Name: Thirteenth Child
Author(s): Patricia C. Wrede
Series Standing: Book one (Frontier Magic series)
What It’s About: In Eff’s world, it is commonly known that a seventh son is lucky. The seventh son of a seventh son (also known as a double- seventh son) is not only lucky, but a natural-born magician. And a thirteenth child is very unlucky, bound to turn evil. Eff is a thirteenth child. Her twin, Lan, is a double-seventh son. From the moment she was born, her many aunts and uncles and cousins have told her it was inevitable she turn evil, bullied her, accused her of things she didn’t do, and tried to convince her parents that she would turn Lan evil too if they didn’t do something. So when her father gets an offer to work as a professor of magic at a college in the North Plains Territory, he springs at the offer, not only wanting the job, but wanting to keep Eff and Lan from those who would derive or spoil them. There they live a good life, though Eff is still afraid that someone will discover she’s a thirteenth child. However, when it is discovered that Lan is a double-seventh, he is put in extra magic classes to help his talent grow and prosper. Eff and Lan are still close, but their bond weakens further when Eff grows very sick and misses a year of school, putting her a year behind Lan when she returns. More time passes and Lan is put in an Eastern boarding school. Meanwhile, mysterious grubs are eating all the crops on the frontier. The problem gets worse and worse, and magicians are scrambling to figure out how to stop them. Soon after Lan comes back, a theory is formed about why grubs don’t seem to be living in one of the settlements. A group is sent out to test this, and they discover how peculiar the bugs really are. Then when visiting a nearby settlement, her father and Lan fall into trouble, and Eff may just be the one to save them.
My Review: I think that this is a good book with writing that makes you just want to keep on reading. However, if you want an action book, this isn’t it. Even the big scene at the end isn’t all that thill -packed, though the idea of all those bugs makes me squirm. This is the story of Eff’s life, and her struggle to accept that she may not be as bad as she once thought. I like the way the author mixes the wild west and magic in a way where you don’t really question it. You just go with the flow. In the end she is considered a heroine, but she still isn’t completely confident in herself (then again, who is?). She questions herself, and worries of what she’ll do to others.
Re-Readability: Medium to High. It depends on your preferences.
“From the day I was old enough to understand, I heard people talking to Mama and Papa about what to do with me.”
“Uncle Earn was standing just inside the door next to a very uncomfortable-looking man in a blue-and-gold policeman’s uniform.”
“There were plenty of others, too, all anxious to tell Mama and Papa how I was sure to go bad, and to report every little thing I did as evidence they were right. If I spilled my soup, it was done apurpose and with evil in mind; if a ball I kicked went astray and tore up the new plantings in the kitchen garden, it was done deliberately in malice and spite.”