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Across the Great Barrier (Frontier Magic Book 2) by [Wrede, Patricia C.]
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Across the Great Barrier (Frontier Magic Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in Frontier Magic (3 Book Series)
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Length: 357 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Age Level: 12 - 18 Grade Level: 7 - 12
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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Thirteenth Child:

“I plunged in and couldn't put it down until I finished. It's a fascinating adventure in an America where an 'unlucky' thirteenth child finds her own magic on a frontier where the dragons and the mammoths play.” – Tamora Pierce

[star] “Effortless…The culminating adventure of this volume ties up Eff's coming-of-age with a frontier-style bow while leaving her poised for more adventures–many more, readers will hope.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Fantasy readers looking for a great new series to get wrapped up into will appreciate and enjoy Wrede's cast of characters and all the implications magic holds with them.”

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 11010 KB
  • Print Length: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (August 1, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2011
  • Sold by: Scholastic Trade Publisher
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ES45VS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,470 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Across the Great Barrier" is the second entry in Patricia Wrede's 'Frontier Magic' trilogy of an alternate colonial America, where there is magic aplenty on the frontier just west of the Mammoth (Mississippi) River. There are also large mammals that in our 'real' time-line died out at the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 years ago, e.g. Wooly Mammoths and Sabertooth Tigers. These critters compete with the human settlers for their crops and sometimes their lives, but they also have to contend with magical animals. There's one particularly nasty entity called a 'steam dragon' that could eat a horse and rider for breakfast and then polish off a farmer's dairy herd for lunch.

In "Thirteenth Child," the first book in this series, we watched Eff Rothmer, the thirteenth child of a Professor of Magic grow from age five to eighteen and slowly come to grips with her own magical talent. Her twin brother, Lan is the fourteenth child and also the seventh son of a seventh son. Everyone expects great magic from Lan, and he is sent off to one of the great Eastern colleges of magic to further his talent. Meanwhile Eff graduates from school and goes to work tending the partially magical menagerie of the new land-grant college where her father holds his professorship.

Eff is still struggling to do the simplest spells with her European-style (Avrupan) magic, when Professor Torgeson invites her on an expedition beyond the Great Barrier that runs down the middle of the Mammoth River, to catalog the plants and animals (magical and non-magical) around the new farming settlements. Naturally, Eff jumps at the chance, especially since her favorite circuit rider, Wash Morris will be their guide.
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