Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic Series #1)

Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic Series #1)

by Patricia C. Wrede

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#1 NYT bestselling author Pat Wrede returns to Scholastic with an amazing new trilogy about the use of magic in the wild, wild west. Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent -- and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild. With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternate history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545283038
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 06/01/2010
Series: Frontier Magic Series , #1
Sold by: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 120,800
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Patricia C. Wrede is the universally acclaimed author of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles series, including Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons, as well as other novels, including Mairelon the Magician, The Magician's Ward, and, with Caroline Stevermer, Sorcery and Cecelia, The Grand Tour, and The Mislaid Magician. She lives in Minnesota.

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Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
Lindsey_Miller More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful twist on 'magical worlds'. Instead of following the typical conventions of the magical fantasy genre, Wrede recreates our own history, complete with the same people, like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. The only difference is that the world operates openly in magic. There are magic schools everywhere throughout the world, and several branches of magic that emerged from various cultures. Set in what would have been the settler time of American history, Wrede tells the story through the eyes of Eff, who narrates in an honest and personal style that makes it a very enjoyable read. Also, Wrede keeps more with the genre of literature during that time period with a tone that harkens to Mark Twain or Willa Cather. My personal favorite part, however, is the fact that unlike most stories about magic, this isn't about one child hero who needs to save the world from the greatest evil that history has ever known or ever will know. It's a story about a girl's personal journey with her own power and her process of growing up, and the evils that she faces are not necessarily related to terrible magical creatures that threaten to end life as everyone knows it. Although there's a little of that as well. -Lindsey Miller,
Otterina More than 1 year ago
Think back to your youth, remember reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods? The Thirteenth Child is a return to the wonders of moving out past the prairie. With all the joyful reverence of freely exploring life & coming of age. I can't wait to crack the cover ov Across the Great Barrier. I am once again 8 years old & listening to Pa fiddle, Ma teach with Laura & Mary exploring the world around the.. but even better, I'm with Eff, Lan, William & Wash where there is true magic. Mirror bugs, grubs, steam dragons & wooly mammoths oh my! Join me on a continuing magical ride exploring the new world, helping to define the magic of the Columbias.. Brava Ms Wrede, brava. I am so pleased to say I have a standing order in for each new book you release. May I be getting such presents in the mail for years to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great read for those days when you just want to curl up on the couch an read. This book transitions through many years is flawless. The characters really matures throughout the book. A really enjoyable read for all ages
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing book about self-discovery and self-acceptance. It is a must read for everyone.
WishStealer More than 1 year ago
This book was really good, about a young girl who has to live through constant hatred, stereotypes, and being shadowed in her twin brother's glory. However, I wish the ending gave Eff more glory, and had William get together with her. The ending was a little abrupt, but I might just be comparing to "A Charmed Life" by Diana Wynne Jones where the brother lives in the sister's shadow, and then turns out to be more powerful. I wish that was how this book ended. I'm eagerly awaiting to read the next book now--I have it on hold at the library, and I hope it's what I predicted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's the sort of book that goes slow because it covers a long period of time, but the characters are all plenty decent and nobody's ridiculously nefarious or completely spot-free innocent. It's a pretty practical approach to a world where magic is used, and even covers the problem that overdependence on something brings to mind. Leaves you wanting more in the end, and that's just as well.
spincerely on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like Little House but with magic!
desislc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is what you get when you combine alternate world fantasy with Little House on the Prairie. A fun treat for fans of both genres!
BookRatMisty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Thirteenth Child tells the story of Eff Rothmer, a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is a double-seventh child, a position of great magical power and potential. Unfortunately for Eff, the thirteenth child is said to be cursed, hazardous to those around them, and even evil. Eff is terrified that she will one day "go bad" and hurt those around her, so she tries desperately to control her magic, and possibly even rid herself of it. Eff must learn how to become her own person with her own magic, no matter what others may think. Set in an Old West that mixes the familiar -- buggies and frock coats -- with the fantastic -- steam dragons and spectral bears -- Thirteenth Child manages to be completely true and now. The choices Wrede makes keep the book from being the over the top, cheesy affair it could have been in someone else's hands. She never overdoes anything or tosses in too many fantastic problems or elements. Her fantasy elements are realistic, and she always makes sure that her characters and Eff's development takes precedence. Eff's voice and narration, too, are very enjoyable, with fun little turns of phrase that pop. I rarely say this when I read a good stand-alone, because I respect an author that doesn't milk it by turning it into a series (and often thinning it out as a result), but I really hope there's more to come.
dknippling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I kept comparing this to the Little House on the Prairie books. Individual episodes were interesting, but they didn't really hook together into an overall plot arc. Normally, I'd be okay with that, but I felt like the book was promising a "big story arc" when what I got were episodes. So: if you liked Little House on the Prairie, and you're forewarned of the episodic nature of the book, and that's what you're looking for - I think you'd be pleased with the book. It's not high drama and would suit several of the people I know perfectly as such. The world is fascinating, the characters wonderfully human. It just wasn't the book for me.
Annesanse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thirteenth child is an alternate American history. With magic. I read someone describe it as "Harry Potter meets Little House on the Prairie," and I think that actually describes it really well. I was completely sucked into this alternate world it was set in, and I loved the assortment of characters. I especially loved the main character, Eff. Patricia Wrede did an excellent job writing Eff (and the other children as well) at every age, I think. When she was five, she thought like a five year old. And when she was 13, she thought like a 13 year old. etc. I just really enjoyed the way Eff thought and acted. She was quiet and reserved, but in the end, she was the one who saved the day. I also
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a first person coming of age story told by Eff who happens to be a twin and a thirteenth child in an alternate Earth setting in the pioneer days. Settlers have more to worry about than our early settlers had though. This world has magic and dangerous magical creatures like steam dragons, spectral bears, mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses among other dangers.The world also has three kinds of magic - the Avrupan, the Hijero-Cathayan, and the Aphrikan. Many, even most. of the people in Columbia are students of the Avrupan school which teaches that seventh sons are lucky and seventh sons of seventh sons are even luckier. And there is nothing worse to be than a thirteenth child. Her brother Lan is a double seven who is petted and praised for his potential; Eff is the unlucky thirteenth. While her parents are supportive of her, many of her aunts, uncles and cousins torment and belittle her. She develops a major inferiority complex and a fear that she really will turn out to be as horrible as her relatives say.When she is five, her parents decide to travel west to the edge of settlement. Her father is a professor of magic who gets a job at one of the new land grant colleges on the frontier. This trip gives Eff a chance to start over but she still doesn't tell anyone that she is a thirteenth child. There in Mill City Eff also has the chance to learn from a new teacher who is an expert in the Aphrikan school of magic. The new teacher helps Eff gain confidence but Eff is still worried that her magic could be dangerous. Now, in this world there is a magical barrier that was erected by Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to keep the people to the east safe from all the dangerous magical and non-magical creatures in the west. But settlers are pushing the limit and gradually expanding beyond this great Barrier Spell. Each settlement has their own magician to provide the magical protections necessary to live beyond the Great Barrier. But the land beyond the Barrier is little explored and largely unknown. Eff wants to learn more about the land and become a naturalist. When the settlements are attacked by a new insect that no one knew anything about, Eff travels with her father, twin, and friend to try to find a way to protect the settlements. And she becomes a heroine!I thought the story was a fascinating and different take on fantasy. Combining magic with pioneering made it even more interesting. Having Eff tell her own story made it easy to understand and sympathize with her. The only problem I had with the story was the very lackluster cover that the book has. If I can convince students to pick it up, I know that they will enjoy getting to know Eff and finding out about her magical world. But the cover doesn't make it easy.Don't judge this book by its cover! Pick it up and explore a fascinating new world with a wonderful main character.
chinquapin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From her first memories, Eff remembers being treated with fear, mistrust and hatred by her aunts and uncles. This is all because she was the thirteenth child born in her family and everybody knows that means that she not only is bad luck, but she will turn out to be evil. Eff's twin brother, Lan, however, is the fortunate, blessed fourteenth child, a double seventh born to a seventh. Fortunately, the family decides to move out West to Mill City when Eff is only five, and people don't seem to know that she an unlucky thirteenth child there. Mill City is the largest town out West and it is only a few miles away from the Great Barrier, a magical wall erected by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to keep dangerous magical creatures away from the settled areas. But many people are now crossing the Great Barrier and forming new settlements out in the dangerous frontier. Eff and Lan both start their schooling, and the book covers the years from when they are about five years old until they are eighteen. Lan starts to get different training when he is about ten years old because his magic is so powerful, but Eff seems to be lacking in magical fact, other people's spells seem to fizzle when she is around them. Eff, however, begins to learn Aphrikan magic in an afterschool class, which is different from the more popular Avrupan magic that everyone else uses, and it seems to work better for her. The worldbuilding and magical system in this novel are fascinating and very well constructed. I loved the alternate American 19th century frontier with magic. I also enjoyed the characters and the twist of having a lucky, magically powerful twin paired with the unlucky, magically different child. The plot, however, was somewhat disappointing. Basically this was mostly a story about Eff's childhood, and while some of it was captivating, some of it was mundane. While the story did rise to a modest conflict at the end, I would have liked a little more action and suspense. Hopefully the sequel will fill this gap, and see Eff coming more into her powers.
terriko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked the setting of an alternate frontier america where not only does one have to worry about winter and bears, but also dragons and magical bugs. I got tired at times of Eff's constant self-doubt and worry, but watching the world through her eyes was still enough to keep me turning pages.
Citizenjoyce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finished The Thirteenth Child which I'd kind of been grumping about being too YA, but Patricia C. Wrede manages to get some interesting ideas in such as the three different types of using your power in the world, a big hit on the melting pot ideal of the US (or Columbia as her alternate reality has it) and, in a world full of large terrible monsters the fact that the little ones can do the most damage. On reflection, it was a better book than I had at first thought.
PhoebeReading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was a big, big fan of Patricia Wrede's "dragons" series in middle school, though my memories of those books are vague. I remembered them fondly--as slim, plot-driven, funny, and somewhat feminist tales--so I was eager to revisit her writing in Thirteenth Child.Too bad, then, that this book is nothing like the quick, addictive reads I remember. Thirteenth Child is less a novel and more a fictional memoir. It's the story of Eff, seventh daughter in a large frontier family, whose twin brother Lan (as the seventh son of the seventh son) is magically gifted from birth. Unlike Lan, Eff herself has been told that she's been cursed as the thirteenth-born in her family, that her magic will eventually come to poison her and those around her.But weirdly this pronouncement has little impact on the story generally, if there is one. There really isn't. As Eff grows up, we follow the progress of her family from the east coast to a settlement in the west, where her father is recruited to teach. Eff attends school, makes friends, deals (or doesn't) with her sisters and her sisters' marriages, does chores, catalogs wildlife, and occasionally sulks. She's plenty busy--but a lot of what happens to her just isn't that exciting or engaging. She's largely a passive narrator, reporting back to us the events of her world without really taking an active role in them. I often felt like I was plodding through the chapters--and the years--but I was never really captivated by the plot or the voice.Regarding the voice, I have to say that, incidentally, Eff's narration never really rang true to me as the voice of an eighteen-year-old. She sounds much, much younger--it's a voice that reminds me more of Scout Finch than anything you'd encounter in most YA. In fact, generally, I felt that this wasn't a young adult novel at all. And while I'd be tempted to call it middle grade thanks to a lack of sexual content, it's not that, either. Eff's voice, though young, is wistful, detached, and nostalgic. This very much felt to me like a novel meant to appeal to adult fantasy and science fiction readers, who might better appreciate Wrede's extensive world building and better tolerate Eff's total lack of compelling romantic relationships.The world building here certainly is extensive. Wrede's central premise is that this is an alternate Earth where magic exists and some prehistoric creatures never became extinct, and she goes to great pains to show how that might conceivably impact every aspect of frontier life. The magical systems--and there are multiple ones here--are well-developed and believable, and so intertwined with the daily life of the characters that they don't even think to info-dump on us, something a less talented writer might resort to. There are backlash movements, philosophical disagreements, vivid ecologies, and several different methods of magical schooling. There are even historical twists--Benjamin Franklin as an unschooled magical genius!But Wrede seems so wrapped up in her world that she's really forgotten to give us a worthwhile story. This promises to be a series, but I really can't imagine where we'd go from here, because, in three hundred and forty pages, we really haven't gone anywhere.
prkcs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eighteen-year-old Eff must finally get over believing she is bad luck and accept that her special training in Aphrikan magic, and being the twin of the seventh son of a seventh son, give her extraordinary power to combat magical creatures that threaten settlements on the western frontier.
rbaech on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a bit troubled on this book. Let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed it, and look forward to reading more in the series. The world-building was engrossing, the protagonist was (for me, at least) quite relatable, and the book's plot fun. I was disturbed, however, that a book set in an alternative 1830s American frontier had no mention whatsoever of Native Americans. I won't go into that too deeply, because there's already been plenty of discussion on the web about it, and I know that some explanations have been advanced (different wildlife made it dangerous to live there, for example).However, setting aside political correctness, this is a good book, and I will read the future books in the series - I hope that the author finds a way to bring in some native characters, however.
twonickels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ever since Eff was born, she¿s been treated with fear, mistrust, and sometimes outright loathing -and all this from members of her own family. Because Eff is a thirteenth child, she is considered unlucky at best, and many believe that she is destined for a life of badness with no way to escape. According to the same gossiping aunts and uncles, Eff¿s twin brother has a very different destiny. Lan is the seventh son of a seventh son, bringing luck to those around him and making his magic tremendously powerful.When the treatment of their two youngest children becomes extreme, Eff¿s mom and dad decide to move the family out to Mill City for a new start. Mill City is the biggest city on the frontier, and it is just miles away from the Great Barrier. Once you pass the Great Barrier that separates the east and the west, the territory changes. Pretty drastically. We¿re talking Mammoths and Steam Dragons and Sphinxes drastic. The Barrier keeps this wild menagerie of menacing magical creatures out on the frontier. But many people cross the frontier to create new settlements and try to tame the land, protected by their settlement magicians. And while the settlers expect trouble from these large and threatening magical creatures, the thing that causes the most trouble is something they have all overlooked.Much of the book is concerned with the process of learning magic, and how that process is different for Eff and Lan. Which is a treat for the reader, because the magical system is seriously cool. There are three traditional systems of magic - Avrupean, Hijero-Cathayan, and Aphrikan - and each has its own methods and quirks. Since Eff starts out young and is learning more about how to use magic, the reader gets to come along on that journey.It is not only the magic system that is exceptionally crafted in Wrede¿s book - all of her worldbuilding is top-notch. I feel like I¿ve been seeing more of these books that combine an alternate history of our world with some kind of fantasy element, and this is the best of the bunch so far. Wrede¿s combination of the wild west frontier and the wild animals of fantasy is inspired, and both the creatures and the magic fit perfectly into the world she creates. And while the world and the magic are a delight to read, it is Eff who drew me into this book. Her relatives treated her with suspicion and malice for so long that she has internalized their distrust of her magic. She is convinced that it is only a matter of time before she turns bad, and so she pulls away from friendships and from her own magical power. The reader can see that Eff¿s struggle with herself is creating more problems than it is solving, and Wrede is slowly bringing Eff along to that same realization. The Thirteenth Child builds a great foundation for a series. The reader gets a sense of the trouble that could be ahead for Lan and Eff - much of it caused by their different upbringings and how superstition has developed their characters. The seeds for some intense family conflict have been sown, and the backdrop for that potential conflict will certainly stand up to many more books. I¿ll be looking forward to the next in this series.
ccahill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed with this book. The summary was intriguing, but I was quickly bored; I fear that the teens for whom this book is intended would not last even a few chapters.For a girl who could supposedly been an all-powerful and possibly evil magician, the main character is downright pathetic. Her twin deserves all the extra dotting he gets, because she does nothing but worry. All the characters, of which there many, are rather flat and easily forgotten.The frontier setting was slow and dry; real life pioneers probably had more fun. The ending would have been anti-climatic, had there been any build up to it, but the whole book was anti-climatic. Also, the alternate history thing was just weird and did not fit.This book needed more adventure, more interesting characters, and A LOT more magic.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the Avrupan magic tradition, a 13th child is unlucky for all around her. A double seventh son, however, is full of luck and strong magic. Twins Eff (the thirteenth) and Lan (the double seventh) and their family move to the edge of the settled Columbia - an alternate version of the United States where magic is part of everyday life and mammoths, dragons and other creatures roam the unsettled plains.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fantastic. This is a wonderful world, a north america where magical barriers keep out wild beasts and allow pioneers to settle. Eff is a splendid characters, and her growing up with people who fear her as a 13th child but also surrounded by poeple who love and encourage her makes for interesting reading. I eagerly await the rest of this trilogy. I'd give this to fantasy fans, alternate history fans, maybe even some steam punk fans, for the nifty western flavour.
mjsbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fantasy that reimagines the American Frontier with living mammoths and dragons. Well-written, with interesting characters, especially 13th child Eff and her twin brother. I just wish the climactic scene were more exciting that metamorphing bugs!
wislibwiz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting read which drags a little at first but gathers pace at the end.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thirteenth Child is by one of my favorite children's writers, Patricia C. Wrede. She wrote the Dealing with Dragons series, which I really love. This one is an interesting mix between a Western and a fantasy. The story takes place in an alternate world where it's the late 1800s and magic is common. Lewis and Clark were lost in a dangerous wilderness full of magical beasts. Eff is the 13th child of the title, and she is also the sister of a 7th son of a 7th son. 13 is bad luck, so when anything goes wrong, her extended family - and even the town - blame it all on her. Her parents get tired of it all move Out West, where her father gets a job at a university of magic. For the first time, Eff gets a chance at a normal life.I really enjoyed this one. It's the first in a series, and I can't wait to see what Eff gets up to now that she's developing her own magical talents. Lots of fun.