Harry Potter, watch out. That's what one of my local librarians said as she shoved this book into my hand, and you know what? She has a point. Nobody can dethrone the Harry series from top of my list, but this series is fantastic. It is about a boy, but that is from there it takes a totally different direction than the Potter series, spinning out delightfully different tales in each book, but connecting them all together with the same central characters and setting. If you love a good fantasy series that sucks you in and leaves you wanting more, here it is.
This is really the story of the Heap family, two poor wizards and their children who live in the "Ramblings", a ramshackle collection of apartments and such inside the castle walls of a kingdom which has been somewhat lost since the queen died a decade earlier. This is a world of magic (magyk), but one in which wizards must study to gain their skill, and in which wizards are not as respected as they once were. In this book we encounter a lost (and found) princess, a fashion-conscious Extraordinary Wizard, an ex-soldier called Boy 412, a witty message rat, a white witch who loves boiled cabbage, an extraordinary boat, and so much more. I can't believe how much good stuff is packed into these pages.
The funny thing about this book is, you spend the whole time wondering who the heck this Septimus Heap person is, and you don't find out until the very end. That doesn't take away from anything though, and the author provides plenty of memorable characters, both good and bad. It is a thrilling series that will have you laughing, cheering, and rushing to the library or bookstore for the next book.