On a recent trip back to Iowa for two MFA thesis defenses in one afternoon (congratulations to my now former students, Alex and Beatrice!), my 12-year-old son recommended for us, and his 10-year-old brother, the book Magyk, by Angie Sage, so we brought it along. Once in a while when you listen to something on CD, the book and the reading of it make you want to get back to driving after each break and maybe not want to take the break in the first place, despite the calls of nature. That was our experience with Magyk. As read by Allan Corduner, it was suspenseful, imaginative, and entertaining all the way through, with distinctive voices for just about all the characters.
I suppose some readers might want to find fault with the sort of piecemeal ending, but I found it a welcome retardation device (this is a pacing term invented by the Russian Formalists) that helped us to return to earth after the fast movement of the plot towards the end. Adult readers/listeners will have probably figured out who Septimus Heap is well before the end, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining, especially when you’ve got a rapt ten-year-old in the back seat, waiting to find out.