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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.
©2009 Patricia C. Wrede (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Erin - Audible on 07-12-13

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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37 of 37 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Gail Wood on 04-10-14

Wild Magic in the Wild West

Any additional comments?

Eff is the twin sister of the seventh son of a seventh son. She is also a thirteenth born. In this alternate universe just after the War of Secession, birth order is an important factor in this world where magic and ordinary live in uncomfortable partnership. From her birth, members of the family point out everything bad as her fault and are waiting for her to turn evil. She begins to believe it. In contrast, her brother's exalted magical status makes him lucky and magical beyond belief.

When the twins are five years old, their father gets a job as a professor of a college on the western frontier. Their father, a professor of magic, is an exciting addition to this college. The twins and the other siblings grow up and flourish in this environment. Eff learns confidence, makes friends, and learns to think through the negative message about her birth order.

There are lots of adventures and explorations in this entertaining novel of a world and history not-quite-ours.

This was an audio book and the narrator did a wonderful job capturing the different accents, genders, and the character of Eff.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By susan on 08-02-15

Origional, interesting & unexpected

If you could sum up Thirteenth Child in three words, what would they be?

Magical Alternate America

What was one of the most memorable moments of Thirteenth Child?

They were all pretty memorable, the main characters magical development, the alternate world & the alternate world's creatures were what had me hooked & that obviously was the whole book :)

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Totally, Imhad to stop because I was so exhausted I was feeling sick & it turns out I was seconds away from the end of the book. I basically listened to the whole thing in one day

Any additional comments?

If you are a fan of alternate histories or of steampunk or even Urban Fantasy I'm pretty sure you are going to like this. Setting it on the frontier means rhat it isn't really any of those genres but it feels like all of them & is amazingly well done. I wouldn't be surprised if this book inspires a whole genre of magic on the frontier alternate history book.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kelly on 03-11-15

A great adventure

What did you like most about Thirteenth Child?

I had completely forgotten about this series, Patricia C. Wrede was one of my favourite authors as a teenager and it was great to be immersed in a new series of hers [though it's a few years before I got to listen to it]

What was one of the most memorable moments of Thirteenth Child?

Eff finding a place she could become herself and not the Thirteenth Child, seeing her character develop over this book.

Have you listened to any of Amanda Ronconi’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Completely didn't realise that I have listened to other audible titles from Amanda, a good narrator and picks up the frontier dialect with ease.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Readalot on 02-17-17

Enjoyable

Would you listen to Thirteenth Child again? Why?

Yes, I probably will

Who was your favorite character and why?

Eff and Miss Ochiba were both standouts for me. Not sure if that is spelled properly, as I heard it rather than read it.

Have you listened to any of Amanda Ronconi’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I think this was the first.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No, it was a solid, level story

Any additional comments?

I found the carry-on about being a 13th child a little over done, and some of the terms were long enough to slow down the reading. This is probably personal, though. I like to hear things as quickly as I can read them and I think my eyes cover eight-syllable terms faster than my ears.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Amy on 04-17-15

Excellently crafted, beautifully read.

A beautifully crafted and engaging story read with tone and inflection that made you feel as if you were there.

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