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The Mage of Trelian Hardcover – April 12, 2016
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An exemplary middle-grade fantasy trilogy concludes with a blast...The pacing races smoothly through increasingly dire events, right up to a suitably thrilling climax, into a denouement that, if not unrealistically blissful, exactly suits their personalities and desires. A solid, satisfying genre performance.
Begun in 2009 with The Dragon of Trelian, this excellent fantasy trilogy finally receives a worthy ending...Humorous moments lighten the overall tone, and despite dark, scary situations, this is a reassuring read in which the characters survive trauma and find their true purpose with love and support.
In this Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones mash-up, middle school students will enjoy reading about the magical spells and brutality inflicted on Calen and other mages while being held captive. Alternating chapters feature Meg as she matures and begins to speak up for herself as she and her dragon, Jakl, become key players in her kingdom’s army. Meg learns that moving forward is often for the best and a necessary part of growing up. The story could stand on its own, although it did make me want to search out the first two books to discover how Calen ended up in Krelig’s hands, what he’d done to betray Meg, and how Meg acquired her dragon.
—School Library Connection
About the Author
Michelle Knudsen is the author of the middle-grade fantasy novels The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian as well as the young adult novel Evil Librarian. She is also the author of the best-selling picture book Library Lion, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, among many others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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The characters grew and changed. Calen struggled with wondering if he was still himself and how to convince others he was still himself. He ends up talking with Meg. Here's the paraphrased conversation.
Calen: "I've changed." Meg: "You're still you." Calen: "Are you sure?" Meg: "People can change and still be themselves."
It was exactly what he needed to hear. It let him begin to heal.
I loved seeing how Meg grew into her role as dragon-riding princess-heir. She has done so little (comparatively) in the rest of the books. Now, she and Jakl actually get to be at the center of the action, not bumbling around getting in people's way. Plus, the Trelians now get to acknowledge Jakl as the amazing and glorious creature he is rather than running and screaming in fear of him.
I liked the development of the "early colors" that Calen saw. Now he sees magic even before the spell is cast. Oh, and he can now see wards and barriers made of magic. This progression made sense and helped him fight.
I like that Krelig caught Blackie. Blackie was sneaking in and out so many times that it was surprising that Krelig hadn't caught him yet. I would've thought Krelig rather incompetent if he hadn't.
Krelig's training methods are appropriately cruel. Someone doesn't learn fast enough? Set them on fire or melt their face off! Oh, and then heal them and have them try again. Faster! Yep, Krelig had just the right mix of insanity mixed in with evil overlordness.
I wanted the solution (for how they took down Krelig) to be more clever, though, like Calen figuring out how to transport spells themselves. The actual solution was a bit unoriginal, but it worked.
Pela! I like her and wish we saw more of her.
Some characters (like the King and Queen) felt a bit flat. I could not tell them apart, and they had no personality. Why would Devan (Meg's armor bearer who has one line) get more personality than Meg's parents?
I was curious how MK was going to get everyone to trust Calen after that shocking ending to book 2. I mean, Calen had joined the bad guys. How was he going to come back to the good guys? They already distrusted him from before!
MK has Calen come back broken and crying. The moment he's rescued, the good guys already know he's been through a lot, and that his experiences with Krelig were not pleasant. They can tell he didn't want to be there. Yes, he's powerful, but there's no doubt Calen and Krelig were on the same side.
It's not like MK could have had Calen come back injured physically. He could have healed that with magic. No, it was his mind that was injured.
Great trilogy, great story, great ending. Perfect for my middle school library as well!!!