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Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic (Quality)) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2010
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Specifically, Patricia C Wrede's latest book is a unique fantasy set in an alternate world where dragons, mammoths and stray patches of magic stream across the United States (here called "Columbia"). While Wrede doesn't fully flesh out her cast or her alternate history, "Thirteenth Child" is a solid little merge of wagons-and-cabins frontier stories and exceptional magic.
Lan was born a seventh son of a seventh son, a natural for magic. But his sister Eff was born a thirteenth child, which popular superstition says will inevitably be evil and bring bad luck -- and her relatives take every chance to torment her about it.
Fortunately their parents decide to move all the children still living with them out west, to a small university. Over the years, Eff has problems other than her status as a "thirteenth" -- the Rationalists, who avoid all magic; the steam dragons that fly overhead; and some nasty encounters with fellow students. And Eff starts learning from the kindly Miss Ochiba, who introduces her to Aphrikan and Hijero-Cathayan magic.
But Eff's family is thrown into chaos when one of her sisters causes a massive scandal. And when a strange plague of grubs and insects (which once destroyed an entire settler town) threaten to destroy all the settlements in the west, Eff accompanies a research team to the Rationalist town. But not only are the insects all over the place, they seem to be impossible to eradicate with magic. Can a thirteenth child hope to save the settlements?Read more ›
I had heard a lot about the controversy surrounding Wrede's alternative history frontier fantasy before I read it, so I settled down to read this book with some trepidation, even though I dearly love Patricia Wrede. Because her new Frontier Magic series takes place in an alternate American history, one where the United States never had a Native American population, many readers and critics were troubled. It seems deeply insensitive to eradicate a group of people who have already been through so much. And yet, reading the book, didn't feel as overwhelmingly uncomfortable as I would have thought. I'm also a fan of Joss Whedon's Firefly, a science-fiction/Wild West type show, and I have to admit, the lack of Native Americans on that show never bothered me. It was unclear to me, reading Wrede's book, if slavery had ever existed in her alternate history. While Aphrikan people (and their magic) seem to be a rare minority, no further backstory is given.
I liked the idea of frontierspeople struggling to hold their own against magical creatures; mammoths, dragons, enchanted beetles. Magic, in this world, is commonplace and everyday. The Wild West twang to the character's speech added depth to the story.
Eff's continual low self-esteem became a bit wearing as the story went on.Read more ›
Eff's mother puts it best: "I can see plain enough that an angel straight from heaven itself would grow up crooked if she was watched and chivvied and told every morning and every night that she was sure to turn evil, and I can see equally plain that fussing and fawning over a child that hasn't even learned his numbers yet, as if he were a prince of power and wisdom, will only grow him into a swell-headed, stuck-up scarecrow of a man, who like as not will never know good advice when he hears it, nor think to ask for it when he needs it."
Eff's family moves to the North Plains Territory east of the Great Barrier. The Great Barrier is a magical barrier that keeps creatures like Mammoths, woolly rhinoceri, swarming weasels and spectral bears on the west side of the barrier.
The oldest of Eff's siblings stay in the east (either to marry or go to University) and for the first few years in the new territory, no one mentions that Lan is the 7th son of a 7th son or that Eff is a 13th child.
Eff's first 4 years of life made an indelible impression and she is convinced that someday she will go bad. It preys on her conscience and finally she confesses to her magical teacher, Miss Ochiba.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best book ever!!! Grew connected to the charecters before the first chapter was over. Highly recommend this!!Published 4 days ago by purple glitter
I've been a fan of Patricia C Wrede for many year. Mostly because of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Read morePublished 1 month ago by raven_writer
Interesting story. Starts out slow, but really picks up by the end. I'll be reading the next book soon.Published 7 months ago by C. Alton
This was such an interesting concept ! I love the pioneering magicking settlers. This book was mostly setting up for the second I think as there was a lot more information and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lauren M
Patricia Wrede's "Enchanted Forest Chronicles" are some of my favorite fantasy books, especially the first book, "Dealing With Dragons. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kenya Starflight
What a great idea to mix magic with the old west. So many stories are about Salem and all that entailed. Refreshing and great characters that you love or hate.Published 9 months ago by Andrea DeChant
I picked up Thirteenth Child purely based on the deep purple and interesting design on the cover. I can even tell you where, but that isn't as important. Read morePublished 10 months ago by t'Sade
Patricia Wrede has created a wonderful world in which native wild magic is everywhere, and various systems of magic are used by people to do everyday tasks and protect themselves... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Sheila Ary
I quite liked this series. It's a coming of age story that particularly applies to young women.Published 12 months ago by Paula Goodlett