make it difficult to follow; this is very much a series that needs to be read in order. Nevertheless, the liveliness of the writing and the colourful imagination of the author ensure that this new novel is a pleasure to read and a welcome continuation of the Septimus Heap saga. How is it going to end?