I had really high hopes for this book when I picked it up. I'd seen it in the book store many times, and had been wanting to read it for a while. It's been described as combining the magic of Harry Potter with the cunning characters of Artemis Fowl. I love both of these series and was hoping that this book truely would have a slight flavor of both.
However, I really didn't like it! It started out kind of interesting - with the seventh son of a seventh son pronounced dead soon after birth (but it's always pretty obvious that he's not really dead, but kidnapped) and his parents taken in a baby girl found in the woods. The book then zips forward ten years and we find out who the girl child really is - the princess. Characters are popping in and out (still have no idea what most of the sons' names are), and before you know it they are all on the run to escape the Hunter and the evil wizard. The Hunter is supposed to be this big scary guy with a silver bullet that's going to hunt down the princess until he kills her. But somehow the gang manages to out run him (in a slower boat), and deceive them (with a spell), and reach the fens where they are all of a sudden safe?? The Hunter just goes back in defeat! And then the book comes to a screeching halt. I was left for 100+ pages wondering what the point was now. There was no immenent threat and the characters just seemed to be killing time. I was bored of the book by this point and almost quit reading it. But I have a really hard time stopping a book without finishing it. So I pressed on. It actually did get a little better. But the threats to the kids' safety seemed to come out of nowhere, and the keys to their salvation were even more out of the blue! I realize this is a kids book, but really - couldn't the author think of something a little more inventive than a magical boat appearing out of nowhere in an underground temple, oh, and the boat just happens to be a dragon too! Don't even get me started on the magic ring Boy 412 finds in a dark tunnel! I was just waiting for Golem to come around the corner!
The end of the book redeemed it a little. There was an interesting twist, and we finally found out what happened to Septimus. Still, I'm not sure if it redeemed it enough for me to bother reading the rest of this series.