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The Far West (Frontier Magic) Hardcover – August 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10-In this third instalment in the series, Eff, who is working with Professor Torgeson and trying to keep the frontier safe from the mortally dangerous medusa lizards, is chosen to go on an expedition to the far West. This carries significant danger not only because of the medusa lizards, which, of course, turn living creatures to stone, but also because of other magical creatures as well. During this trip, Eff develops as a magician and learns to control her magic in new ways. With the same attention to character and setting as the previous entries, the pace in this alternate history/fantasy is measured and deliberate. A slight touch of romance between Eff and a couple of suitors leavens the narrative. There is an interesting mix of 19th-century formality with a relative equality for women, which makes Eff more of a contemporary character, notwithstanding her sense of decorum around men. Despite the numerous historical references-to Lincoln, slavery, and the Civil War-which place the story firmly in the 1800s, Wrede sticks with her curious choice of a frontier empty of indigenous human inhabitants, even south of the U.S. border. Quite apart from any other concerns, this results in a strange flatness in the picture she paints of the frontier, and the emptiness of the land echoes back into the story. Nonetheless, fans of the series will enjoy this novel.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In the Frontier Magic trilogy finale, now-20-year-old Eff Rothmer is working in the college wildlife menagerie in Mill City when she is invited to join a government-directed expedition into uncharted territory in the Far West, along with her professors; twin brother, Lan; friend William; and recently returned menagerie assistant Roger. It’s an exciting but risky and dangerous venture, as they encounter exotic creatures from medusa lizards to rock dragons. However, the almost two-year journey also becomes one of self-discovery as Eff struggles to understand her haunting, cryptic dreams and unique magical abilities, while helping to preserve the Great Barrier Spell, the failing of which could bring potentially perilous consequences. The blend of fantasy-adventure, Wild West and westward-expansion lore, and pioneer life is engaging, as are the diverse characters and settings. Eff is a strong, multifaceted protagonist whose first-person descriptive narration, if occasionally slow-paced and dense, well portrays her dilemmas and experiences in life and love. An enjoyable read that Eff’s followers in particular will welcome. Grades 5-8. --Shelle Rosenfeld

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1030L (What's this?)
  • Series: Frontier Magic (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545033446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545033442
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Martin VINE VOICE on July 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The third and final novel in the Frontier Magic trilogy is the story of a journey both literally and figuratively. When the story begins, Eff Rothmer is twenty and working as an assistant to Professor Torgeson at the university in Mill City. Mill City is at Columbia's Western edge of civilization right up against the Great Barrier Spell, a magic spell concocted by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to keep magical creatures out of the East. But 83 years have passed and settlements have extended 100 miles west of the Great Barrier even though it is much more dangerous out there.

A journey is being planned to explore further west - perhaps, all the way to the Rocky Mountains. Eff is excited about it but doesn't think she has any hope of going along. Her brother Lan who is a powerful magician and a double seven (seventh son of a seventh son) has been invited as has her brother-in-law Brant who was a hero of the previous successful McNeil Expedition. Also going is Roger Boden who is Eff's suitor, even though she turned down his proposal, and her best friend William Graham who is a student of magic. This expedition is being partially financed by the Cathayan government and their representative is Adept Alikaket. When she is asked to go along as an assistant to Professor Torgeson, she is excited, scared and eager but she also recognizes the danger. After all, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was lost when they tried to explore.

This story has excitement, adventure and even romance. Magic is woven into this story in many ways. Most people have the ability to do magic. It is taught in their schools. Eff does have problems with the most common form of magic - the Avrupan. Her spells have a tendency to go wrong.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ravencatt on July 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed all of the Frontier Magic books, but this one may well be my favorite.

The characters develop nicely, building on what has happened in previous books and moving forward to their individual destinies, and we have the introduction of some new and interesting ones. The different types of magic are very well portrayed, as well as Eff's own exploration of her abilities and special viewpoint. Eff also has to make some very serious choices about her future. Lan, William, Wash, Professors Torgeson and Ochiba are very much present and facing serious decisions and situations. New crisis and new creatures abound. And the conclusion wraps up very neatly, settling some old questions while creating new possibilities. While the book nicely wraps up things for the various characters, there is definitely room for more exploration beyond the "Far West".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sara M Glassman on September 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
***This review has appeared previously at [...]***
This is the third (and, as far as I know, final) book in the Frontier Magic series. I love this series! My quick and dirty tagline for it when I'm trying to hand-sell it at the bookstore is: Harry Potter meets Little House on the Prairie. It's so much more complicated than that, but when you've got ten seconds to get a middle schooler's attention you work with what you've got. I like these books so much that I did a video review of book one, The Thirteenth Child. It's pretty terrible, but you can go watch it if you want a good laugh.
The world is essentially 19th century America, but magic has always been known and because of that things have developed a little differently. The biggest differences for our purposes are these: it's not America, it's Columbia; westward expansion has essentially stopped at the Mammoth River (The Mississippi for us) due to the uncontrollable wildlife on the other side; Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson managed to create a barrier using the river that keeps all magical animals to the west; there is no Native American presence (I assume because of the dangers of the wildlife although it is not specified in the text); the Civil War worked a little bit differently, but the end result is the same and slavery has been abolished, although it was never as big a deal there as it was here due to the difficulty of clearing large plantations.
As in most fairy tales, the seventh son of a seventh son is considered the most powerful magician known. However, especially in the eastern-most areas of the country, thirteenth children are considered more than unlucky, they're seen almost as plague carriers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My favorite thing about this series is the fascinating concept of magic that is shaped by culture (or is it culture shaped by different kinds of magic?) blending cultural elements of Europe, Africa/African-American, and Asia in her descriptions of the different types of magic. I love that the heroine's special ability has to do with viewing magic holistically and intuitively, seeing the patterns and relationships among the different schools of magic. Developing this fascinating idea of magic in an American frontier setting is brilliant, giving lots of scope for improvising and adapting the traditional magic to meet new challenges, and exploring how untamed magic might shape the wild lands, plants and animals.

This book is clearly a sequel with lots of references to the previous books (Thirteenth Child and Across the Great Barrier) and will read better if you are familiar with the first two books. It has an independent story arc though, and the familiar characters have grown and developed in satisfying ways. The author also adds new creatures and elements to the alternative universe.

Patricia Wrede writes of strong heroines in challenging situations. Her earlier books are set in "alternative" worlds too, a medieval fairy-tale world and a magical Regency England. The heroines have the romantic appeal of picturesque settings, but intelligence, common sense and courage that make them sympathetic for modern readers. I have loved all of her books, but especially The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, The Magician's Ward, and (with Carolyn Stevermer) Sorcery and Cecelia and now the Frontier Magic collection. I recommend these books for pre-teens and teens, especially girls,
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