Tuesday, June 3, 2008
by Angie Sage
Merrin Meridith is back and seeking revenge on Septimus. There's also an evil ghost out to take control of the wizard tower, someone (unnamed for spoilers sake) is still missing, and Septimus has been sent on the dreaded Queste, from which no one has ever returned. Typically the opportunity to draw the Queste stone isn't until the end of the 7 year apprenticeship, but things never seem to go quite right where Septimus is concerned.
First of all, there a few slight SPOILERS relating mainly to book three, Physik, of this series. I don't think there is anything directly spoiling about Queste.
I really like the first and third book in this series. In fact, the third book was my favorite by far and I have been really looking forward to Queste ever since. Sadly, it appears that the even numbered books in this series are no good. Queste nearly bored me to tears for the first 250 or so pages. In fact, it wasn't until page 243 that the word Queste is even brought up. Until then, it's just a bunch of people moving about, in an attempt (?) to set up the story. Even after the Queste is originally brought up, it isn't until about page 300 that Septimus begins the Queste, and not until about page 450 (of 570) that I actually started caring about what the characters were doing.
As my husband says. "If it takes you more that half-way through a book to get un-boring, then it's a boring book." Maybe not completely fair (and usually used to reference classics), but it was so true in this case.
I think the first half of the story needed to be heavily edited. Sage uses her traditional back and forth between characters, but so much of it seems unnecessary. Even after finishing the story, I don't know why we care about a lot of it. By cutting the first half by at least half, I think the story would have been so much better as a whole. Instead, I had to push myself to finish it. After all, I did want to know what had happened to Nicko and Snorri.
Merrin spends most of the first half of the book trying to Darken Sep's destiny. As far as I can figure, there was not point at all in that storyline, unless it's going to play a major roll in the next book. Nothing came of it, and it just didn't make sense why so much time was spent on it.
Once the Queste actually starts, the book picks up. There is danger, adventure, mystery, and Septimus saving the day. The House of Foryx was very interesting, as were the people. I wish more had been explained about the workings of the house though. And, while the story didn't end quite like I predicted (a plus), it all wraps up rather well.
I also wish that more time had been spent on Marcia and Sep's relationship. They can't seem to get along at all, yet Sep is super talented - he doesn't seem to need to study and do the things that Marcia demands in order to perform magyk. A fairly big deal is made regarding his projection and how amazing it was for a first time projection, yet Marcia is immediately mad at him again. It just doesn't really make sense, and got frustrating. Maybe that will all be resolved in the fifth (and final?) book?
Overall, I wouldn't really recommend this book. If you are a fan of the series and want to know how everything turns out with Nicko and Snorri, go for it. Otherwise, you can probably skip it. It didn't really seem to set anything up for the final book, and was more of a chore than a pleasure to get through.
2.5 out of 5 stars (.5 stars were gained during the last 80 or so pages).
Posted by KT at 1:14 PM