The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

I think this was the most beautiful book of 2017; the combo of purple and copper foil is stunning. I didn’t realise it was by the author of How To Train Your Dragon (or that that was a book) but it is one of my favourite films, so I was expecting good things. 

From the blurb:

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

Wizard boy, Xar, should have come in to 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 …

Xar is arrogant, rude, thoughtless and very selfish. Despite being a wizard with no magic, he believes himself to be a “boy of destiny” (refers to himself as such) and will do anything to make a name for himself as a hero. Xar disobeys his father and leads his friends into mortal peril, without seeming to care. 

When Xar crosses paths with Wish, a small, shy and frankly strange warrior princess both of their destinies are changed.  

Wish is very caring, but also has a bit of a stubborn streak. She is (in the loosest sense of the word) kidnapped by Xar, who steals losing her mother’s ancient powerful sword. 

Wish’s mum wants to wipe out magic, Xar’s dad wants to kill the warriors. The two children are supposed to hate each other, and yet find themselves on an epic adventure of discovery… It’s sort of the Romeo & Juliet friendship of a Neil Gaiman-esque world. 

The illustrations are so imaginative and creepy, the sprites – especially Squeezjoos are so adorable, and I love the little extra touches, like pages from Xar’s spell book, and mood drawings of the enchanted spoon. It’s just a lovely book and I highly recommend it. 

I gave The Wizards of Once 5 stars on Goodreads. 

Let me know fantasy book recommendations in the comments below. 


Stephani Xx

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