Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Everyone knows that a seventh son is lucky, and the seventh son of a seventh son is not only doubly lucky, but a natural-born magician as well. Likewise, everyone knows that a thirteenth child is destined to come to no good, or so they say. Thus, Eff is oppressed from her earliest childhood by the stigma of being the thirteenth . . . especially since her twin brother, Lan, is a double seventh son. Fortunately, their parents are well aware of the fact that children often grow into exactly what people expect us them. And so, the family uproots from their comfortable home (and nosy, pushy relatives) back East and move West to the frontier, where folks are mostly too busy staying alive and warding off the wildlife to worry about trivialities like birth order. Not that that keeps Eff from secretly worrying about being cursed.
Reading Thirteenth Child was honestly something of a mind-blowing experience for me. I love fantasy novels, and I’d like to think that I read a wide variety of them. This one is something special and unique, though; it’s like the Little House books in an alternate reality where magic is commonplace. It was kind of weird to get used to, but I enjoyed it. Plus, Patricia C. Wrede is an excellent author and a lot of fun to read. This story was particularly interesting in that the first half or more of the story is very slice-of-life from a young child’s perspective–that’s something you really don’t see much of, especially in fantasies. Eff is quite an interesting character also, as are the numerous people she interacts with over the course of the book. I really would recommend Thirteenth Child as a creative, thoughtful, but fun fantasy with a frontier sort of feel.