The Wizards of Once: Book 1

The Wizards of Once: Book 1

The Wizards of Once: Book 1
Cressida Cowell

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444936704

From the bestselling author of How to Train Your Dragon comes an exciting high-adventure series - set in an ancient, magical time, full of Wizards, Warriors, Giants and Sprites. #1 Sunday Times Bestseller Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide. Perfect for boys and girls who love fantasy adventure... Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests. Until the Warriors came... Xar is a Wizard boy who has no Magic, and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns a banned Magical Object, and she will do anything to conceal it. In this whirlwind adventure, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they're going to make it to the dungeons at Warrior Fort. Where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring...

Librarian's Book choice

Once there was a boy who had been brought up as a Wizard, believing that all Warriors are bad. However, Xar (the wizard) had no magic - and would do anything to get some.

Once there was a girl who was a warrior - people who believed that ALL magic was bad and should be destroyed. However, Wish (the warrior) owned a magical object that she really didn't want to give up - and she wasn't a very good warrior.

Once there was a book which was full of fantasy, adventure and humour! Thrown together by chance, Wish and Xar are each misfits in their own worlds. Xar is taunted for his lack of magical ability; Wish constantly fails to live up to her mother's high expectations of perfection. Through knowing each other, these two very different characters - Xar is arrogant and self-centred wheras Wish is loyal and caring - learn so much about themselves, forming an unusual alliance and friendship.

Cressida Cowell creates a fantastic world populated with fabulous characters and creatures. The narrator's voice is witty and engaging, interjecting comments and observations - and keeping the reader guessing which character they might be!

The story is full of sketchy drawings by Cressida Cowell, liberally illustrating the story and adding to the humour. The Wizards of Once is a series set to be just as wonderful and popular as her earlier How to Train Your Dragon series.

384 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.


The Wizards of Once: Book 15/5

The Wizards of Once: Book 1

Cressida Cowell


My review copy of Cressida Cowell's The Wizards of Once was barely out of its packaging when an eager Year 5 reader, desperate to read it, asked whether she could borrow it first. She devoured it in two days flat and declared it to be 'entrancing and mysterious'. How right she was!

In The Wizards of Once, two young misfits from enemy tribes, Xar and Wish, find themselves thrown together when they both stray into the mysterious and terrifying Badwoods accompanied by a philosophising giant, several snowcats, a talking raven, numerous ill-tempered sprites and an enchanted spoon. This chance meeting sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to unleash a dark and menacing force that has been lying dormant for hundreds of years. The ensuing adventure will delight, amuse, enthral and chill in equal measure as we follow our two unlikely heroes as they undertake the mission of a lifetime.

I fell in love with the characters in this story from the very outset. Xar, despite his inability to perform magic as would the expected from the son of Encanzo the King Enchanter, is delightfully self-confident. He is also reckless, stubborn and distinctly lacking in empathy, however I challenge any reader not to love him. Like Xar, Wish is also struggling to win parental approval. She is the daughter of the Warrior Queen and yet she does not appear to have so much as a warrior bone in her body. While warriors are imposing, bold and fierce, Wish is small, wispy and accident-prone yet, as you may have guessed already, there is more to Wish than meets the eye.

The world that Cressida Cowell has crafted, both through word and picture, is one that captivates the reader from the start. Like all the very best fantasy fiction, it sweeps you up into a wonderful new world that you long to visit yourself. I especially enjoyed hearing the voice of the Unknown Narrator throughout the story and it was intriguing to wonder to which of the cast of characters this voice belonged. Perhaps we will find out in the next instalment? I for one can't wait!

384 pp / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Emily Marcuccilli, School Librarian

Reviewed by: Emily Marcuccilli