Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

Redd Becker Book Review

Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede

I enjoyed the dynamics of the large, extended family portrayed inPatricia Wrede’s story, Thirteenth Child by . Wrede did a great job of allowing the characters to grow within the story. More than the protagonist changed because of their individual challenges, therefore, allowing unexpected reactions by characters.

Patricia Wrede’s Heroine

Wrede takes us to an alternate Earth where magicians use magic to protect pioneer homesteads and frontier towns from mammoths, saber tooth tigers, steam dragons and magical mirror bugs.  Threats loom large, but their society finds ways of managing them, until, of course, they cann’t.

Eff is a wonderful female lead. Her twin, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. With this position, he is given great prestige. Eff is the thirteenth child born to a family of fourteen. She is bad luck. While her magical powers are strong, they’ve been uncontrollable and she is discouraged from using them. 

Patricia Wrede’s Frontier Magic series

Thirteenth Child is the first in the series, where Eff ventures into frontier America to help her people. Although this is the first book, it stands on its own well.

As a fun reference Ask History covers “What’s so unlucky about the number thirteen?” on their web site.

My Rating four-stars

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. WredeThirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, #1) by Patricia C. Wrede
Series: Frontier Magic #1
Published by Scholastic on January 1st 1970
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 344
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three-half-stars

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.

Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom series) by Garth Nix

Redd Becker Book Review

Mister Monday by Garth Nix is an imaginative, fast paced, adventure. Great for middle grades in particular. The challenge in Mister Monday is nothing less than Arthur saving his family and the world from an epidemic.

TMister Monday by Garth Nixhrust into a parallel universe Arthur encounters a bevy of unique characters on his quest. Garth Nix creates fun characters; some helpers, some foes. Arthur’s new-found friend, Suzy, a child stolen from Earth years ago by the Pied Piper of Black Plague legends, wants nothing more than to return home. She latches onto Arthur as her means to get there. Mister Monday confused me in a creatively quirky way. In Nix’s universe documents come to life and days of the week appear humanoid.

Each chapter contains a challenge to overcome. Perhpas the weakness for me is that Arthur’s emotions remain underplayed, while his friend Suzy provides drive.

My Rating five-stars for creativity.

Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom series) by Garth NixMister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #1) by Garth Nix
Series: The Keys to the Kingdom #1
Published by Scholastic on July 1st 2003
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 361
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three-half-stars

On the first day , there was mystery.
Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.
Arthur is safe - but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back - even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him.
Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house - a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key - and discover his true fate.