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A Family of Readers Review: Cressida Cowell’s THE WIZARDS OF ONCE

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Xar is a boy who wants to be a wizard and Wish is a princess who is training to be a warrior. They are supposed to be enemies but instead they become friends. This book was so exciting and full of surprises. I loved all of the weird, brave and funny characters. I can’t wait to read more of their adventures.

Molly’s Review (Age 12) :

By the best selling author of How to Train Your Dragon comes Wizards of Once. This is a magically awesome fantasy book by one of my favourite authors. Xar is a wizard on a quest to find his magic. He thinks that the only way he can do it is by catching a witch and stealing her magic. Little does he know that he and his followers are in grave danger. Wish is a warrior who has a magical object that she wants to conceal. Magical objects are banned for the warriors. Little do they know, Wish and Xar have something in common. This is a lovable story as good as the How to Train Your Dragon with characters who are supposed to be enemies yet good friends.

Jon’s Review:

What do you write after the utterly brilliant, 14 book series detailing the adventures of the viking Hiccup and his dragons? A new series set in England’s dark ages that is even better, that’s what!

In a time before Vikings and dragons there was magic. There were wizards who wielded it and warriors who fought against it. And there were witches who were just plain wicked and evil. The warriors, brandishing iron weapons which are impervious to magic, swore to rid the land of all magic and in their quest to do so have driven the witches into extinction and the wizards deep into the dark woods where they hold out against them. The wizards and warriors are sworn enemies.

Into this land we are introduced to two outcasts. Xar is the son of the Wizard king. He is twelve years old but his magic hasn’t come in yet. Impatient to wait he sets off into the woods to try and catch an extinct witch to try and steal her magic for himself. Meanwhile a warrior princess, Wish, has also set off into the woods. She has found a magical object. One which is banned by her tribe and Queen mother but she is excited to learn more about it. These two characters, foes from opposing tribes, are about to meet and the adventures are only just beginning!

This is a fabulous start to a new series which, dare I say, is even better than the Hiccup series!

Kate’s Review:

“Books read to you in your parent’s voice live with you all your life.” – Cressida Cowell

A new Cressida Cowell novel is always a cause for celebration because Cressida has given us, as a family, hours of storytime enjoyment. Everyone snuggled up on a bed taking turns reading aloud and listening to the Emily Brown and How to Train Your Dragon series. Her fantastic stories and quirky, lovable characters have been staples in our house for years.

Set in medieval England at a time when Magic has been almost completely extinguished by war, The Wizards of Once is a tale of two children, Wish and Xar, who are about to break all of their parents rules and in doing so fulfil their destinies. Wish is the daughter of the Warrior Queen. Warriors are against magic which makes it more than a little strange that she has a magic spoon as a pet! Xar is the son of the Wizard King which would be fine except that Xar can’t do magic.

Wizards and Warriors have been living for many years in an uneasy truce after a great war which defeated and banished the most evil magic makers – witches. Neither Wish or Xar are very good at doing as they are told which is how they are both in the woods (where they should definitely NOT be) when the Witches feather is found. And this is also how even though they are supposed to be mortal enemies Wish and Xar discover that sometimes even people we are supposed to hate can sometimes become your closest friends and allies.

The Wizards of Once is the beginning of a fantastic new adventure series from Cressida Cowell filled with her trademark humour and a richness of detail and depth of character rarely found in kids books. Cressida has created a world that will instantly draw you in where the kids outwit, outsmart and outmanoeuvre the adults every single time and which will leave you desperately waiting for the next installment. My advice is to grab a copy with both hands, gather the kids around, put on your silliest voices and settle in to make storytime fun again!

Rebellious kids, a pet spoon, a wise raven, sprites, a giant, a bodyguard who can’t stay awake, warring parents and an ancient evil about to reappear….what on earth could go wrong?

ISBN: 9781444939576 ISBN-10: 1444939572 Classification: Children’s, young adult & educational » Children’s & young adult fiction & true stories » Adventure stories (Children’s/YA) Format: Paperback (293mm x 174mm x 29mm) Pages: 384 Imprint: Hodder Children’s Books Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group Publish Date: 19-Sep-2017

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