Septimus Heap Series

Common Sense Media says

Charming series for kids not ready for big, dark fantasies.





What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Family is very important in this story; the Heaps stick together and are especially appropriate when Jenna finds out she is adopted. In the second book Septimus faces his fear of heights head-on. The third has teamwork and friendship at the forefront as kids risk getting stuck 500 years in the past to save their friends.

Positive role models

The heroes are more than noble -- they're compassionate. Marcia and Aunt Zelda are both great models for the kids in their care, using magic for good and encouraging learning. Septimus faces his fears and works hard to be a good apprentice and a good brother, even to a brother who doesn't accept him. As the books progress, Septimus is shown greatly enjoying his studies.


Fantasy violence that's not well-described or pervasive. Mentions of an assassin killing a queen and almost killing her infant daughter. Main characters flee a persistent but buffoonish hunter who tracks the 10-year-old princess with a gun. A friendly marsh creature is shot and recovers. Another boy almost dies when an evil necromancer "borrows" his skin. Boy 412 looks back on his tough orphan life in the youth army, where cruelty included making kids go into the woods and fend off hungry wolverines. Sad mentions of a baby thought dead by its family right after his birth. A bar is deliberately set on fire; no one is injured. Boys are attacked by wolverines but are saved in time. A boy's hands are badly burned. The Necromancer DomDaniel appears as a skeleton. A menacing shadow follows the ExtraOrdinary wizard. A girl is kidnapped but escapes. The third has many mentions of an evil queen who has gotten rid of her offspring so she can stay queen forever -- Jenna can hear their ghosts crying in the walls of the castle.


One of the Heap children tries to get married secretly. The third book mentions a sweet romance between the ghost Alther and a live woman, plus a mild romance between teens.


Nicko Heap, "remembering all the bad language he picked up at the Port," insults a tree that has captured him, but no mention of what the bad language is.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking in a tavern. Sally Mullins works up the courage to face the hunter by drinking some beer. In the third book, a teen girl asks for a strong alcoholic drink in a bar, hates it, and is given a milder drink instead.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, among current fantasy novels, this is among the least dark or violent, and almost uniquely in this genre, fighting and killing are not portrayed as the answer to anything and are assiduously avoided, villains are seen as redeemable, and heroes are both stronger and more compassionate than their enemies. This series' gentleness makes it especially recommended
for those not quite ready for the big, dark fantasies.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Just after the apparent death of the sprawling, wizardly Heap family's newborn seventh son, they are given a baby girl, Jenna, to care for. Ten years later they are forced to flee their home in the Castle when it turns out the girl is the daughter of the murdered queen, and the Supreme Custodian, who has taken over the city, sends an assassin to complete his destruction of the royal family. Pursued by a professional Hunter, and accompanied by the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, a ghost, and a young soldier known only as Boy 412, they head into the Marram Marshes to find refuge with their Aunt Zelda, the White Witch. But the Necromancer, DomDaniel, who is in league with the Supreme Custodian, is determined to see them all destroyed.

Is it any good?


Magyk: Septimus Heap, Book 1

This author may have slept through the classes in Story Construction and
Character Development, but she was the star pupil in Blithe Spirit.
With a light touch and gentle humor, she carries readers through this
overlong novel, with some explosions of imagination along the way. A
wealth of fascinating magical creatures and an intriguing new design for
magic make this a delightful, at times exciting, read.

 Flyte: Septimus Heap, Book 2

Septimus, now apprentice to the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, seems to be the
only one alarmed with his brother Simon, doing the bidding of
Necromancer DomDaniel, rides off with Princess Jenna. He knows she's
been kidnapped and goes after her. This installment is just as fun as
the first with the same light touch and unique approach to magic. It's
nice to see Septimus fleshing out as a character, learning magic, and
facing his fears.

 Physik: Septimus Heap, Book 3

 Septimus is kidnapped through a magic glass and taken back 500 years to
be the apprentice of alchemist Marcellus Pye. Meanwhile Pye's mother,
Queen Etheldredda, haunts the present and attempts to reclaim the crown
from Jenna. There are plenty of what-ifs with the time travel theme, but
the story bogs down in its length and some of the heart is missing in
this installment. Queen Ehteldredda is a fun villain, however.

 Queste: Septimus Heap, Book 4

Thanks to a cruel ghost, Septimus is set up for a quest that no other
apprentice has returned from -- but not if he escapes the Questing
Guards first. He, Jenn, and his friend Beetle would rather rescue Nikko
and Snorri, stranded in the distant past in book 3. It takes almost 300
pages for the trio to hit the road and this book is poorer for it. The
focus should have been on their journey, not a slew of minor characters.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the author's aversion to violence. How does the author make the story so exciting without battles and fighting?

  • How is the approach to fantasy and the good/evil struggle different from other books?

  • This is yet another fantasy book being made into a movie. If you read the book first, what do you think would make it a good movie? Who do you envision playing Jenna? Boy 412?

Book details

Author:Angie Sage
Illustrator:Mark Zug
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:August 10, 2005
Number of pages:564
Read aloud:9
Read alone:10

This review of Septimus Heap Series was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written bymoonkissed July 13, 2010


It is a book i have read and enjoyed SO many times?!
Kid, 10 years old April 10, 2009

Watch out, Harry Potter, because here comes Semptimus Heap!

I loved this book, even if it was different and a little dull. It's full of charms and sadness and laughter. There is already 5th one that the author, Angie Sage is writing. I read some of the 2nd, and a portion of the third, but then after awhile it was too long and I got a bit bored. (Please note the pages are usually 500-600 pages). I loved the series while I was reading it, though. 10+!
Teen, 14 years old Written bynoveleater October 12, 2011

fun magyk filled series

I am going to review this one kind of like Matt Berman, but I am going to do more than four. MAGYK, BOOK ONE, 3 STARS: The story takes place in a mythical land where people are either wizards or non-magyk. Septimus Heap is a boy who grows up in a family. Naturally being the seventh son of the seventh son, he is a wizard. But he doesn't grow up being a wizard. The story is filled with wonderful characters like Wolf Boy, and Jenna, Nikko and Aunt Zelda. The magyk terms can get annoying and frustrating at times, but overall the book is magykal. The violence is minor, but includes a creepy hunter who hunts down the main characters, who is okay with killing anyone who gets in his way. (deaths are not violent) Some characters only use magyk for there own reasons to get what they want so this book does explore the emotion of greed and evil. The story is somewhat boring, and drags in many places, but for those who stick to the end will be rewarded with an exciting ending. FLYTE, BOOK TWO, 4 STARS: Flyte tells the tale of Jenna who is kidnapped, and Septimus' trip to follow her into the jungle. This book shows some of the coolness of magyk more, and is a huge improvement on the over-long first book. The scariness is a little bit more scary, and the fight scenes a little bit better. The books overall have a feel good feel to them and are exciting. Guns are used again in this book, and children are in peril constintly, even though the peril is more silly. I love Spit Fyre is amazing! The book was enjoyable over all, and is exciting. PHYSIK, BOOK THREE, 3 STARS: This book in the funny series was my least-favorite. Although the ending is pretty cool. This book has a little bit more romance than the previous, but still are fairly mild. The mood of this one is a little bit more scary, but still is apropriate. The story sometimes touches upon a women who is greedy and is somewhat scary. This one was boring, and less enjoyable than the other two. QUESTE, BOOK FOUR, 4 STARS, ON FOR AGES 10 AND UP, CREEPIER: Queste is a little scarier than the other few. Although the book isn't as creepy as to me, I know my younger neighbor was a little bit squemish about book 4 and 5. Queste was longer than it needed to be, and it did not have to focas so much on the minor characters, but it did do oh well. Still, the story was fun, and the villian was original and awesome! Love her! There are creepy things called Things, that are creepy looking, and kind of weird. I liked this one a lot, and still am a sucker for the pictures on every chapter opener. SYREN, BOOK FIVE, 4 STARS: Syren is a lot stranger than the other few, and I lost interest a couple of times, but still it contained the action, humor, and horror that makes the series so good. This book was creepier than the previous stories, containing a person who posseses people, which is weird, and strange. The book is kind of like a dream, which is cool, but I drifted sometimes. You get to learn a little bit more about other characters, which is coolio! DARKE, BOOK SIX, 4.5 STARS!: Darke was the best of the series, hands down. It was perfect length, and awesome. There is a reason why the book is called Darke, and that is the fact that the tone of the story is gloomier than the other ones. As different stories unfold, everything folds together beautifuly, almost like Magyk....
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide