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Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Book Review: The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell book cover

This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.


Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests.

Wizard boy, Xar, should have come into his magic by now, but he hasn't, so he wants to find a witch and steal its magic for himself. But if he's got any chance of finding one, he will have to travel into the forbidden Badwoods.

Xar doesn't realise he is about to capture an entirely different kind of enemy. A Warrior girl called Wish.

And inside this book, at this very moment, two worlds collide and the fate of the land is changed forever.

Xar and Wish must visit the dungeons at Warrior fort, and face the evil Queen.

But something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring...

You may be familiar with Cressida Cowell from her How to Train Your Dragon series which was the inspiration behind the popular DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon animated films. The Wizards of Once, though, is the first in a brand new series of children's books!

The Wizards of Once has all the ingredients needed for a great fantasy story. Everything from magic and witches to giants, ogres, sprites, and more than its fair share of adventure makes for a fast-paced, action-packed read. 

The storytelling in this book is top-quality; each chapter is brimming with imaginative scenarios, intriguing characters, and a richly-built world. The magical creatures are incredibly diverse and varied, each adding an extra layer to the story. The Warriors' regimented fortress is the exact opposite of the Wizards' forest home. Each page is full of something new to explore and the illustrations make the ideal accompaniment to Cressida Cowell's story.

Xar and Wish, the two main characters, are both similar and dissimilar to one another - yet both feel like outcasts in their own communities and are drawn together by the hand of fate. The pair are sure to excite and inspire young readers planning their own hijinks yet the story also leaves readers with clear morals and messages. 

The Wizards of Once is a fun, fantastical story yet it also has a darker side sure to thrill older readers. The end of the story sets up the perfect cliffhanger for book two and it will be interesting to see how the story develops throughout the rest of the series.

Rating: 3 stars

The Wizards of Once is available to buy now.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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