#Middlegrade #Fantasy My #Bookreview of The Magpie King by M J Fahy

The Magpie KingThe Magpie King by M.J. Fahy

3 stars

The Magpie King is a middle-grade fantasy tale aimed at readers aged between nine and thirteen years old.

Tatty Moon is a faerie who lives with her family in a willow tree in Little Upham. Her best friend is Will Patch, an elf. Together they have an adventure which involves evil birds, a faerie gone bad, and a queen who sends them on a quest.

The story has a mix of nature spirits and human adults in an old-fashioned style country setting. It included many ideas that were familiar to me, from classic children’s books: a fall down a hole, magic shrinking powder, a lightning bolt and a scar. I wondered if it may have been written with a specific set of readers in mind, maybe as an homage to those favourite stories. A nice idea, and, if so, it might be an idea to allude to this in an introduction. There is always a danger when including favourite elements from other works into your own that comparisons will be made by readers. If this has been done unintentionally, I would suggest the author modify some of the ideas.

This is a long story and has a lot of characters and secondary storylines. As such, I thought it may not suit some younger readers of the age group. In other areas, much of the dialogue is written using a regional dialect and, at times, dated jargon.  I think this was overdone; just a sprinkling would have been enough.

Feasibility even in fantasy is one of the areas of editing that needs consideration, as is awareness of one’s target audience.  One character rides a much loved Chopper bike. As these were popular in the 1970s (almost fifty years ago), I think the detail of the whole incident with the bike is going to be missed by today’s young reader.

Overall a story with some good elements, but perhaps could use with some slimming and a little more thought, particularly with the dialogue style.

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Book description

Tatty Moon must rid Little Upham of magpies, rampaging Gnomes, and the Queen’s ambitious nephew. Not easy when you’re only three-and-a-bit inches tall! Will anybody help? …Perhaps. (Book One in the Tatty Moon series.) A children’s fantasy story aimed at Middle Grade (9 years and upward) readers.

About the author

M.J. Fahy lives on the south coast of England and writes and illustrates middle grade fiction from a writing shed in her garden. She is married with two adult children, two dogs and a deaf cat.

M.J. Fahy

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