on April 1st, 2007 Genres: Fantasy & Magic
, Middle Grade
, Science Fiction Format:
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It’s been a year since Septimus Heap discovered his real family and true calling to be a wizard. As Apprentice to Extra Ordinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand, he is learning the fine arts of Conjurations, Charms, and other Magyk, while Jenna is adapting to life as the Princess and enjoying the freedom of the Castle.
But there is something sinister at work. Marcia is constantly trailed by a menacing Darke Shadow, and Septimus’s brother Simon seems bent on a revenge no one understands. Why is the Darke Magyk still lingering?
Bringing fantasy to new heights, Angie Sage continues the journey of Septimus Heap with her trademark humor and all of the clever details readers have come to love.
If you have not heard of 7 Months of Septimus or of the Septimus Heap series, please go here before reading this post.
If you are participating in 7 Months of Septimus: Whether you have finished reading Flyte, are just starting or are in the middle of the book, this review/fun post will not spoil it for you. You have ample time to finish reading Flyte, do not feel pressured because other readers may be starting Physik, the third book, which we will be reading in May. Read at your own pace, and enjoy Septimus Heap!
Welcome Back to the World of Septimus Heap!
In Flyte, Angie Sage takes us somewhere totally new. Welcome to the Badlands, described as, well, bad. Full of terrifying creatures, steep cliffs and rocks, darkness, and now, Simon Heap.
Speaking of Simon….
A Character Analysis of Simon Heap
Simon Heap changes so much during Flyte, and even more as the series goes on. I think there is a bit of Simon in all of us. We want to be the best, we feel left out, we push people away, we desire things that aren’t for us.
Take a look at how Simon is described in the first chapters of Magyk:
“Simon had a fishing rod in one hand and a book in the other. It was Simon’s ambition to be the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, and he was busy reading all of Silas’s old magic books.”
Though this description is extremely short, I noticed three important things when first being introduced to Simon: 1) He is happy and seems content 2) He is with his family and doesn’t seem to mind spending time with them, and 3) He is a very ambitious boy.
Watch how those three things change instantly in this description of him from the beginning of Flyte:
“At last they reach the edge of the Marsh, where upon the skeleton climbs out of the canoe and leads the tall, fair-haired young man into the bleakest place he has ever been. As the young man follows the shambling gait of the skeleton through a desolate landscape, the thought of what he has left behind briefly crosses him mind. But only briefly, for this is his new life now and he will show them all–and then they’ll be sorry.
Especially when he becomes the ExtraOrdinary Wizard.”
After reading that description, I was shocked. Suddenly, Simon’s with a skeleton and travelling to a bleak place. Suddenly, he seems to hate his family, and he’s abandoning them. Suddenly, he’s gone to the Darke side, and not only that, he’s going to force his way into the position of the ExtraOrdinary Wizard. The first time I read Flyte, I was not expecting this total change in Simon’s character. He seemed like the good big brother, just ambitious and a bit insecure. What changed him?
I’ll tell you what changed him, folks: Jealousy.
He’s jealous of Septimus’s new position as Marcia’s apprentice; he’s angry that Jenna and Septimus have just been immediately accepted into his family after their identities are uncovered. He probably feels really alone, too. And he deals with these things by blaming Jenna and Septimus. He decides to ignore his family’s love and go work for the Darke side, because he believes those on that side can get him what he wants.
As Flyte continues, Simon does some things his Mum would not be proud of: he kidnaps and threatens his own sister, tries to kill Marcia, works for DomDaniel, and has a total tantrum at the end of the book where he tries to kill multiple family members. That murdering GIF from above hits a little too close to home for Simon and his actions.
You, as the reader, are probably very confused as to why I compared you and myself to Simon above. After all, I just told you that he’s basically an angry murderer and Darke Wizard. However, besides being all of those things, he’s a human being. People are often searching for their own paths, and can easily turn away from their families. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but I do think Simon is a prime example of this. He got carried away with his desires and started working for the wrong people. What happens to Simon is revealed as the series progresses.
Angie Sage on Simon Heap’s Character
Please note: There are spoilers here about certain characters’ lives in the later books. If you have not read Fyre and do not want to be spoiled by some minor details, please take note of this spoiler warning.
“Like everyone, I got to know Simon Heap first early in Book One: Magyk. It was a brief meeting, down by the river when he was only seven, playing on the beach with his father and his five brothers. I knew at once from that glimpse that Simon was ambitious and loved Magyk.
The whole Simon story sprang from that. Being the oldest of so many boys, I knew he would expect to be the most important, the most successful, the most Magykally talented. So when number seven son, Septimus Heap, comes back into his life and seemingly effortlessly becomes centre of attention and then to cap it all takes the Apprenticeship that Simon had longed for all his life, I knew this was a disaster for Simon.
I also knew that Simon was not a straightforward good guy. He wanted power and knowledge and he was going to get it one way or another. But he was also very human: he loved Lucy Gringe, he was not as brave as he would like to be and he missed his family when they weren’t around.
But by the time we got to Book Two: Flyte, Simon was in deep trouble. He was working for the evil DomDaniel and was involved in a plot to destroy Marcia Overstrand. He had kidnapped his adoptive sister, Jenna, and we knew he would have killed her if he had had to.
Simon should have been a lost cause. How can anyone get back from behaving so … well, the word has to be: wickedly. No one can, surely? But the trouble was that whenever I wrote Simon, I liked him. And I felt some sympathy for him too. There’s his baby brother, Septimus, constantly getting everything Simon had ever wanted without even trying. It’s a tough thing to deal with. So I made it my task for the series to find a way for Simon to come back from his time in the Darke. But I was determined that it would not be easy. He’d done some terrible things and he would have to go through some difficult times and work very hard if he truly wanted to redeem himself. But I hoped that in the end he would. And of course that he and his Lucy would be married and Mrs Gringe would get to wear her wedding hat.
I say ‘hoped’ because when I write I am never sure how things will turn out for characters; and Simon did have a way of sabotaging things. But with Lucy Gringe on my side too, I thought that Simon was going to have to turn his life around eventually.
If you are a Simon Heap fan, I’d recommend downloading The Dark Toad. It is a small window into his lost year between Magyk and Flyte when he lived at the worked for DomDaniel’s bones. Our last time with Simon is in PathFinder, Book One of the TodHunter Moon series, where we see his marriage with Lucy seven years on, and meet their son, William.
That’s all from Simon Heap for now, but I don’t rule out writing more about him one day. Simon has turned into one of the most interesting and complex characters of the Septimus Heap series.”
From chocolate doors to Dragons, I think Flyte was truly about expanding the the world and the characters. Jenna and Septimus start to step into their roles as Castle dignitaries, and we get to know Marcia and Simon much more. Family relationships are tested, adventures begin. The word I would use to describe this installment is a simple one: Fun.
“You can’t just rattle off like a demented parrot.”
“Don’t go to the circus.”
“Fly free with me.”
“‘Oh dear,’ said Sarah anxiously. ‘I do wish he wouldn’t do these silly things.'”
“‘I’m sure we all wish that, Sarah,’ said Marcia sternly. ‘But unfortunately he has progressed rather further than the silly stage. Evil-minded scheming is more what I would call it.'”
“Use your head, Sep. Loads of wolverines. Hanging around, waiting for supper. Getting excited. Eating Mint Blasts. So what do you think they do?”
“It must be here. They can’t have eaten that…I dunno, Nik, what do they do?”
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT FLYTE? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS!
Reading Next: Physik
Physik is in a tie with Darke and Fyre for being my favorite installment in the Septimus Heap series, but it was my favorite quite early on, and I treasure it so much as a novel. Get ready for Ancient Queens, poisonous pets, time travel, alchemists, and even MORE complicated family relations. Grab yourself a copy and start reading! Enjoy it, and enjoy 7 Months of Septimus Heap!