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Across the Great Barrier (Frontier Magic, Book 2) Hardcover – August 1, 2011

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Frequently Bought Together

Across the Great Barrier (Frontier Magic, Book 2) + The Far West (Frontier Magic) + Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1020L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545033438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545033435
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #253,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Thirteenth Child

"The intricately created alternate reality, suspense and memorable characters will leave you eagerly awaiting the second book." —Buffalo News

"[A] riveting fantasy." —Children's Bookwatch

"I plunged in and couldn't put it down until I had finished." —Tamora Pierce

"The world-building is effortless, flowing natrually through Eff's conversational narration." —Kirkus Reviews, starred reivew

"A rich world where steam dragons seem as normal as bears, and a sympathetic character in Eff, who has been scarred by the belief that she is evil." —Publishers Weekly

"Wrede's characters and understated but complex... and the world-building is generously spiced with political and magical mysteries, perils, and conflicts." —Horn Book

About the Author

Patricia C. Wrede is the universally acclaimed author of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles series, including Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons, as well as other novels, including Mairelon the Magician, The Magician's Ward, and, with Caroline Stevermer, Sorcery and Cecelia, The Grand Tour, and The Mislaid Magician. She lives in Minnesota.

More About the Author

PATRICIA C. WREDE has written many novels, including Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot and The Grand Tour coauthored with Caroline Stevermer, as well as the four books in her own series, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. She lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable, fun, highly recommended.
April M. Steenburgh
Interesting characters, interesting setting, well written.
Eff makes a wonderful if rather passive heroine.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By The Figment Review on August 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
by Bridget

Historically, the life of a pioneer was one of great danger, even without woolly mammoths and steam dragons to contend with. The world of Patricia C. Wrede's Frontier Magic series brings all manner of treacherous creatures and magical phenomena to the western frontier of an alternate United States.

The story is set in the United States of "Columbia" where three schools of magic (Avrupan, Aphrikan, and Hijero-Cathayan) are practiced. Beyond the inudion of magic, there are other delightfully quirky touches to Wrede's alternate history, such as the northern country of Vinland, settled permanently by pre-Columbian Vikings.

The second book in a series, Across the Great Barrier connects directly to its prequel, Thirteenth Child. The protagonist, Eff Rothmer, begins her first-person narration where the previous story finished. Whereas Thirteenth Child covers most of Eff's childhood into her young adulthood, Across the Great Barrier takes place across only a few years. When Eff finishes upper school, she embarks on a new adventure on the other side of the Mammoth (Mississippi) River as an assistant to a Vinlander, Professor Torgeson.

Eff is a very aware narrator, partly from her naturalist's eye and partly from the world-sensing magic she uses to survey the magical nuances of her environment. She is perceptive, which ensures that the strange wildlife and social tensions of Wrede's unique world are sufficiently described. Eff is also introspective, allowing readers to solve the plot's mysteries as she does. Her seriousness does not interfere with her humor and stubborn charm, and she makes for an immensely likable protagonist.

Romantic prospects are scarce for Eff, even though she turns twenty towards the end of the book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Rimmer on July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haven't read through a full book in one sitting in years but this one I couldn't put down. You've probably read "Thirteenth Child" so you know the setting for this book. Eff is the center of the story here and she has grown much more self confident from her younger years. She is not a "kick ass" heroine as is so popular in much modern fantasy, just a young woman trying to figure out what it is she wants to do with her life.
Her very talented twin brother Lan is away at school for most of the book but comes home to recover from a tragic accident that shakes his self confidence. Their friend William is present only in the letters he writes to Eff.
As the title suggests, Eff crosses the Great Barrier, twice, to learn more about the very wild West. The land has its own ecology that is reasonably logical within the premise of both magical and non-magical plants and animals. And you will meet the animal that would scare an ice dragon (the one that Wash saw flying as fast as it could away from the mountains in "Thirteenth Child").
The story is low key, well told, and the people are believable. If you like this kind of story telling you will really enjoy this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By George Ferguson on August 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the sequel to Thirteenth Child, and starts immediately after, although the events are synopsized for the firstseveral months immediately after. Lan and William go back east to prep school, and Eff continues her schooling the the Mill City public school, with a new .magic teacher (since Miss Ochiba got that Professorship at Triskelion University). Because she missed a year due to illness, as chronicled in the first book, Eff is a year behind her twin, and has two years to go to his (and William's) one. The first part of the book follows Eff through those two years, skimming over large parts, to get her to the last part of her senior year, where she finds she needs to decide what she wants to do with her life after she finishes public school. She decides to, at least for the next few years, work at the university animal collection (zoo), which she has been doing voluntarily while she was in school.

Other reviewers have commented on her adventures as a budding naturalist, I'd like to focus more on the world-building. The world of the Frontier Magic books, as introduced in the first book, established that magic was pervasive, that those wandering siberian tribes had never crossed over to the new world, that Arvrupan (European) settlers had started settlements in the New World in about the same time frame as they did in our world, naming the new continents Columbia (implying that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in this world also). We also knew, from the first book that Gaulish (French), the Albionese (English), and the Lowlanders (Dutch) had established colonies, and that Aphrikaans (Africans) had been brought over as slaves.

This book fills in more detail.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By April M. Steenburgh VINE VOICE on September 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Eff is a Thirteenth Child, and while she has more or less overcome the assumption she is an avatar of misfortune as a result, she is still working at smoothing out her magical talents. As she finishes up her schooling as a child her brother Lan, a fortuitous seventh son of a seventh son, urges her to consider higher schooling in the east. But Eff's attention turns ever westward, to the wild lands beyond the barrier. She takes on a position as assistant to the menagerie attached to the school she just graduated from, and from there, is brought along on a survey expedition through the lands unprotected by the barrier. As the survey stumbles upon magical animals in places they should not be as well as a puzzling collection of what look to be petrified animals, Lan's schooling comes to a stop in a horrifying tragedy.

<strong>Across the Great Barrier</strong> is the second book in the Frontier Magic series, and is a fascinating mix of <strong>Little House on the Prairie</strong> and Harry Potter. I am particularly fond of magic being used for mundane things, so the way Wrede has written magic being utilized by folks trying to make their way on the frontier pulled in my attention, and the edge of danger that life style and the world Wrede has build with its steam dragons, mirror bugs, and Columbian Sphinxes kept me frantically turning pages long past when I should have been sleeping. Beyond that, everything I can ever remember enjoying about being a child is represented, in some way, in these books. The little experiences and triumphs, even the flat failures and disappointments- things I can, as an adult look back at with a crooked grin. These are books shelved in the children's section, but are by no means books just for kids.

Enjoyable, fun, highly recommended.
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