Avis Blackthorn's family is the most evil family in all of the Seven Magical Kingdoms. The problem? Avis isn't evil. Not one bit. His magical wizarding family will do anything to make Avis's life a misery. Even the horses that pull the carriages don't like him. But he has a way out at last... Hailing Hall School for Wizards, a sanctuary, a place for good wizards, where he can make some nice, normal friends, learn magic and live a normal life, finally escaping the notoriety of the Blackthorn name... or so he thinks. That's where the real adventure - humorous, haunting and mysterious - begins. Come along with Avis as he tries desperately to prove he isn't evil like his family. And join tall, thin, bespectacled Robin and accident-prone Hunter, Avis's friends from the Outside - the same world as yours, in fact - as they discover Wizard's Spider Soap, the wizarding sport of Riptide and even the ghosts that do the laundry! Of course, in a magic school full of teenage wizards there will always be drama. But stranger things are brewing and Avis finds himself at the center of it after spotting Malakai - the most evil sorcerer around and his parents' employer - coming into the school in the dead of night. Avis wonders why, and why will no one believe him? The mysterious, beautiful Tina might know why. When Avis and Robin spot her creeping round in the dead of night, she tells them about the quest and a thrilling mystery unfolds. Yet, everything goes horribly wrong for Avis. After being accused of something terrible, he is ostracized from his friends and lives high up in the clock tower. Everyone thinks he's evil, just like his family... Avis must uncover the biggest of quests with the help of Tina and Robin and finally prove once and for all, that he is a good wizard....
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A new British Boy Wizard with his own great story.
I was very impressed. The narrator has great versatility and clearly loves playing all the different characters. He made the story totally come to life and I really enjoyed his performance.
It would be impossible not to compare the series to Harry Potter... but it does a marvelous job of carving out it's own worthy niche in this genre. Avis is kind of a anti-Harry... He's kind of like the black sheep of the Malfoy family. The storyline is original and very well developed - and there is the groundwork for a very rich cast of characters. I'm looking forward to finding out a lot more about Avis' parents.
He doesn't just narrate - he brings the book to life and plays all of the characters with great specificity and a wonderful range of accents and color. It's a delightful performance.
Born to Be Bad... but failing at it.
If you enjoy books like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter - I really recommend you give this series a try. Simmonds is a strong writer and I am optomistic this series will continue to get even better and better.
Loved it and didn't think I would!
Hogwarts has competition :)
Here's the thing... I really thought this was just going to be an unoriginal rip-off of JK Rowling... but it wan't at all. Yes it's set in a school for Wizards - but I learned it's kind of like saying Dead Poet's Society and Goodbye Mr. Chips are the same because they are set in a boarding school. These characters are original and engaging and the story arc had me totally engaged. It's a great set up to a series that might just fill a magical void in my life since Potter finished.
I really liked Ernie the ghost - but Froomkin does a fabulous job voicing all of the characters. He's incredibly versatile and he truly performs the story, bringing all of the characters to life.
I was pretty caught up in the climax of the story - and I was delighted to learn that book two is on it's way!
If you're a Potter fan I really encourage you to give these characters a try. I'll bet you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy. I had great reservations - and I'm so happy that I've discovered Avis.