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The Magician’s Daughter

THE MAGICIAN’S DAUGHTER by H.G. Parry from @orbitbooks #BookReview #Fantasy


 Orbit Books. p/b. £9.99.

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.

The front cover for the Magician's Daughter. There is the white outline of a woman's profile. She has yellow spike like rays coming out of her head. There is the image of a bird in flight around her hair which is tied up in a bun. At the bottom of the page is the black outline of a rabbit.

1912. Biddy has lived on the island of Hy-Brasil as long as she can remember, with only the magician, Rowan, and his rabbit familiar, Hutchinson, for company. Her seventeenth birthday is approaching, and Biddy wants nothing more than to be able to leave the island and see the world, just like Rowan does every night while she worries and waits for his return. If only Biddy herself could leave the island and take to the wing just like her guardian does. If only she could use magic just like he does.

The world is running out of magic, and what little remains is kept under close control by the Council, which includes former colleagues and friends of Rowan who now number him as an enemy. Biddy may get her wish, but like the favours granted by the púca, it may not turn out quite as she imagined.

Once again, in the middle of the night, she heard Rowan slip out of the castle. He should be back by now; he is always back by now. The time ticks on, and the magician is still gone. Hutchinson’s fears are evident. Perhaps this time, Rowan will not return. What will become of Biddy if he does not?

The Magician’s Daughter is a sweet, coming-of-age YA story that is perfect for a summer evening read. The characterisation is well embedded, and even Hutch, the rabbit familiar who can only speak to Biddy when he takes on his human form, is solidly conceived, his importance in Biddy’s journey clear to the reader. The pace is slow, allowing time for Biddy’s internal conflicts and apprehension to be laid out and for the wider world and its key characters to be crafted.

Like in previous works, Parry takes care to place a fondness for literature on the page and praises its complexity, its beauty and its ability to take the reader into other worlds and other people’s worlds. There are elements of the story that feel reassuringly familiar. These are dotted among the unique elements to round off what is a touching and nostalgic story. Above all, it is perhaps a story of hope, and that is the overriding feeling the reader is left with at the end.

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