Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic #1)

Patricia C. Wrede

Publication Date: April 15th 2009

Publisher: Scholastic Inc

Pages: 344

Genre:  Adventure, Historical AU, Fantasy, Young Adult

Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent -- and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.
With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternate history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

What's funny about this book is that if I had seen that it was Patricia C. Wrede, I might not have picked it up so readily, as I had recently read the Dealing with Dragons series, which I had liked, but hadn't really been my kind of book (it had been a recommendation). She was just an ordinary writer in my head and not an author to watch out for.

This book came to me by's recommendation, and partially because I thought the cover was very unique and partially because I really liked the idea I picked it up. And then it became one of my favourite books of all time! Wrede's writing has grown and this world appealed to me so much more.

So I like historical fiction, even if I don't mention or read much of it, but the historical fiction that I like the most is Oregon trail/prarie life/Lewis and Clarke era historical fiction. I love America when it was wild and magical. Now what Wrede did is take this era of American history and add a huge dose of Alternate Universe magic. America becomes Columbia, the Civil War the Succession War, and magic is a part of ones lessons in school, even a college focus.

Eff's family is originally from the East Coast, but end up moving out west when family issues become strained and her father receives an excellent job prospect to be a professor of magic at a college that helps to train wizards to go out past the Mammoth River, past the Great Barrier into the wild magics of the west. Do I still have you?

The characters are absolutely fantastic in their characterization, depth and relations towards each other. Eff comes from an absolutely gigantic family, which any author will tell you is hard to write, yet Wrede pulls it off so that each sibling (mostly the younger ones she actually interacts with) has a personality, and some a lot of depth.

The point of the book, however, is Eff growing into herself. The book starts off with her very young and ends with her in high school. We see her start off as a paranoid, easily influenced child, and end up realizing that she might just be able to trust herself, and maybe everyone else was wrong.

This book isn't as talked about as it should be. I remember putting out a Waiting on Wednesday for the third book in the series and no one knew the book at all. It's a masterpiece of a book and I love it dearly and wish it upon all of you. It's fantasy, historical AU fiction, the frontier and a story of growing up. 



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