Thirteenth Child : Frontier Magic

  • by Patricia C. Wrede
  • Narrated by Amanda Ronconi
  • Series: Frontier Magic
  • 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

#1 New York Times best-selling author Pat Wrede returns to Scholastic with an amazing new trilogy about the use of magic in the wild, wild west.
Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent - and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.
With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternate history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

History, Magic, Teens, & Not An Inkling of Romance

First of all, Thirteenth Child's lack of romance is extremely refreshing. There are a lot of YA series out there with strong female leads, and there's almost always a romance in there... but not here. Maybe in the later books.

Eff isn't unique in her tomboy-ish characteristics; that's a familiar trope in modern YA literature, but she's more Laura Ingalls or Jo March than Katniss Everdeen. She's remarkably normal for a world full of magic - then again, this is a world where magic is seen as a given, and its the Revisionists (affirmed non-magic users) are seen as radical.

Wrede writes a world that makes no bones about life with magic being easier, and finds suitable, unexpected consequences for that magic. Magic in Columbia isn't opposite of nature, it's an instrinic part of it - and as our environment adapts and changes with our use of it, so the magic does in Eff's world.

Amanda Ronconi is a fine narrator, and I liked what she did with Eff's character and did adore the voices she chose for the men - particularly Wash, a character who appears about 2/3 of the way through the book. I don't know if it was a specific choice on her part, but she made Eff and Lan's voice relatively similar (they're twins!) and I liked that. Otherwise, the narration was a little slow, but it suited the tone of the story.

Overall, the plot isn't particularly surprising or exciting, but it's a solid tale with good world creation, and fleshed-out characters. I was able to stop and start listening with relative ease... I think it took me about two weeks to go through it, listening for a few hours every couple of days. It was easy to fall back into the story, and Amanda Ronconi helped with that familiarity a lot.
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- Erin - Audible

Steam Dragons!!

Missed it by that much.
Patricia invents an interesting alternate world, which supposedly has dire wolves, steam dragons, mammoths, wooly rhinos, sphinx, sabre cats and more. This universe has glimpses of Card's Seventh Son and Sanderson's The Rithmathist. The problem, as with a lot of teen books, is the writing style. The writing is similar to a little kid writing a letter. Hi, I am fine, how are you? The book supposedly has all the animals mentioned above, but with the exception of a run in with a mammoth and a dead steam dragon, we just hear they exist, they take no part in the story. Lots of the story is just tedious things, that could be going on in anybody's life.

What I did like.
This book is pro parents, school and teachers. The parents in this book, especially the mom are the best part. The mom is extremely level headed (unless you think she should quit having children.) The teachers are positive and challenge the students. School is looked at as something important. I also listened to the whole book, which I often don't do with a book that is not five star material.

Amanda Ronconi
I didn't feel that Amanda was all in for this reading. At times she sounded rather drool. The first few chapters, it sounded like she was mad at somebody. At other times it sounded like she was enjoying her work. I especially liked her voice for the teacher. It reminded me of one of the regular women on NPR.

Teen books and or children books
I have a real problem with this category. It seems that if the writing is substandard and the main character is young, then it is automatically put in this category. Sanderson, Card and others have shown that you can write books aimed at a younger crowd and have them still be exciting, interesting reads, that even adults will like. An editor should have made PW go back and put more life into this book.

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- Jim "The Impatient"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-05-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios