A couple three weeks back, I posted my Top Five Indie Fantasy Reads as part of the book launch extravaganza for The Seventh Magpie. Come to find out, The Seventh Magpie should probably be on that list. I’m not going to say more because I can’t bear to drop any of the other reads off the list. So I guess I’ve now got a Top Six . 😀
Sometimes you must give up what you value most to gain what you want even more.
Princess Catrin is just a child when her mother vanishes, leaving her a cryptic legacy: a priceless magical book and the warning that if Catrin ever loses it, she’ll surely die. But she is a young woman on the brink of a whole new life when, in a moment of defiance, she forgets that warning and triggers a catastrophe that shatters all her hopes.
Stricken with grief and seeking a way to correct her terrible mistake, Catrin risks everything on a dangerous bargain. Too late, she realizes just how much more she has to lose.
With advice from a half-mad witch and help from companions she meets along the way, Catrin embarks on a desperate quest to defeat seven riddling Magpies–magical tricksters who can shapeshift into anything or anyone–and win back her book or face losing everything she holds dear.
With each step the stakes get higher, and there are secrets she still doesn’t suspect. How much is Catrin willing to sacrifice to finally unmask the Seventh Magpie?
A dark fairy tale of loss and renewal.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Series Type: Standalone
Genre: YA Fantasy / Original Fairy Tale
A lyrically-told fairy tale, poignant and bittersweet to the end, The Seventh Magpie is an exquisite debut by author Nancy Chase. Billed as a tale of “loss and renewal,” this novel offers a story of hope and despair, life and death, intertwined and inseparable by their very nature.
We begin the tale when Princess Catrin is a young child, and witness both her mother’s mysterious and terrible disappearance, and the gifting of a bejeweled golden book to Catrin. Chase expertly takes us through Catrin’s early years, navigating the important points of the ensuing twelve years while Catrin grows up with exceptional pacing, the magical book locked away from her. At no point does the story lag, and soon enough Catrin has her book back, as she journeys home to a wedding she does not want. And, in those first moments of having the book back in her hands, Catrin ignores the warnings she was given…
In the aftermath of the effects of her decision, Catrin sets out to recover the book from the magical Magpies who initially gave it to her mother. Each day, for seven days, she must solve a riddle set by them. But there are two sides to every riddle, two sides to every story, two sides to every person.
My only frustration in this story was that I felt that, in dealing with the Magpies, Catrin was a slightly different person–rude, impatient, almost violent. She felt immature in those scenes in a way that she did not through the rest of the book. I realize that in those scenes she was also facing the creatures that she believed stole her mother from her, but her approach in how she dealt with them didn’t shift / develop at all until the very end. I loved Catrin through out the book, except for those scenes.
For the lyrical beauty of the prose alone, this is a fantastic read. For the story itself, it is a definite read. Highly recommend.
About the Author
Nancy Chase writes fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, and paranormal fiction, often inspired by mythology, dreams, folklore, or history.
She was born in Maine. Over her lifetime, she has worked as a summer camp cabin cleaner, apple picker, stable girl, political activist, beauty consultant, inventory taker, t-shirt silk screener, pet shop cashier, art model, convenience store clerk, hotel banquet manager, university secretary, magazine editor, freelance book doctor, and farmer.
She can write a sonnet, dance a pavane, train a horse, shear a sheep, or milk a cow. She is slightly synesthetic. She has been inside the Tomb of the Eagles in the Orkneys and has done a Native American vision quest in the Sierra Nevadas. She prefers summer over winter, tea over coffee, her favorite color is green, and she has a peculiar obsession with collecting beautiful blank books in which she never writes.
She lives in Virginia with her husband and an ever-changing array of pets.