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Legacies (Shadow Grail, No. 1) Hardcover – July 6, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7-10–Spirit White, the sole survivor of a car accident that kills her family, finds that her parents had provided for this eventuality by making her a “legacy” of Oakhurst Boarding School for Magicians, just outside Billings, MT. There she joins others in her situation, all of whom have learned the nature of their magical (or “mage”) gifts except Spirit, whose talent has not yet manifested itself. She and her friends discover the school's terrible record of “losing multiple students every year” and plot to overcome the evil force. Along the way, they IM and have pep rallies and school dances. (Another techie touch for librarians: RFID-chipped books.) This novel has a too-familiar setting and a clichéd plot. However, it's a really good read. The authors do a great job of juxtaposing a scary theme and the ordinary angst of adolescents. They also do a nice job with the metaphor of magical gifts as means of self-actualization. Legacies has enough action for reluctant readers, and enough character development for teens to see themselves in this group of friends. The book's fans are sure to eagerly await Spirit's discovery of her mage gift and further confrontations with the forces of evil.Corinne Henning-Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
After 16-year-old Spirit White's entire family dies in a car crash, she emerges from weeks of rehabilitation to discover she is being sent to Oakhurst, an exclusive boarding school in Montana for orphans with magical powers. The problem is, Spirit doesn't seem to have any magical powers—even though one or both of her parents did (all students are Legacies). Though the school attempts to isolate students and encourages competition rather than friendship, Spirit becomes close with five engaging and very different teens. The group decides to investigate the mysterious and surprisingly common disappearances of fellow students. Lackey and Edghill know how to spin a yarn, immediately pulling the reader into Spirit's mourning psyche as well as the fast-paced action of the mystery, mixing marvelous elements of fairy tales and mythology into both the plot and references in the students' Magical History class. There's also a touch of gentle romance, and readers who appreciate everything from X-Men to Harry Potter will be begging for the sequel, signaled by the abrupt ending. Grades 7-11. --Debbie Carton
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I wasn't sure if I'd like this as it is geared towards younger readers, but having read the authors' collaborations before, I thought I'd give it a shot.
I'm glad I did, as I found it an enjoyable read. This is actually more similar to Kelly Armstrong's Darkest Powers series than to Harry Potter, though in all three the youngsters must band together to solve problems the adults around them can't or won't handle. However, in this series the children are all orphans, are kept isolated at the school, and have no sources of information about magic - or anything else! - except what the school provides. So,can the school itself be trusted?
I was very caught up in reading the book and would like to read the next one when it comes out - but I did not immediately re-read it and I haven't found myself dwelling on the characters or the world created.
First off, I don't see why there is any discussion of whether this is a Harry Potter clone. This is nothing like Harry Potter, which had a complete magical world and a sense that it was totally divorced from any particular time or contemporary problems. In "Legacies" the kids are all very modern and all very much of this time and this society. Heck, it's closer to "Gossip Girls" than "Potter".
That said, it isn't "Gossip Girls", even though that's what I expected. The characters have more appeal, more depth, and more "normal" personality than what I have found in the mean girl social books.
On the other hand, it also had a lot less magic. It almost has emerging "magical abilities" as more a metaphor for just being an adolescent. In fact, once it goes all out magical with the Great Hunt, it actually becomes less compelling.
So, the upshot is that we have a group of reasonably appealing teens coming to grips with a confusing world, without parents and without trust in the adults around them. There are magical overtones and romantic elements, and sort of a plot and sort of a mystery, and maybe that's all we need. (And, no one is as annoying or predictable or as heavily breathing as those "Twilight" people.) Not a bad read after all.