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Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret by…

Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret

by D. D. Everest

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402285,656 (3.33)3



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Actual rating: 2.5 out of 5

Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret could have been a great book. Despite the fact that it looks like a rip-off of Harry Potter, it actually had little in common with Rowling's magnum opus. The world building in Archie Greene had so much potential. This was a world where the only true magic lived in books, and specially trained individuals were charged with preserving and guarding them in order to protect the populous at large from dangerous accidents. It really is a neat concept. Unfortunately, the book doesn't really flesh it out.

Archie Greene just felt rushed. The entire book moved at breakneck speed, taking no time to focus on the unique aspects of Mothballs or really explain what in the Hell is going on. All we see of the magical world is in snippets, as no time is really spent showing how wonderful the Museum could be. We get brief glimpses of what it means to be a bookbinder, but nothing of the other two schools.

The plot is also paper thin in places. There really aren't that many clues towards who the traitor in the museum is, and everything just kind of falls together over the last twenty pages. While I was curious to learn why Archie was sent the book in the first place, we never really get much of an answer. It mainly boils down to "destiny", but the true implications of this are only hinted at in this novel. I hope this is focused on more in subsequent books.

The characters in the novel are also a bit lacking. While Archie has a bit of a personality, he is largely a typical middle grade protagonist - brave, quick to trust, destined for greatness and more than a little clueless. Beyond him, there are some colourful characters (Archie's tutor, Old Zeb, in particular) but none have much of a role to play in the great scheme of things. Even Archie's cousins (Thistle in particular) just kind of fade out of the story after a while and are of no use in the climax.

All in all I am curious to read the next book in the series to learn more about the setting, but this was not a great novel on the whole. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Apr 9, 2017 |
This middle grade fantasy adventure reminds me of the early Harry Potter books. Our hero - Archie Greene - is an orphan being raised by his grandmother. They are poor but happy. When his twelfth birthday arrives, he received a magical book which starts his adventures.

His grandmother tells him that he is part of a magical family and sends him to a bookstore in Oxford to turn in his book. He also meets eccentric cousins that he never knew he had and becomes a magical apprentice in a museum where magical books are stored.

Archie has a unique ability too. Magical books talk to him; he is a book whisperer. He also finds out that he is part of a long-standing plan instigated by John Dee in the 1600s. When he found that someone was trying to release the dangerous magic from these books, he stored the book with a law firm to be delivered to Archie on his twelfth birthday. Enemies are on his trail however. They still want to release all the dangerous magics that are held in the books.

The book has eccentric characters, a hidden museum beneath the Bodleian Library in Oxford that is entered by sipping a magical potion and riding chairs to the underground location. There are talking books and magical creatures set to guard them. There are Greaders who are greedy for the books of magic and who especially want the Terrible Tomes which contain dark magic.

This was an exciting story about a young boy who learns about a magical world and who learns that he has a special place in that world. Sounds like Harry Potter, doesn't it? ( )
  kmartin802 | Mar 15, 2015 |
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Archie Greene has lived with his grandmother since he was a baby, but when a mysterious package arrives on his twelfth birthday with instructions to take it to a strange bookshop in Oxford, he finds himself involved with a secret society of people who protect the world's magical books, and discovers that he has family he never knew about.… (more)

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