Review: Rival Magic

Title: Rival Magic
Author: Deva Fagan
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

A young wizard’s apprentice discovers that the best magic is not the biggest or the brightest, but the magic unique to you, in this cinematic middle grade fantasy in the tradition of Kiki’s Delivery Service and The School for Good and Evil.

Antonia may not be the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen, but she’s worked hard to win her place as apprentice to renowned sorcerer Master Betrys. Unfortunately, even her best dancing turnip charm might not be enough when Moppe the scullery maid turns out to be a magical prodigy. Now that Betrys has taken Moppe on as a second apprentice, Antonia’s path to wizarding just got a bit more complicated.

But when Betrys is accused of treason, Antonia and Moppe are forced to go on the run. To prove their master’s innocence—and their own—the rivals must become allies. As their island province teeters on the brink of rebellion, they’ll face ancient spells, vengeful mermaids, enchanted turnips, voice-stealing forests, and one insatiable sea monster. 


Antonia is a wizard’s apprentice, but she isn’t very good at magic. One night when she is practicing magic, the new kitchen maid finds her. It turns out that she can do the spell better than Antonia. The kitchen maid, Moppe, becomes the next apprentice because her magic abilities are so strong. Then, the wizard they work with is accused with treason, leaving Antonia and Moppe to run away and look for evidence to prove their master’s innocence. They end up on a journey through the island to find the crown that belongs to the rightful leader.

This story had all the elements of a great children’s fantasy novel. There were magical creatures, such as a talking ferret who was sent to spy on their wizard master. There were dancing turnips, enchanted mermaids, and a nightmare forest. There were also betrayals and deception.

The magical world is controlled by words. The wizards learn words that give them different spell abilities. There are thousands of different words to create spells. That means that they can’t do a spell until they have learned how to say the word for it. This is a problem for Moppe who cannot read. It gave her a unique challenge that she had to find a way to overcome. Since I love words, this was a fascinating world to me.

This was a really good fantasy story!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1) by Soman Chainani

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying (Royal Guide to Monster Slaying #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Have you read Rival Magic? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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