Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell


“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 something forbidden, something magical, and she will do anything to conceal it. When stars collide, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they are ever going to make it to the hidden dungeons at Warrior fort…where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring…”

-Synopsis from inside front cover


Cover image from StoryGraph

Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell is book one in the Wizards of Once series which contains four books total. It is a middle grade fantasy novel, which my library cataloged as children’s, though it’s almost four hundred pages long.

I picked this up because I was looking for something light to read the other week and this sounded like a fun fantasy novel. I was familiar with Cressida Cowell through the How to Train Your Dragon movie series, but I had never read her books. Based on how much I liked this movies, I had a pretty good feeling that I would enjoy her writing style, too, which I did very much!

The story is told through alternating perspectives at first as we meet Xar and Wish before their paths cross in the forest. Xar is trying to catch a witch so he can steal its magic. Xar is thirteen years-old and should have had his magic come in by now, but since it hasn’t, he is desperate to find some to steal. Accompanying him are a ragtag team of magical creatures including sprites, a talking crow, and snowcats.

Wish, who is also thirteen, and making her way into the forest so she can protect a magical item that she has discovered, before her mother, the Warrior Queen destroys it. She is accompanied by her Assistant Bodyguard, Bodkin. Warriors destroy magic and fear it, while Wizards embrace it as a part of their lives. That is the main divide between the two groups and why Xar and Wish dislike each other so much when they first meet.

The story is being told by an unnamed narrator who hints from time to time that the reader might be able to guess who they are if they pay close enough attention. The identity was hinted at numerous time and I suspect it will be revealed in a later book.

Even though I am not the target audience for this book, I thought it was delightful. There are lots of illustrations by Cressida Cowell featured in each chapter which I thought was a nice addition to the story. I don’t know yet if or when I will read the next book, though there were a lot of revelations at the end of this story that I think would make a reader want to continue the series.

This was a fun read for something different and I’m glad I chose it!

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