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Reviewed by Savarna Yang
Opening sentence
Rowan had left the island again last night.
For as long as she can remember, Biddy has lived on Hy-Brasil, a wild and magical island hidden away from the rest of the world. And in her entire 16-odd-years, Biddy has only ever known two people: Rowan, the enigmatic magician who has cared for Biddy from the day he found her washed up on the shore of the island, and Hutch, Rowan’s rabbit familiar. For a long time, it’s been enough. But Biddy knows that outside her secluded and peaceful life lie things waiting for her to experience and discover. The only question is; why won’t Rowan let her leave the island?

When Rowan gets caught in terrible danger, Biddy must take matters into her own hands and face a world she’s never known to save him. But her journey will force her to realise that everything she’s ever known about herself and her life may not be quite as she thought.

The Magician’s Daughter by H.G Parry is a gripping historical fantasy novel that captivated me from start to finish. The characters, the world, the plot and the setting all seamlessly work together to create a story that is hard to leave behind.

I have to start off with how much I loved the characters – whether they were on the ‘good’ side or the ‘bad’ side, they had me invested in their actions and stories. I think that a key reason the characters in The Magician’s Daughter are so successful is because they all have a perfect mix of vulnerability and strength. Biddy, the protagonist, is such an easy character to feel close to. She’s funny and clever and full of courage but she still has flaws which makes her relatable. Rowan is caring and brave but also stubborn and reckless. Hutch is loyal and a little bit overprotective. Morgaine is kind and persevering although she sometimes hesitates before acting. And though I can’t talk about all the characters in the Magician’s Daughter, I have to mention Storm, who is such a complex character you can feel anger, hate, pity and empathy for him in the space of a single page.

I’m a big fan of historical fiction, so The Magician’s Daughter immediately appealed to me, but I think it’s a novel that many people could find something to enjoy in. There’s the beautifully crafted fantasy world that is original and memorable. There’s the storyline that is full of tension and excitement and emotion. There’s the realistic portrayal of life in early 1900s London (excluding the magic parts of course, although, who knows?). And of course, there are the characters who I mentioned before. I also think that anyone from 10 years old could enjoy The Magician’s Daughter – although Biddy is in her teens, I think the plot would still be suitable and relatable for younger readers, and even adults looking for a casual read.

Overall, I really loved The Magician’s Daughter and I’m keen to read more books by the author in the future!

- Savarna Yang is 14 and lives in Dunedin.
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 9780316383707
Format: Paperback
Publication: 2023
Ages: 13+
Themes: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction