Thirteenth ChildTitle: Thirteenth Child
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
ISBN: 9780545033428
Pages: 344 pages
Publisher/Date: Scholastic Press, c2009.

“Everybody knows that a seventh son is lucky. […]
Nobody seems to think much about all the other sons, or the daughters. There’s nearly always daughters, because hardly anybody has seven sons right in a row, boom, like that. Sometimes there are so many daughters that people give up trying for seven sons. After all, there’s plenty enough work in raising eleven or twelve childings, and a thirteenth child — son or daughter – is unlucky. So everybody says.
Papa and Mama didn’t pay much attention to what everybody says, I guess, because there are fourteen of us. Lan is the youngest, a double-seven, and he’s half the reason we moved away from Helvan Shores when I was five. The other half of the reason, was me.” (1-2)

Eff is the thirteenth child of a group of fourteen children. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son, which is about as magical as a person can get. After the rest of the family gets word of the rumors flying around town about her being unlucky, they move to the western frontier being newly colonized. Eff is terrified about what her unlucky status could mean for her magic, especially after her magic basically explodes from her at a family wedding. But when magical creatures suddenly appear and begin wrecking havoc on the crops, even Eff is surprised by the outcome.

Fans of Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles (I include myself in this category) will enjoy her new book, Thirteenth Child. However, I was a little disappointed with the book’s ending, as there was a lot of build up for one scene of action. It reminded me of Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn, where the entire book was supposed to lead to one climatic event, and then fizzled into inaction and a more mental display of force than anything else. The character motivations are well detailed though, which makes up for the slow pace. Eff and Lan’s evolution from close twins to seperated from eachother by their gender and magical ability is comparable to what mixed gender sibling groups go through, with each trying to protect the other. Girls who are obsessed with fantasy will gobble this story up.