TodHunter Moon, Book 1: PathFinder

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
TodHunter Moon, Book 1: PathFinder Book Poster Image
Spin-off with brave girl best for loyal Septimus Heap fans.

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

May lead readers to find out how the semiprecious stone lapis lazuli really forms (sadly, there are no giant, magical worms involved).

Positive Messages

Bravery and a love for family and friends win out over greed and cruelty.


Positive Role Models & Representations

Alice, or Tod as she prefers to be called, is a strong girl character. She loses her family but still fights for the people in her village. She's confused about her place in the world, but determined to find her own way.



Plenty of worry and fear over those abducted by walking, nocturnal snakelike creatures call garmin. They're later found out to be enslaved -- Tod's father goes missing and Tod's whole village is burned. Even young children are enslaved and one young boy's life is threatened repeatedly. Many of the slaves are threatened with death by drowning. Tod is kidnapped and wrapped in a sticky cocoon. A couple of punches are thrown. People and animals are frozen and revived. Talk of Tod's mother dying when Tod was 7 and garmin killing harmless shapeshifter creatures for sport.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A mention of elderflower champagne.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that TodHunter Moon, Book 1: PathFinder is a spin-off of the Septimus Heap Series. Readers will be much more comfortable getting into the story if they've read the other series first. Septimus Heap, his brothers and sisters, and his whole magical world are still present and barely explained. A brave girl named Tod is at the center of the new series. Her father goes missing right off the bat and much of her fishing village is destroyed by fire as the people are rounded up and enslaved by walking, nocturnal snakelike creatures call garmin. Tod gets kidnapped by the garmin and saved, and she and her brave companions try to get their loved ones back before they're threatened with drowning. A young boy's life is threatened repeatedly. Like the Septimus Heap series, all the other content is mild, making it a good choice for young fantasy fans not yet ready for the magical world of Harry Potter

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What's the story?

Tod is 12 and finally old enough to hear the secret of her people, the PathFinders. At a special dawn ceremony, her father reveals that their ancestors were renowned for navigating something called the Ancient Ways, paths they no longer remember. Because of their skills, they were even sent to the stars. And, even crazier, many of the PathFinders today could still have gills like their ancestors who traveled in fluid through space. This is a lot for Tod to take in, and she has little time to process it before her father goes missing from his fishing boat one day. He leaves a note behind telling Tod yet more secrets. Her long-deceased mother had magical abilities and wanted her to study magic. Tod hops on a ship to meet Extraordinary Wizard Septimus Heap, not knowing that her village is in serious danger. Fires burn down most of the houses and most of the villagers go missing at the hands of strange nocturnal snake-like creatures called garmin. But Tod still has a chance to help them when the garmin start abducting people near the Magical Tower and Septimus finds out they're sneaking around through the Ancient Ways. The kidnapped will need Tod's help as a Pathfinder to navigate through the labyrinth of tunnels and save them on time.

Is it any good?

For a book about people called PathFinders, this oddly meanders a lot; it lacks a clear structure and objective for its heroic characters until close to the end. Which can be pretty hard on the reader, especially those not fully engaged in the Septimus Heap world already (this reviewer read the first four Septimus Heap books and still got a little lost).

If readers have read all previous books and are loyal fans, they'll really like Tod regardless of story structure problems. She's a brave tomboy character who has some pretty cool skills to contribute if she decides to study magic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about loyalty to your favorite series. What are your favorite series? Do you think you'll always be a loyal fan? Are there any series you stopped reading?

  • What's the secret of the PathFinders? What did Tod's mother want for her? What do you think this will mean for Tod's magical education?

  • If you could have secret underground ways to get places, where would your tunnels go?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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