Twilight Hauntings: Enchanter's Child, Book 1

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Twilight Hauntings: Enchanter's Child, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Mild magical fantasy has sweet and quirky characters.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows how a government gets its citizens to be willing participants in oppression, here by Naming people who practice magic or harbor those who do. Kids can compare the kind of magic secretly practiced in this story to magic in other books.

Positive Messages

Embrace who you are, even if others may discriminate against you. The importance of friendship is a strong theme.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alex starts out unsure of who she is and where she came from and ends up embracing her magic, even if she will face discrimination for it. She has chances to run away from problems, but she doesn't, and even rescues someone who wouldn't do the same for her. Alex's stalwart friend Benn never gives up helping her, even when she runs away from him. Diverse family situations are represented here: Alex is raised in a foster family, and Benn is raised by his grandmother.

Violence

The Twilight Hauntings in question are magic creatures meant to kill enchanters and their children. A giant hawk tries to eat people, eels attack on a river, a Gray Walker chokes its victim almost to death, another creature tries to push someone off a cliff and electrocutes them. A bird is shot and killed, two boys fight, a near-drowning, a woman is put in prison hanging from a cage that's welded shut. There's talk of prisoners dying in those cages, including the main character's mother years ago.

Sex
Language

One "bloody."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Twilight Hauntings is the first book in the Enchanter's Child series by Angie Sage, author of the popular Septimus Heap series. Just like Septimus Heap, Twilight Hauntings has magic, quirky characters, and a milder feel than the Harry Potter series. When two boys shove each other by the river and one falls in, the other jumps in to save him. The main character, Alex, rescues her foster mother from imprisonment, even though she knows she won't get any thanks for it. These moments and others make the violence feel milder, even though there are magical creatures that come out at dusk and try to harm Alex and her father, and even though there's a whole culture of oppression in a kingdom that wants to rid itself of all magical people. Themes of embracing who you are and cherishing friendship also make this story a good fit for younger fantasy fans.   

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What's the story?

In TWILIGHT HAUNTINGS: ENCHANTER'S CHILD, BOOK 1, Alex thought her magic Hex cards were a secret from everyone but a boy named Benn in the market who sells lemons and her young foster brother, Louie. But her cruel foster sister Zerra found out and decided to Name her to the sentinels, which would send her directly to prison for the rest of her life -- the standard punishment for having magical abilities. Alex reads danger in the cards the moment before the sentinels arrive and flees with Louie and the family's pokkle (a cross between a parrot and a gecko). They descend from their clifftop town into a valley full of citrus. Here they are safe from the sentinels, but not from creatures called the Twilight Hauntings, magical beings that prey on enchanters and their children. It's not long before Alex and Louie are spotted by one of the feared hauntings, a giant hawk who wants to eat them for breakfast.

Is it any good?

Quirky characters and mild magical adventures make this story from the author of the Septimus Heap series a winner for younger fantasy fans. There's also a sweetness to Twilight Hauntings, too, that you don't often see in stories battling oppressive kingdoms. It's embodied in Benn's grandmother, Nella. Benn is friend of the main character, Alex. Throughout the story, Nella takes in everyone who comes to the door of her quaint country house -- even a strange old man and a thorny teen boy who appears to work for the enemy. Nella feeds them homemade breads and jams, gives them advice, and fends off one of the most pernicious of the hauntings, a Grey Walker, by sealing the house up against it every evening. She also knows what Alex should do to keep herself safe, but Alex is not the type of character to run away from her problems.  

Near the climax of Alex's adventures, two more matronly figures emerge, one of whom is quite good at knitting octopuses. They also have answers for Alex and Alex's long-lost father, the quirkiest character in the story -- or maybe that's the king, you decide. The ending sets up a new, very big problem for Alex and her father, leading us to more magical adventures in the series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different kinds of families in Twilight Hauntings. Benn is raised by his grandmother and Alex is brought up in a foster family. How often do you see different kinds of families in the books you read?

  • How is the magic here the same or different from other fantasy books you read? What do the Hex cards do? What don't we know about the magical world yet?

  • Will you read more books in the Enchanter's Child series?

Book details

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For kids who love fantasy and magic

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