This is the second Archie Book and just as thrilling to read as the first. We know that Archie had been told that his parents had died, but when he turned twelve, a Magical Book arrived at his grandmother’s house for him. This was when he found out that his parents had wanted him protected from magic for as long as possible, but now he discovered that he had cousins and a new family. He is taken to live with them and to begin his magical training.
In this book, after many adventures in the first book, Archie begins the second year of his apprenticeship, at Oxford. He attends the Museum of Magical Miscellany, which is found Under the Bodleian Library, and he has completed one year as a book binder. He was branded by a firemark when he first arrived, and given to Old Zeb to be trained. He attends the Museum with his cousins Thistle and Bramble.
This year the cousins discover a Book Fayre is coming to the museum, and it contains many magic books so everyone is determined to seek out a treasure. Archie had been quietly working with Old Zeb, when his firemark began to itch. Suddenly a flame jumps from the fire and brands him again. This time the mark is a circle with a dragon’s head swallowing the tail. This denotes that Archie can write magic. The last of these signs was seen several hundred years ago, so it makes him very special. Amazingly, his cousins find the mark upon them as well.
Hundreds of years beforehand, there was a club called the Alchemists Club. It was formed in the same museum, and had always been blamed for starting the Great Fire of London. These Alchemists were known to be able to write magic spells. Archie and his cousins and another apprentice decide to reform the club. There was a great uneasiness in the museum, as the Greaders, or magic thieves, had been at work lately, and it had been noticed that the most powerful of the magic books were beginning to have their writing fade. Archie and his club wanted to be able to help rewrite the books before the spells were lost altogether.
There is so much magic and so many creative ideas in this book, that you can’t help but picture the incidents and people. There is Geoffrey Screech, and the book shop The Aisle of Wight, as well as Majorie Gudge, in charge of the non-magical books.
So many enjoyable moments and ideas, and language to keep the young reader more than engaged. The magic is carefully explained, and puzzles are gradually solved to the satisfaction of all the magicians.
|Author||D. D. Everest, illustrated by James de la Rue|
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin|