The Magician’s Daughter by H.G. Parry – ARC Review!

It is 1912, and for the last seventy years magic has all but disappeared from the world. Yet magic is all Biddy has ever known.
Orphaned as a baby, Biddy grew up on Hy-Brasil, a legendary island off the coast of Ireland hidden by magic and glimpsed by rare travellers who return with stories of wild black rabbits and a lone magician in a castle. To Biddy, the island is her home, a place of ancient trees and sea-salt air and mysteries, and the magician, Rowan, is her guardian. She loves both, but as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she is stifled by her solitude and frustrated by Rowan’s refusal to let her leave. 
One night, Rowan fails to come home from his mysterious travels. To rescue him, Biddy ventures into his nightmares and learns not only where he goes every night, but that Rowan has powerful enemies. Determination to protect her home and her guardian, Biddy’s journey will take her away from the safety of her childhood, to the poorhouses of Whitechapel, a secret castle beneath London streets, the ruins of an ancient civilisation, and finally to a desperate chance to restore lost magic. But the closer she comes to answers, the more she comes to question everything she has ever believed about Rowan, her own origins, and the cost of bringing magic back into the world.

Parry has done it again. I have read every single one of her books, and not one has let me down in anyway. The Magician’s daughter takes us back to our childhood, to a time when we believed in magic, that it could do anything and a time when we would have given anything for the chance to see it in action. It’s a coming of age story that, apart from being magical and set on an island that doesn’t exist, reads as incredibly realistic, and it’s a story that I adored.

Biddy loves her life in Hy Brasil, a legendary Island off the coast of Ireland, where she lives with Rowan, a mage and Hutch, his Rabbit familiar. Orphaned as a child she found herself there, and has been there ever since, but she longs to see the real world, something Rowan has forbidden claiming it is too dangerous. But one night Rowan fails to come home from one of his mysterious journey’s and Biddy is determined to find and help him, something that sets her on a path she could never have imagined. A path that will take her away from the safety of the Island and to the mainland where she see’s that reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Now embroiled in a plan to bring magic back to the world. Biddy starts to question everything Rowan has told her, about herself and about him, and she will soon come to realise that the cost of bringing back magic may be one she doesn’t want to pay.

Telling this story from Biddy’s pov was a stroke of genius. She is naive and sheltered, but she is also incredibly headstrong and determined when she puts her mind to something. But what makes it so special was Parry’s decision to have her live a life that most of us would have dreamed of as a child, with Biddy herself wishing nothing more than to return to the ‘real world’ and live a life like anyone else. Her life of magic, of running wild, climbing tree’s, never knowing true danger is something we could only ever have dreamed of, have read about in our books. But for Biddy it was the opposite, she loves her life, but she longs for more, for normality, to see the world, the people the places, but the only vision she has of this life is through her readings, and when she reaches this ever elusive reality, she realises that it is nothing like she imagined.

Alongside Biddy we meet a multitude of characters with the two main ones being Rowan her guardian and the only person she has ever known, Hutch, Rowan’s familiar and someone who spends his time mostly in Rabbit form. We also meet multiple other Mage’s from Rowan’s past life, but Parry makes the decision to keep our main cast small which means we get to spend more time with them, learning more about them, their past, their wants and desires and this all helped to propel, not only Biddy’s story, but the overall story as well.

The magic system in this was truly unique and, for me, linked back to the kind of magic I used to believe in as a child, magical magic if that makes sense. The magic that could change your path in life, cure an illness, make your day seem a little bit better, the invisible magic we can’t see, and might otherwise claim as a miracle, but we appreciate when it chooses to help us. Parry chose never to go into too much detail about the types of mage’s, their skill set’s, instead she lets us view it through the lens of Biddy who never looses her sense of wonder, nor her disappointment that she will never be able to access it like Rowan and the other Mage’s do, but this decision brings a bit more magic to the story itself.

Parry uses the treatment of magic in this story as an almost scathing indictment of humanity. She shows how we would rather use something to the point of extinction than risk never using it at all, that we never truly look for balance in our treatment of things, rather ownership and how these beliefs will slowly but surely rid our world of any magic it has left. Through Rowan’s POV we see his fellow mages treating magic as a commodity, something to be hoarded rather than shared knowing what a difference it would make. But he teaches Biddy that magic is for everyone, that it’s good, it only gets used for bad in the hands of humans, and although she spends the story having magic just out of her grasp seeing her delve into the world, not as a mage, but as something wholly more important, was truly amazing to read.

Though the first part of the book took a little time to warm up, once Biddy reaches the mainland, the story sets off at a breakneck pace and I found it near impossible to put down. This isn’t as descriptive, nor intense as Parry’s previous books, so it is easier to fly through. There are multiple plot twists, so many of which I tried to guess at but failed miserably, but the true heart of this story lies in the relationships. Parry writes them so incredibly realistically of a parent and child style relationship. One which is never truly equal, one filled with hidden truths, secrets kept with the intention of safety, but one’s that generally bring more danger. Biddy loves Rowan and Hutch more than she can ever articulate, they have kept her safe and given her a life most children would dream of, but through the story she also comes to see them as fallible beings, people that can be wrong, that can make bad decisions, people that haven’t always been truly good. She really comes of age in this book and every single interaction, every single relationship she forges is incredibly realistic and added an extra dimension to the story.

Absolutely mega long review there… sorry, but when I love a book I do struggle to stop talking about it! Parry was already one of my all time favourite authors and an insta pick, but she just cements my love for her more with every book. The Magician’s Daughter is a story that doesn’t shy away from reality and I adored every single part of it.

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