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THE MAGICIAN OF HOAD by Margaret Mahy

THE MAGICIAN OF HOAD

By Margaret Mahy

Age Range: 15 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7807-7
Publisher: McElderry

Abstraction and surrealism pull this fantasy almost all the way into the adult section. Heriot, a farmboy, wrestles with nightmare-like visions. They alienate him from his family, but when a King’s Lord claims Heriot as the King’s Magician, he runs away, wishing to stay home. Nevertheless he reaches the King’s city and becomes the Magician anyway, beginning a multi-pronged exploration of fate and inevitability. Fascinatingly, Hoad’s two power positions, King and Hero, are each both a human man and a mythical symbol. These living icons supposedly keep the land stable but actually inspire murderous ambition. Action unfolds slowly; Heriot spends from age 12 to his mid-20s seeking what he’s meant to be, which, when finally realized, is anticlimactic. A tight misery plagues the handful of main characters, and their emotional alienation may distance readers who struggle to understand the many unexplained images. (Readers may also be puzzled to see Heriot, described as a copper-skinned, black-haired boy in the text, depicted as a brown-haired, light-skinned boy on the cover.) Some deep and quenching revelations arrive, finally, but this poetically cryptic prose is for readers who prefer adult fare. (Fantasy. 15 & up)