Annoyingly I read this book without reading the one before it - I ordered it not realising it was different from "The Magic Thief" which I had intended to buy. When it arrived I read it anyway, and have now added the book I intended to read to my wish list!
That ought to amount to a recommendation. This book was good enough for me to want to fill in the gaps.
I read this straight after reading Angie Sage's Physik, and that was perhaps unfortunate, as Angie Sage's books are so good it was hard for me to put that out of my mind when reading this book - and comparisons are inevitable. This book lacks the wacky humour of Angie Sage, and the storyline is less involved. Characterisations are not as deep either.
But despite those comparisons, this is still a very good story. A fast paced adventure with plenty to endear it to its intended audience. For instance, the chapters are riddled with secret runic messages to decode, and there are some wonderfully interesting recipes at the end!
Ultimately I would say this book would appeal to a slightly younger readership than the Septimus Heap books - say 7 or 8+, although it could still be enjoyed by much older children and lovers of children's books.
(Always the problem with adding reading ages to books - it puts off the older readers who would still love it. nevertheless, children 10+ may prefer Septimus Heap).