Title: Septimus Heap, Book Five: Syren
Author: Angie Sage, illustrated by Mark Zug
Release Date: September 2009
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Age Range: Children’s
Synopsis/Teaser: Septimus Heap, recently returned from his Queste, is determined to retrieve Nicko, Snorri, Jenna, and Beetle, who never made it back to the Castle after the adventure. Departing on his dragon, Spit Fyre, Septimus finds his friends and family. He ends up stranded on an enchanting, beautiful island with a badly injured Spit Fyre, as well as Jenna and Beetle. There are some odd, strange things about the island, including a mysterious, eery presence that sings to Septimus, beckons and calls. Will he escape the tug and be able to return home?
Review: So. Another Septimus Heap book. That was my general reaction when I first spotted this one on the shelf. Sure, I was excited to read it and all, but I couldn’t help but wonder: When is Angie Sage going to stop? The appeal of the story is starting to stretch thin. Is Sage simply doing it for fans, or does she truly believe that the tale of young Septimus has more to go? I’m more inclined toward the former answer. The series website features flashy, interactive animations and games. You can “register” so that the points you earn playing the games can go toward winning a prize. Sounds like she’s trying to keep readers eager, so that she can keep writing and adding adventures to our hero’s life.
But overall, this was a good book. Laugh-out-loud adventure, as always, follows Septimus wherever he goes.
Which leads us on to our next review topic: the protagonist himself. As this post title suggests, I’m starting to notice Septimus getting on his high horse. Having been the first ever apprentice to complete the perilous Queste is enough to make someone think highly of himself. But, to add to it, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand has promoted him to Senior Apprentice (the youngest ever, at 12 or 13). Septimus is starting to get on my nerves. No longer the would-be orphaned underdog, he can be pompous and rather temperamental. As an added bonus, it seems that he’s above average in all things Magyckal and Physikal. I was rather guiltily satisfied to find, in the fourth book, that he is afraid of heights! At last, a human quality!
Overall Rating: 3.5, leaning more to 4, out of 5 stars