#43. The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic by Cressida Cowell

Witches are creating havoc in the Wildwoods and danger lurks behind every tree trunk.

Wish is in possession of a powerful, Magic Spelling Book; Xar has a dangerous Witchstain on his hand. Together they can save the Wildwoods from the curse of the Witches but they are separated by the highest wall imaginable, and time is running out …

It was unlikely that these heroes should meet in the first place. Is it possible they are destined to meet TWICE?

Paperback | 384 pages.

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books (13 Jun. 2019)

Read: 31st May, 2020.

Age Range (if applicable): 9-11 years.

It’s been a while since I finished reading the first book and I took quite a big break before coming back to this second book. I am excited to continue Xar and Wish’s journey and hope that Xar has grown up a little. Cowell’s talent for writing children’s books is a given and I can’t wait to dive back in.

This was very easy to read, and I found it so magical and adventurous that I wanted to read as much as I could, as quickly as I could.

Xar has not changed! HA! I thought maybe he would have but he is still slightly annoying, overly adventurous, and has an ego the size of the moon. I read Xar with a mixture of amusement and irritation, but his character is growing on me and I do see him making an improvement and growing in the right direction. I think his arrogance is well justified growing up as a wizard without magic. I think anyone would be the same, purposefully bigging up the rest of life to drown out the obvious failure.

I do think that Xar does the best with the life he has been given. He’s carved a path out for himself and is fully committed to following it through to the end – despite what others around him might think. It must be very hard for him to live in a family where his older brother bullys him and his Father shows only disappointment in him. As the series continues, I’m sure I will see a shift in Xar’s character and a growth that’ll match his personality.

Wish has grown in confidence since the last book and is more eager to speak her mind and stand up for herself, which is a welcome improvement. She has become braver and more inclined to use magic, rather than take a step back and listen to the voices of others. Her talent with magic is very obvious but I enjoyed how she rose to the occasion and didn’t necessarily let Xar bask in all the glory. She held her own and she carved out a journey for herself.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Wish as the series continues for there is a lot of ways her journey to take and a lot of paths her character could evolve upon.

I feel like Bodkin has evolved a lot in this book and become a little more reserved and adult. He definitely fainted a lot less in this book. He acts as the voice of reason between Xar and Wish in a way that Caliburn the raven, cannot be heard. Bodkin has learnt to take everything in his stride and though he’s still very fearful and scared, his loyalty to Wish is endearing.

It was quite easy to visualise this, and the book has some beautiful illustrations.

It had been such a long time since I read the first book that I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this second instalment. Cowell has such talent with her writing that it is impossible not to fall right into the trap of storytelling and stay absorbed till the end. My irritation over Xar’s ego and arrogance is tempered by Cowell’s way of writing, in that it comes across as humorous and as a weakness rather than a character flaw or overwhelming presence. In a different setting, in a different book by a different author I might find the ego and arrogance too much to bear.

Wish has grown into such a hero with her confidence and her bravery. It is compelling to watch her grow and evolve. It is a precarious position she is currently in and it will be interesting, going forward, to see how she deals with that and whether it’ll be a head-on confrontation or a sneak attack from the side.

This book gave me life as I read it and distracted me from a day of napping through unbearable head pain. I loved returning to this universe and these characters and exploring the adventure they were on. I already have the 3rd in the series lined up to read and can’t wait to see what is in store for the characters. I think this will be the last book I get to read in May, so it’s nice to finish on such a high positive note.

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