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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

Published April 15, 2009 by Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover
ISBN 9780545033428
344 Pages
Series? Frontier Magic | #1
Rating: High School
Source: Library
Challenges: 2012

Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent -- and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.

The book starts out with Eff and Lan as five years old. Each chapter is told in a bunch of related snapshots that stand in for a year. They are interesting and I could barely stop reading as I progressed farther into their lives. Eff is the thirteenth child and her aunts and uncles and their considerable amount of children do no plan on letting her forget it. But then at the age of seven they move and she learns that just because she is the thirteenth child born does not mean that there is anything wrong with her.

Or the author just wants us to think that she has learned that because for some reason the fact that she is the thirteenth child just kept cropping up. All of a sudden she could not even do basic magic because she was the thirteenth child. To add the cherry on top it is the fact that she is the thirteenth child that people around her can not work magic properly. I really liked this book. I was just so sick and tired of hearing about something that had clearly been worked out in the first 150 pages of the book only to crop up because it benefited the plot. I heard more about the thirteenth child nonsense than I did about the fact that Lan was the seventh son of the seventh son and that was brought up at least three times every time Lan was even mentioned.

I would probably have been fine if that was the only problem with the book for me. But then there is the fact that nothing seriously happens until the very last chapter. What had kept me reading in the beginning was the feeling that something big was going to happen. I thought that the condensed years were building up for something big. Something fantastic. It was a sometime after the first half of the book that I realized that I was waiting for something that would never come. Nothing happened to Eff it only happened around her. She sees so many interesting things and yet she is never apart of any of it. She is a narrator who just so happens to see things that the people who have an actual part to the story had missed.

A lot of people complain about the fact that their are no Native Americans/ Indians or what ever the politically correct term is. (The reason that I say this is because randomly calling people racist is culturally accepted in California if it is a joke. I can't tell if someone is joking with me or being serious and I really dislike when people jokingly call me racist.) There is magic and dragons and saber cats and mammoths so if you really want a historically correct book complete with the natives drop this book. Just drop it. It is not for you.

Overall despite the very slow and boring as hell parts of the book I think that the the interesting parts do a good job of making up for them.


  1. A narrator who tells other people's stories instead of her own? Well, that's unusual.

    I don't think this one is for me, but I appreciate you sharing your honest thoughts!

    1. Thanks for reading a reviewing my review. I feel so special.

      I am also really happy that I get to use the reply feature again.


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