Today’s Team review is from Jessie, she blogs at http://behindthewillows.com
Jessie has been reading The Magician’s Workshop by Christopher Hansen and J.R Fehr.
Having loved fantasy for many years I’m often startled by people who complain about books that dump them into a new world without explaining things. Personally, jumping headfirst into a new mysterious world is one of my favorite ways to start a book. But the authors of The Magician’s Workshop understand that not everyone (particularly young readers) may enjoy such a thing. So they start with a bit of a disclaimer as the preface, likening trying a new book to starting summer camp. It might seem scary and uncertain, and you might not know if you’ll like it but you should try it because chances are good you will love it!
Sadly, no doubt because Mom suggested she read it, it didn’t sway my daughter.
Which is too bad because, for a young girl who likes reading books with magic in them, I still think she’d like this one.
The Magician’s Workshop dumps you straight into a pile of characters living in their crazy island world where everyone can work magic. And as the characters go about life projecting magic images, flavors and smells, the authors slowly start to introduce some of the difficulties that come in such a fantastical world. What do you think? Would you bother eating real fruit if you could eat something that tasted like fruit instead?
Would I recommend it? For a magic loving pre-teen/teen audience these books could be just the ticket. And, although I have no credentials to back it up, (remember me? I’m a woman with three daughters) I think that boys would really like these books too. Fair warning, as it says in the beginning, this is the first of a series of books that is more like a television series. Which is true, at the end there is no real conclusion or even a cliff hanger, just a fade out until you start the next book (which is okay because volume two is available on Amazon already!).
Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.
Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.
Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.
Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.
About the authors
The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday. “Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all the time and all around us, if you know where to look for them.” Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris began searching for this magic, prepared to be surprised and amazed by it. And he was: he found Wonder! Now he’s chosen to write stories about it.
When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.