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The Wizards of Once based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
AudioBook Review Stars: Overall 4 Narration 5 Story 4 Welcome to the world of Once: where the Warrior clan and the Wizard clan have been at odds for as long as anyone can remember, no one even knows the reasons why. The Wizard clam is a repository for all things magical, the Warrior clan hates everything magical, branding it dangerous and deadly and ‘not quite right’. Between the two kingdoms is the forest, named the Badwoods. A dangerous place where the now-extinct witches once lived, a looming place of darkness and shadows, forbidden to the children of both clans. But Xar, son of the King of the Wizards and Wish, daughter of the Queen of the Warriors are nothing if not different from their parents. Xar is still without his magic, even though he should have his powers before now – with a headstrong and rather arrogant air, he’s determined to capture a witch with a feather he found, unconvinced that they are gone, and plans to take the magic for himself. On the other side there is Wish, tiny and rather unimpressive with an eye-patch, an assistant bodyguard with narcolepsy, a pet spoon (yes, you read that right) and a sword that she ‘claimed’ from the floor in the hall, a sword of iron with an inscription and some rather unusual powers. With Wish’s mother the enemy of al things magical, and her spoon in danger of having it’s magic removed, she’s just unwilling to accept the “this is the ways it has always been”, or follow the many rules, despite the fact that she is desperate for her mother’s approval. These two, with a cast of supporting characters including Xar’s raven Caliburn who is constantly trying to insert caution and sense into Xar, the giant Crusher – a vegetarian who is prone to thinking “big thoughts’ and not particularly fierce unless you are a snacking tree, the sprites from Xar’s camp – with their rather bloodthirsty mob mentality and Bodkin, the assistant bodyguard for wish who may as well be reciting the rules to an empty room as Wish rarely, if ever, listens to his advice. Narration for this book is provided by David Tennant, and if you’ve never listened to an audiobook, this is the one to try. There’s nothing like immersing yourself in the story with voices for each character being distinct and unique, the slight Scottish burr that carries through adding a ‘fairy tale-like’ impression to the story, and the lovely changes as the narrator of the story provides a bit of insight, moves the plot along, and often adds snarky commentary, description and some clever moments that deliver (or not) the message. Tennant is one of my all-time favorite narrators, his ability to enhance the story with a sense of joy in the words and events as they unfold, keeping listeners engaged and wanting more. With a cliffhanger ending that leaves plenty of room for more development and change for the two clans, not to mention Xar and Wish, and the much put-upon Bodkin trying to make sense out of his ever-errant charge and her inability to acknowledge, let alone follow, the rules he’s so fond of reciting, the moments and lessons come subtly but all have to do with understanding and learning about the world in which you live before you accept or allow fear of new and different to constrain your actions. Perfect for a road trip or those rainy (or snowy) housebound afternoons – this Odyssey Award Honoree recording is not to be missed.
This was a lovely little story about two kids, Xar and Wish, a wizard and a warrior, respectively. Wizards and warriors are sworn enemies, which of course initially pits Xar and Wish against each other as their prejudices and conditioning made them hate each other on principle. But they’re more alike than they realize. They’re both a child of the royalty of their clans, and neither of them is very skilled: Xar has no magic, and Wish is too scrawny and gentle to make a good warrior. Their paths are crossed by happenstance one day, but that’s enough time for them to become unwittingly entangled in an adventure together. As they both travel along this journey, they learn more about themselves as well as the world around them, and slowly come to realize that perhaps their parents had been wrong about the proclamation that wizards and warriors are sworn enemies and that members of the opposite clan are always evil. The characters are cute and charming, though Xar got on my nerves. He’s extremely arrogant and full of himself, even though he has hardly done anything to warrant his ego. He’s always trying to spin things to his own advantage, and he will lie his way through any situation so that he comes out on top. He is the epitome of toxic masculinity in the making, unfortunately. His character is what knocked this book down a star. Wish, on the other hand, was my favorite character. She’s so sweet and kind, but with a fiery personality that is a good match for Xar’s obnoxious one. While this book is most certainly intended for pre-teens, it was a charming, quick little story that I had fun reading.