OF MICE AND MAGIC by David Farland


Book One, Ravenspell
Age Range: 10 - 12
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This facile but uninspired fantasy pits a young sorcerer and her newfound familiar against Nightwing, an evil wizard who usually takes the form of a tattooed bat, but started out as Edgar Allan Poe and still loves to recite snatches of his own poetry. Alone, Amber the mouse is a weak magician, but she turns mighty indeed when she can tap the manna of Ben Ravenspell, an otherwise ordinary human lad. In the course of the tale, Ben goes from boy to mouse to tick, and back to mouse, as Nightwing swoops down, glibly plays on his loyalties and carries him off to power the creation of an evil army of Conqueror Worms made by combining eagles with rattlesnakes. Surviving various threats and wrestling with her own conflicting feelings about Ben, Amber scurries to the rescue; Nightwing comes to a bad end (or seems to), but no doubt Amber and Ben will find new foes to fight in future episodes. Farland tries to disguise an earnest play on themes of friendship and identity with a tongue-in-cheek overlay, but despite his track record in adult fantasy, the result here is just a muddle. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-57734-918-0
Page count: 276pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2005