Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What's Your Special Power?

Imagine if every family had a guardian wizard who is one of the family and takes over the responsibility from one of their grandparents at age 10. That is the background to The Wishwell's Family Wizard by Maya Resnick and Noa Covo.

There are two connected stories. The first is about Mel Wishwell receiving her wizardship and the second is 50 years later when Mel's grandson, Liam, takes over as family wizard. We like books spanning generations, seeing how everyone grows up and how their lives pan out. It also gave the opportunity for a heroine and a hero in one book.

Another wizard book yes, but one with a difference. Resnick and Covo were only 11 when they wrote this novelette (107 pages) and 12 when it was published in 2015. Yes it is self-published and it could have done with some proof-reading and editing but that's not the point. For me this is the point, or the points:

1. How wonderful to have your book in print. Anyone who has had to have a university dissertation or thesis professionally bound knows that you can go to a printer and have your work made into a book. That's how I did it way back when, and now there are all sorts of online services that make it even easier.

2. The kudos is for actually writing a story of sufficient length to make it worth publishing.

3. And never mind the length, feel the quality. The story kept us reading 100 pages over four nights. DD looked forward to it every night, urging me on to read her a few more pages each time I wanted to stop.

It's a book full of humour and some of it had DD rolling all over the bed in fits of giggles. Long after we finished reading last night she kept saying, "and don't wish for Great Aunt Penny's cat to talk, to be covered in polka-dots and for it to take over the world." She even explained to me why this was so funny. "Because there are lots of general rules like 'be nice', 'don't hurt anyone', 'don't wish for more power', and then suddenly she tells this very specific rule that he probably wouldn't even have thought of doing." And then she dissolved into laughter again.

There are lots of Rowlingesque details that get revealed later in the stories. Though we know why not all of us have a family wizard - we used to but over the years wizards have lost their power and then the line is broken forever - we find that there are other families besides the Wishwells who do still have their powers. We find out about family Keepers and Relic Collectors, about the book of Wizard Traditions and the book of Family History. There is a Memory Eraser and a mysterious wishing well. I was very impressed by the writing skill involved in not revealing all the information too soon and allowing the reader new discoveries at intervals along the plot.

For me the best thing about The Wishwell's Family Wizard is the suggestion that not only the designated wizard, but all the members of the family have special powers. They just need to discover what they are and awaken them. Even DD caught on to this idea. She pondered, "I wonder what my special power is?" What indeed? And what a wonderful thought to be left with on finishing a book.

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