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Septimus Heap, Book Six: Darke
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2011
If you are a fan of the Septimus Heap series this 6th volume does not disappoint. As Sep & Jenna prepare for their birthday everything falls apart. Sep is supposed to test for his Darke week but before he can Marcia accidently banishes Alther in the dungeon. Merrin Meredith has Dom Daniels' ring and he really starts wrecking havoc stirring up a Darke takeover. Luckily Simon comes back in time to help Marcia .....And that's all I'm giving up!
I have been a fan since the 1st book and will be disappointed when the series ends. I'm thinking the next book will be it. Book 7 - because after all Septimus is the 7th son of a 7th son so 7 books seems logical.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2011
This is another wonderful installment of the Septimus Heap series! I was so pleasantly surprised to see it in my Kindle's new items (forgot I had preordered it) that I jumped right into it and couldn't put it down. Wonderful job!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2011
Confession: I'm 39 years old and I love to read young adult fantasy literature (thank you JK Rowling)! I started reading the Septimus Heap series on recommendation a few years ago, and just finished reading the latest in the series, Darke. Though I enjoyed the story and, like a good story after it's finished, I thought about the characters and their outcome for a few days afterward, even looking forward to the next book. A lot of stuff was going on throughout this book. Characters were brought back from everywhere, so much so, that I had forgotten who some of them were. A majority of the story doesn't even involve Septimus at all. A lot of focus was put on Beetle and Jenna. Why other characters were even mentioned in the story, I have no idea. They had no integral part to the story unless it was some very slick foreshadowing for an upcoming book. As far as the story goes: Jenna and Septimus are preparing to celebrate their very important 14th birthday. At this time, Jenna will become official Queen and Septimus will take on a very important part of his wizard training--dealing with darke magic. It's dangerous, but every wizard must pass through this phase. Some don't make it back. Of course, this pair cannot peacefully celebrate a birthday without danger following close behind!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2011
Septimus Heap is preparing for his Darke Week, a rite of passage separating the Ordinary from the ExtraOrdinary Apprenticeship. Since Apprentices choose what they do during their Darke Week, he is determined to retrieve Banished ghost Alther from Darke Hall. A 14th birthday is very special for an Apprentice (since it is twice the Magykal number of 7), but there is an undercurrent of worry throughout the Wizard Tower as Septimus turns 14. It's almost as if everyone is expecting someone (someone like...gulp...Septimus) to die.

Meanwhile, Lucy Gringe has come home after two years away to reunite with her parents. Lucy not only offers apologies for running off to find Simon Heap, she also gives them a heartfelt invitation to her and Simon's upcoming wedding. But the Gringe family reunion is interrupted by the arrival of a black horse. It's Simon's horse, without Simon. Lucy feels pricklings of dread, wondering if something terrible has happened to Simon. Indeed, if Lucy knew what Simon was facing, she would be horrified.

It's Jenna's 14th birthday, too, of course. A woman calling herself The Bringer of the Book arrives bringing a...you guessed it. This particular book is called THE QUEEN RULES and gives Princess in Waiting Jenna some enlightening news. It seems Septimus can no longer dismiss her concerns, including her recent worries that someone has been in the Palace attic. When Jenna tried to discuss this problem with Septimus, he didn't take her apprehension seriously. But even though she now knows Septimus must pay attention to her, she turns instead to the sympathetic Beetle.

Beetle does not take Jenna's anxiety lightly. He even wonders if what she thinks is a person in the attic might not be an Infestation --- the moving of something Darke into a home. However, even with Beetle to help her, it isn't long before Jenna finds herself in a terrifying life-or-death situation during which she makes an unlikely friend. At the same time, her identity (to say nothing of her outfit) takes quite a surprising turn.

None of these characters realize the tremendous battle that lies before them. The Palace has been invaded by the Darke Domain. ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand is galvanized into action to fight the dreaded Darke. Strangely, the one person she would expect to be fighting at her side appears to be missing, so she drafts another character, who ultimately proves to be a courageous hero. As the monumental battle ensues between the forces of Magyk and Darke, the two sides struggle for power over the kingdom. Someone quite near and dear to both Jenna and Septimus appears to be lost to the Darke forever; in a conflict this massive, there must be (and will be) casualties.

While the plot advances, filled with tons of Magykal adventure as well as hilariously irreverent asides, the characters also mature and strengthen in response to their challenges. Jenna comes to an important realization about her place in the world. Septimus and one of his brothers struggle with trust and reconciliation. One romance comes to a natural and believable ending, while another couple returns to a home in which they were once content.

DARKE is an exciting and thoroughly satisfying page-turner, making this yet another brilliant episode in the series. So why aren't these books as famous as those of that other wizard, the one in the spectacles? They should be.

--- Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
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on October 27, 2014
I’m 25 years old and yes I read these books. I read the first book because my sister had bought one 10 years ago and I decided to try it out. I thought the book was ok but nowhere near Harry Potter or other books of this genre. I continued to read them as I’m the type of person that will stick to a series once I start it. Well, I’m glad I did because as the series continues I have grown attached to all of these characters. More and more get added on to the point where I am constantly awaiting for my favorites to resurface to see what they are up to next.

Sage has a way of weaving these seemingly separate character stories together into a beautiful web. This novel was my favorite so far as we start where the previous book left off. Alther was banished and Septimus is the only one (of course) who can get him back, by venturing into the Darke Halls. Meanwhile Merrin Meredith is up to no good, and this time he actually succeeds in doing something! In the past this character has been a sort of joke, with his threats of evil towards our heroes. Somehow Merrin has used the power of the two faced ring to create a Darke Domain, which begins to take over the Castle and is a threat to the Wizards Tower as well!

All of our favorite characters make at least one appearance. Beetle is definitely my favorite of all of our heroes and he has a very large part in this book, and a very happy ending as well. Sometimes I forget that these kids are only 13 since they all seem to have the weight of the world on their shoulders. None of the adults treat the characters as kids, and I suppose that is why these books are so appealing to children. However the writing and adventure is mesmerizing so adults should enjoy them as well.

I really wish I had a kid to read these to as I can only imagine how much more fun they are when sharing this adventure with someone that is actually in the target audience. I really look forward to the next book, Fyre. I am sad that I’m getting to the end of these books but am happy to see there is a spinoff series in the same world. I just hope these characters make another appearance!
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on June 29, 2012
I have read all this series in ebook form, and for once that worked greatly to my advantage as I had not realised, when my preorder became available, that I was getting the kindle edition long before the hard back hits the shelves in the UK. Why we in the UK should be made to wait so long is not clear to me, as this is a perfect summer read for children and young adults, as well as adults who enjoy a thoroughly engaging tale, with a huge cast of wonderful characters.

If you found Darke first, please note that this is part of a series that starts with the book "Magyk". Magyk is a wonderful piece of writing and you should go and buy it now. No seriously, right now!

If you are still reading this review it is either because you ignored my advice (shame on you) or you have enjoyed this series so much that like me you are still reading it as quickly as you can. If that is the case, I am wasting my time telling you how good a story it all is, so here are some thoughts on the latest book.

Darke begins on the eve of Septimus and Princess Jenna's 14th birthday. They are on the brink of adulthood as measured in their society, and things are changing. Septimus is also about to embark on yet another extraordinarily dangerous parts of his apprenticeship - Darke Week. Add to that a banishing accident with poor Alther, and the return of some other shady characters and you have all the elements of another page-turning tale. Your only regret reading this is likely to be that the story is over, and you have to wait so long for the next installment.

I give the story five stars. It is as good as ever. If I have some minor criticisms, these would be that maybe the humour was not quite so quick coming as earlier books. And yet the quirky humour is still very much in evidence. There are also some literary references that may or may not suit the story (depending on your mood). A refernce to "Their and Back Again lane" pays homage to "The Hobbit" and the character Bertie Bott will certainly have everyone thinking of every flavour beans.

This series bears some resemblance to Harry Potter of course. It is about a student in magic (or magyk at least). It is to span 7 books, and the quirky humour is reminiscent of JK Rowling's style. But these books are anything but derivative or formulaic. This is a very different tale in a very different world, and is in no way a Harry Potter clone. So I am not quite sure why we have Bertie Bott! But like all the other characters, Bertie is interesting.

I particularly like Angie Sage's endings (and the epilogues), and this book is no exception.

A first class read. It may not be the best book I have ever read in my life but it richly deserves five stars.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2011
I called this book the darkest one yet - and not just because of the title. More people die than in all the previous books together. Some scenes are quite gruesome, e.g. when a child's thumb is cut off with a kitchen knife and this is deemed acceptable, even justified.

Although the story starts rather slowly, Angie Sage has managed to keep her 6th Septimus Heap story full of action and suspense, right until the end.
Ms Sage likes to give some characters short introductions in some of the earlier books only to give them larger parts later on. But now she seems to have too many characters "floating around", so she has to find something for them to do or rather an excuse for them to be doing nothing:
The genie Jim Knee is hibernating, i.e. snoring on Marica Overstrand's sofa. Syrah Syara remains suspended in the Disenchanting Chamber. I had expected Septimus and Syrah to start a romantic affair, but perhaps Angie Sage is leaving that for book 7.

I don't want to spoil things by describing the fast paced plot in detail. I must admit that I was disappointed by Snorri's and Nico's breaking up; even more so when I realized that Beetle and Jenna's relationship was going nowhere in particular. But apparently it had only been a one (beetle-) sided affair.

By the way, is there any official statement about why there will be exactly seven books? I fail to see why this should be so. Septimus has still got some years left until he finishes his apprenticeship. In SH 6 he is only 14. There is no buildup towards a showdown like the duel between Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter in HP7. Oh well, only time and Angie Sage will tell.
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on March 22, 2012
I imagine that anyone who enjoyed the first five books in the Septimus Heap series will want to continue reading and will enjoy Darke. I seem to enjoy the odd number books more than the even numbered books in the series. So, I didn't feel it was as good as the fifth book, Syren.

In many ways, I feel the series is a little disorganized. There are a lot of great characters and concepts that have been introduced but seem to have been left unresolved. After the first book, I expected the series to involve Septimus, Jenna, and Nicko going on adventures on the Dragon Boat. It will be interesting to see if the story can bring all of the elements together for a grand conclusion.

I was a little disappointed in the starting of the book. I felt a bit lost as I couldn't really tell how much time had passed since the end of Syren or what had been happening in the world of Septimus and Jenna. Actually, it seems like the events of this book do not tie to the events in Syren. Septimus' jinnie, Jim Knee, is hibernating and Syrah is lying asleep in the disenchantment ward. I was also disappointed that Septimus didn't appear much in the first third of the story. The main action was on Princess Jenna and Beetle.

Once the story started to take shape, things progress quickly. I wish Septimus had been included in more of the scenes in the book, but in the end I still found it to be a good book.
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on January 27, 2014
Basically a Harry Potter genre book with a little less character depth, more humour and considerably less "evil" evil....but really just about as entertaining (I should also mention.... I got the audio book). The "Things" are very Dementor-ish for example.... the hard-to-obtain lost artifacts are searched for to defeat the darkness, while the standard talking animals, well meaning ghosts and the required loveable but troublesome-to-keep pet dragon make their appearances in the castle setting. There are marked differences of course- among them a princess, and the usual dark lord who rather surprisingly seems pretty much wiped out early in the series.
Some of the books in the line are better than others, I liked the first and this one more. This episode may as well be titled "Marcia Overstrand and Septimus Heap", she is almost the hidden main character in much of the books.
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on June 11, 2011
Excellent addition to the Septimus Heap series! Darke is a wonderfully exciting page-turner with plenty of humor and great characters. The plot is full of surprises and some of the coolest magyk in the series so far. Not only that, but everyone, particularly Simon, Septimus, and Jenna, is clearly growing up and preparing for their futures. It also has probably the most serious and difficult situations in the series and a much more somber tone. Darke reminds readers that it is the second to last in the series by beginning to wrap things up in preparation for the final volume. Some characters we will be glad to see go, but others will be missed. It's going to be a long wait for Septimus 7!
A fabulous book that is sure to be the best of the summer!
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