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The Wizards of Once : From the Author of How to Train Your Dragon - Cressida Cowell

The Wizards of Once

From the Author of How to Train Your Dragon

Paperback Published: 19th September 2017
ISBN: 9781444939576
Number Of Pages: 384
For Ages: 9 - 11 years old

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From the bestselling author of How to Train Your Dragon comes an exciting high-adventure series - set in an ancient, magical time, full of Wizards, Warriors, Giants and Sprites.

This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.

Perfect for boys and girls who love fantasy adventure...

Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests. Until the Warriors came...

Xar is a Wizard boy who has no Magic, and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns a banned Magical Object, and she will do anything to conceal it.

In this whirlwind adventure, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they're going to make it to the dungeons at Warrior Fort.

Where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring...

Review by Tracey Mills

Cressida Cowell, author of the How To Train Your Dragon series, returns with an utterly engrossing new adventure full of wizards and warriors, giants and werewolves, sprites and magical spoons!

Adults and children alike fell completely in love with the How To Train Your Dragon series. Millions of books were published, the books were adapted in two separate TV series, and several short films and video games were created to tie-in with the books. Two blockbuster movies were also made, with the third instalment coming in 2019, so it would be hard to find a child who doesn’t know the series.

After so much success, I was a little sceptical picking up The Wizards of Once. Could Cressida Cowell possibly give us another series as good as How To Train Your Dragon? I had to find out. And guess what? I actually liked The Wizards of Once even more!

In this world, warriors and wizards are mortal enemies, witches have (possibly) been exterminated, and magical creatures are hunted by the warriors. The story opens with Wish, a warrior princess who is the opposite of your traditional princess, and Bodkin, her bodyguard who has the rather unfortunate habit of falling asleep in the face of danger. They embark on a forbidden adventure through the dark forest with a magical iron sword and spoon.

In the dark forest Wish and Bodkin encounter Xar, son of the King Enchanter, whose magic has not yet manifested. Xar and his band of magical creatures are on a mission to capture a witch so that Xar can take the witch’s magic for himself. As you would expect, nothing quite goes to plan and Wish and Xar find themselves having to work together to save both warriors and wizards alike!

Beautifully illustrated and utterly engrossing, The Wizards of Once is chock-full of adventure, magic, humour and a storyline that will have you hooked until the very last page.


Wizards forgotten


Very disappointing. Shoddy illustrations. Wizards/magic characters invented with little to connect beyond the writer's loose imagination.

McLaren Vale SAusralia


This book was a great hit!


I bought this book for my 9 almost 10 year old grandson. He has previously read all the Dragon books by the same author, Cressida Cowell. He was delighted by this book, had to keep sharing what he had read! He just can't wait for the new one to be published - please make it soon!

Central Coast, Australia


Page-turner for kids


Bought this to read to grandsons, 10 & 7 yo. They love it. Story is scary but didn't phase them, also funny - and plenty of detailed illustrations, maps etc for them to pore over and go back to. Highly recommend.

Sydney, Australia


The Wizards of Once

3.7 3


The story moves at a cracking pace. * Teaching English * A new fantasy world drawing on the background of Ancient Britain. The book is engagingly written with humorous illustrations and sketches adding to the flavour and vividness of the writing. A must of any KS2 reader who likes fast-paced adventure. * The English Association * Packed with Cowell's own quirky illustrations and as imaginative, funny and warm-hearted as the Dragon books. * The Wrexham Leader * Full of quirky illustrations, it is a pacy read. * Cornish Times * The illustrations of Xar, Wish, the magical creatures, notices and maps will be familiar to fans of How to Train Your Dragon but they are darker and have more of a feel of Tinder or A Monster Calls. An enjoyable read for anyone who loves the idea that 'Once there was Magic'. * The School Librarian * If your kids adored How to Train Your Dragon, they'll be thrilled by the new The Wizards of Once. * Family Traveller * A wildly entertaining and funny adventure. It is a visual treat to snuggle up with or read together with an adult. * South Wales Evening Post (Swansea) * This is a spellbinding adventure. It's so brilliantly entertaining, exciting and scary, you'll be desperate to get your hands on the sequel. * The Week Junior * The book bristles with rambunctious energy and humour, and feels as if it has been slapped down on the page with glee and mischief. And its characters are irresistible. * The Glasgow Herald * Funny, thoughtful, lively and suprisingly wise, it is another coup for Cowell. * The Sunday Times Ireland * Packed with Cowell's own quirkly illustrations, and as imaginative, funny and warm-hearted as the Dragon books, The Wizards of Once is a pacy, exciting read that's sure to herald another hit series. * Gainsborough Echo * A treat for old fans and newcomers alike. * S Magazine * Without ever losing the qualities that have made her books so deservedly popular, very gently (and cleverly) Cressida Cowell leads her young readers into something deeper, something richer, something even more magical. In doing so, her contribution to children's literature follows exactly the same path. She is a true hero of current children's fiction. Her books are a gift and children, parents, carers, and teachers should all be deeply grateful for it. * Magic Fiction Since Potter * Fans of How To Train Your Dragon who have been waiting for Cressida Cowell's new series will not be disappointed. Wizards, warriors, magic and two fab new mini heroes. * Weekly Scoop * I really enjoyed this book because there were moments of suspense where you could guess what would happen and 9 times out of 10 be shocked by what happened. It was really fun and a good read, I love how it all intertwines and locks. It is a book you get drawn into and can't put down and I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out because it leaves a real cliff hanger of an ending! An incredible read. 5 out of 5 * Primary Times * Cressida Cowell is a gifted author with a real talent for taking her readers right inside her fantasy worlds. Now we have the start of a great new series, with more to look forward to...The illustrations by the author are an outstanding feature of the book - they really convey the atmosphere and propel the reader into this fantastical world. Totally absorbing. * Parents in Touch * It's so brilliantly entertaining, exciting and scary, you'll be desperate to get your hands on the sequel. * The Week Junior * I loved The Wizards of Once. Of course! The new world Cowell has created is just as vivid...There's plenty of magic in Cowell's wild woods and it rises from the pages fresh and clear and with fizzling energy... And it's funny, as you'd expect. Cheerfully funny with daft jokes and slapstick and sharp dialogue... The underlying theme is one of tolerance of difference. She writes with empathy and encourages it in her readers that way. So much better to let kids come to their own conclusions once you've gently pointed them in the right direction. I think this is one reason why Cowell is so popular - there is a trust between author and reader that both feel and respect. * The Book Bag * The Wizards of Once is... terrific... a rollercoaster of suspense. * The Guardian * Wizards, warriors, sprites and snow cats in a brilliant new fantasy adventure. * The Bookseller * bristles with rambunctious energy and humour, and feels as if it has been slapped down on the page with glee and mischief....its characters, Xar the wizard who has no magic, and Wish the warrior princess, who happens to have a magic spoon, are irresistible. * Herald Scotland * An exciting and promising start... A fantastical adventure ensues, filled with mythical beasts, cliff-hangers and an epic struggle between good and evil * The Scotsman * ... it is by turns grim, poignant, philosophical and terrifying, woven through with Cowell's slapstick humour. * The Times Literary Supplement * ... sustain a sense of wonder and mayhem from start to finish. Cowell skillfully mixes adventure with silliness in a satisfying story for younger fantasy fans. * Publishers Weekly * I am pleased to report that The Wizards of Once...is terrific. It introduces us to a new fantasy world, though its roots again lie deep in a familiar mulch of history and legend. Not the Norse myths this time, but a fantasia of ancient Britain, a land of dark, mysterious forests and powerful magic. What follows is a rollercoaster of suspense and surprise...The book has all the familiar Cowell trademarks. The story never flags, even at moments of calm and reflection, and the writing has humour, grit and depth. She provides her own illustrations, and their scratchy style and scribbled annotations strike the right note. It all adds up to a beautifully designed hardback volume. * The Guardian * The detail of Cowell's world is a delight...This one will run and run. * The Observer * Cowell's latest work offers a fully realized fantasy world abounding with witches, sprites, killer plants, and talking ravens. Her scrappy teenage protagonists are wonderfully flawed and almost scarily realistic in their bravery, selfishness, and desire to please their parents yet not surrender their individuality. The omniscient narrator's voice is pitch-perfect, sounding appropriately young without ever talking down to the target audience. Readers will fall in love with the imaginative worldbuilding and humorous dialogue and asides....A delightful magical romp. * Kirkus Reviews * The first volume of a new series by author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon series is an event....Funny, thoughtful and surprisingly wise and lively, this is another coup from Cowell * The Sunday Times * World-conquering * The Guardian *

ISBN: 9781444939576
ISBN-10: 1444939572
Series: The Wizards of Once
Audience: Children
For Ages: 9 - 11 years old
For Grades: 4 - 6
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 19th September 2017
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5  x 3.1
Weight (kg): 0.53
Edition Number: 1

Cressida Cowell

About the Author

Cressida Cowell grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. She was convinced that there were dragons living on this island, and has been fascinated by dragons ever since. She has a BA in English Literature from Oxford University, a BA in Graphic Design from St Martin's and an MA in Narrative Illustration from Brighton. Cressida loves illustrating her own work, but also loves writing books for other people to illustrate as the end result can be so unexpected and inspiring.

Cressida has written and illustrated eight books in the popular Hiccup series. The unique blend of child centred humour and sublime prose made Hiccup an instant hit. How to Train Your Dragon is now published in over 30 languages. A DreamWorks Animation feature film is out in March 2010. Also the author of picture books, Cressida has won the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 and has been shortlisted for many others. Cressida lives in Hammersmith with her husband and three children.

Visit Cressida Cowell's Booktopia Author Page

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