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Gift of the Unmage by Alma Alexander
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Gift of the Unmage

by Alma Alexander

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A unique fantasy that had me hooked start to finish. ( )
  Kewpie83 | Apr 3, 2013 |
Thea is 14 years old. She's the seventh child of two seventh children, which means she is to be very powerful. Thea wants to go to the best magical University when she gets older. But, there is one thing holding her back...she doesn't have the magical touch, at all. She's not able to perform any magical projects. She feels she's letting her parents down. They have tried everything they can to help Thea find her magical nitch. Now, there is only one thing left to try and her father will call in a huge favor to try it.

In her eavesdropping Thea knows her parents have plans for her and if these plans with some private lessons don't work, she will be sent to that place next year. That place is The Wandless Academy, where non-magical children go to school. Non-magical children and schools are the minority and she feels she will become nothing in a magical world without magical powers.

This is a world where magic exists in a big way, and in many different specialities and levels. If you don't have magic, you don't amount to much of anything here, or as Thea feels. There is a big world starting to be created here with endless magical possibilities; from our traditional telepathy between family members to traditional magic with music or shepherd mages and different levels of mages. We even have portals to travel to different places and through time.

This young adult read is not one for lots of violence or intimacy of boyfriend/girlfriend, but what I did enjoy from it was the American Indian mythology usage. This was a great mythology to set with this world. Alma relates the things Thea learns my using the beliefs to the current time and place Thea lives in.

Thea starts off as a typical teenage child who in a way feels sorry for herself and guilty for her lack of powers, in relation to her parents. She has a wonderful and open relationship with her Aunt. As she is close with her parents, it's just she feels she has let them down, being expected to be so powerful. Thea really grows greatly through this book with what she learns while with Chevery. Then how she uses it when she returns home to willingly go to the Wardless Academy. Thea makes some wonderful and unusual friends there at the school. But it is a time she will never forget, for the things she accomplishes. I enjoyed the journeys Thea takes to understand herself. Through the beliefs and teachings Thea goes through she learns she has to be patient and the understanding will come ~ a great lesson to be learned by both children and adults alike.

I enjoyed this first book, and will be reading the next book as well. I would suggest this book to a Young adult who likes to read of magic and Americal Indian mythology. I feel this book was a nice break from lots of fighting and violence and even the drooling love scenes. This is a nice read for a younger adult to sit back and enjoy, and the parents not worring what is in those pages. ( )
  MelHay | Aug 18, 2010 |
The seventh kid of two seventh kids, the main character whose name I've already forgotten is supposed to have a ton of magic. But she doesn't. So her father sends her away to study with an Anasazi spiritual guide or something and she finds herself and talks with a Spider Goddess who isn't Anansi, because the trickster in the story is a wolf.But eventually she goes off to a school for people with no magical ability (which is a real rarity in the world, as there only seems to be one school in the whole world). And the school is the reason I selected this book with Novelist as a tool. So I was glad she finally got there.I'm not sure what I think of the inclusion of Native American elements. For the most part, it just didn't interest me. But I don't know enough to know if it was handled well, with knowledge and care, or not.After reading this and Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb, I came to the conclusion that I don't like spiritual journeys with a tutor/guide/teacher/whatever. Too much talking and perhaps magic I'm not comfortable with. Or just bored by.So, not bad, once she finally got to the school. But I'm not ready to put in an ILL request for the next book in the series either. ( )
  Jellyn | Jan 27, 2010 |
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com

Thea is a double seventh--a seventh child of two seventh children--and so, as soon as she is born, great things are expected of her. Everyone waits anxiously for her sure-to-be powerful magic to reveal itself.

And waits. And waits.

She disappoints everyone with her lack of the magic almost everyone in her world has, even those who can't show it, like her parents. However, in a last-ditch attempt to find Thea's power, her father sends her to another world, where her teacher, Chevyo, helps her to discover her own abilities.

Back home, however, Thea attends the Wandless Academy, where those hopeless cases are sent to be isolated from magic. There, her strange powers that Chevyo helped her find in the other world come in surprisingly handy when she and a few friends, thought to be talentless and useless by much of their society, are called upon to save their world.

GIFT OF THE UNMAGE was a good book, really, but at times I felt like it had a lot of potential to be even better, so I was a little disappointed. It's still worth the read for those who are looking for this sort of fantasy, however, and I will be looking forward to Ms. Alexander's next books. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
Alma Alexander does an excellent job of showing the angst, self-doubt, hurt, and the defiant self defense mechanisms that somebody in Thea's position might struggle with. You understand her anger mixed with sadness, her fear of that look of disappointment in her father's eyes as she fails in magic school, the one he tries to hide. You sympathize with her jealousy of her six older and magically talented brothers (well, there is Frankie but atleast he has some magic, even if he never quite gets things right.) Plus, she is not the only great character in the book, just the main one. (Warning, bad pun incoming...) It was love at first read! (Feel free to groan now, I did....)

Full Review Here:

Dragons, Heroes and Wizards: Fantasy Series Book Reviews ( )
1 vote Mulluane | May 9, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060839554, Hardcover)

Thus says Cheveyo: mage, teacher, the first person in Thea's life to remain unimpressed by her lineage as Double Seventh, the seventh child of two seventh children. From birth, great things were expected of Thea, gradually replaced by puzzled disappointment as it became evident her magical abilities are, at most, minimal. Now, with Cheveyo, Thea has begun to weave herself a new magical identity, infused with elements of the original worlds where Cheveyo and others like him walk. But back home, she attends the Academy, the one school on earth for those who, like her, can't do magic. It is at the Academy that Thea realizes she will indeed have to fight, since her enemies are hungrier and more dangerous than she thought. What's more, her greatest strength may be the very powerlessness she has resisted for so long.

Alma Alexander has woven a richly invented fantasy out of elements from many cultures, both real and imagined, and a memorable cast of characters.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

As the seventh child born of the union of two seventh children, fourteen-year-old Thea has not fulfilled her parents' hope of having special magical powers, and they try a last, desperate measure before sending her to a school for those with no magical ability.… (more)

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