Gift of the Unmage (Worldweavers Series #1)
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Gift of the Unmage (Worldweavers Series #1)

3.5 7
by Alma Alexander
     
 

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Who knew you'd be a true weaver?

Great things have been expected of Thea, the seventh child of two seventh children. Now, with Cheveyo, a mage, Thea has begun to weave herself a new magical identity, infused with elements of the original worlds. But back home, Thea keeps her abilities hidden and attends the Wandless Academy, the one school on Earth for those who

Overview

Who knew you'd be a true weaver?

Great things have been expected of Thea, the seventh child of two seventh children. Now, with Cheveyo, a mage, Thea has begun to weave herself a new magical identity, infused with elements of the original worlds. But back home, Thea keeps her abilities hidden and attends the Wandless Academy, the one school on Earth for those who have no apparent magical talent. It is there that Thea realizes that her enemies are hungrier and more dangerous than she knew. What's more, her greatest strength may be the powerlessness she has resisted for so long.

Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Readers will find the inscrutible Thea remarkable.”
ALA Booklist
“Alexander does an exquisite job of showing Thea’s growth, her ability to maintain her own counsel, and her boldness.”
Locus
“Entertainingly different, engagingly familiar.”
Realms of Fantasy
“An excellent start to a new series with a fascinating premise.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Readers will find the inscrutible Thea remarkable."
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Readers will find the inscrutible Thea remarkable.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Readers will find the inscrutible Thea remarkable.”
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Fourteen-year-old Thea is a "double-seven"—the seventh child of two seventh children—in a near-future Earth where magical abilities count. She is, however, a dud, as her six older brothers are quick to acknowledge. In a final bid to reclaim her rightful abilities, she is sent back in time to study with an Anasazi shaman in the southwest. Here she meets Grandmother Spider, Trickster, other Old World figures, and realizes her worth just in time to thwart an alien menace on returning to her own place in time. Alma Alexander's fantasy is part boarding school story—a la Hogwarts in reverse—but primarily an extended meditation on Thea's months-long "walk" through ancient lands and philosophies in search of her true self. Her journey from "whiner' to intelligent questioner is a little fuzzy at times, as is the accomplishment of her final coup. Still, kids bred on Harry Potter might find this story an amusing diversion.
VOYA - Teri S. Lesesne
Born the seventh child of two seventh children, Thea is expected to achieve great things in terms of her magical ability. However hard she tries, though, she cannot seem to perform even the most fundamental of spells, transformations, or anything else. In desperation, her parents send her through a Portal to the care of Cheveyo, an ancient magician of the First World. Under his tutelage, Thea comes to understand that she indeed does have great power, which she will need to use if she is to protect her own world from the encroaching Nothing that is threatening the best of the mages. With her friends at the Wandless Academy, Thea is able to call upon her powers to protect her world. Doing so might just have alerted those who would use her talent for personal gain. This novel combines elements of magic, culture, and spirituality with a firm grounding in the very real world of Thea as she struggles to find her identity in her family and in the world of magic. Native American culture is highlighted via Thea's journey through the Portal to the First World. Thea's friends at the Wandless Academy all possess abilities that, although none have deemed magical, serve to assist Thea when she confronts the evil forces in her world. It would be easy to cast this book as a Harry Potter clone. Although it will appeal to those who love Harry, there is much more in store for readers who discover, along with Thea, the ordinary magic in the world around them.
KLIATT - Cara Chancellor
As the seventh child of two powerful seventh children, Galathea Winthrop was expected to grow into magical abilities beyond anything previously imagined. Instead, she has spent the last 17 years trying desperately to achieve something, anything, in her Ars Magica class at school. Thea has learned to live with her older brothers' jokes about her lack of abilities, but what she cannot face is the look in her father's eyes each time she tries to do magic and fails. After one last failed magical attempt, Thea overhears her parents talking about sending her to the Wandless Academy, the only school in the country for those who cannot perform magic (otherwise known as the Last Ditch School for the Incurably Incompetent, at least to Thea). Thea's final chance to awaken her dormant gift is a mysterious trip back in time to meet with an even more mysterious tutor, a member of a now-extinct people known as the Anasazi. In the Anasazi's ancient world, Thea learns that she is not incapable of performing magic, but rather that her spiritual self chose not to let her, at least in her world. Now, she must figure out why, before those from whom she was protecting herself discover that she has found her powers. Gift of the Unmage is an incredibly fresh and unique twist on young adult fantasy that blends contemporary ideas and ancient magic with phenomenal skill. Like the Harry Potter series and other books in the "Cinderella" genre, Alexander's novel will appeal to anyone who has ever secretly wished for an undiscovered talent that would change his/her life. Occasional convenient plot devices and the young-adult mindset of the heroine may make this book slightly too elementary for theadvanced or discerning fantasy reader, but in all other senses it is a perfect, page-turning weekend companion.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060839574
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/11/2008
Series:
Worldweavers Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.83(d)
Lexile:
1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Wolf Moon

"You smell angry," Aunt Zoë said as she walked in through the door, sniffing in Thea's direction like a hound dog scenting prey.

She was always coming up with things like that. Things like The wind looks blue. Or That song was scratchier than a scouring pad! Or telling someone that their purple dress was "loud," and meaning it quite literally. She heard things other people smelled, or saw things other people heard, or absorbed colors through the tips of her fingers.

Although she had been only three at the time, Thea vividly remembered the time that Zoë had said that the wind was blue. It might have been the first real, coherent memory that she could lay claim to. She had piped up with enthusiastic agreement, and had not failed to notice the immediate excitement her words had caused. What she had failed to understand at the time were the reasons behind that excitement, and had happily mimicked Aunt Zoë's strange ways on several occasions after that, seeking the approval that she had received the first time she had done it. But it had become all too obvious very quickly that she was merely saying the words, not experiencing them the way that Zoë did. The passing years had made Thea wiser. People had still been expecting great things of her when she was very young—anything she did, anything she said, might have a sign of the Double Seventh latency waking into its full potential. But it always fell flat, usually with someone sighing deeply, "Oh, Thea." She'd been almost six years old before she realized that her full name was not, in fact, both those words.

"I'm just upset," Thea said toher aunt, kicking the edge of the couch with the heel of her free foot, the one she had not folded comfortably underneath her. "Have they been at you again?"

Thea made a face. "They're always at me."

"What is it now?"

Thea gestured at the dining room table in the next room, where two objects rested amid an untidy heap of papers. One of them was a perfectly seamless metallic cube. The other was an irregularly shaped blob that may or may not have been made of the same material, and looked like something angular had tried and failed to hatch from a steel egg.

"What on earth is that?" Zoë said, fascinated.

"Ars Magica class assignment. We were supposed to turn the cube into the ball."

Zoë tore her eyes from the thing on the table and turned a sympathetic gaze on her niece. "Uh-oh. Did you do that?"

"You mean the blob? Nope. That was Frankie's effort. The cube . . . is mine."

The frustration and humiliation of an Ars Magica class were nothing new for Thea. The routine hardly ever varied—an assignment would be given, and then, at the end of the class, certain students would be invited to stay behind. Thea was invariably one of them; her brother Frankie, who was a year behind his peer group and known to be a klutz with anything magical, was another. But even Frankie could eventually do some part of the assignment, in however ham-fisted a way, while Thea could not even manage something that could be classified as a mistake. There would be others, whom Thea bitterly recognized as window dressing, who were there only to show that she was not singled out for anything—as though she could be fooled. The reactions of the others ranged from sympathy (from some who had to work harder at their own talents than the rest) to smoldering resentment for even being forced to sit in the same classroom as the two Winthrop siblings and being tainted by so much as being in their presence. Afterward in the cafeteria, one particularly vicious classmate had complained loudly about being forced to breathe the same air as Dunce and Idiot over there and how their ineptitudes were already eating at his own abilities.

"I can feel it," he had said in a mock-dolorous voice, his hand raised to his forehead in the manner of old television melodramas. "It's all fading, it's all going awaaaaaay. . . . This time tomorrow I'll be no more than a dumb 'dim, and my parents will disown me."

"Ah, I wouldn't worry," one of his henchmen said with a sly glance over at the other table where Thea sat by herself, with her hair hanging over her face to hide her flaming cheeks. "Their parents still love them, wouldn't you know. . . ."

It only became worse when Thea and Frankie brought their Ars Magica transformations back home that day. Thea had produced hers with a sinking heart, without raising her head to meet her father's eyes.

"What was it?" Thea's mother had asked.

"That," Thea muttered. "It was the cube."

"What was it supposed to be?" asked Anthony, the oldest brother. It was a Friday, he was home from college for the weekend and full of more than his usual smug self-importance.

Thea muttered something under her breath.

"What?" Anthony said.

"Oh, Thea," Frankie said. He produced his own effort, half cube, half shapeless blob. "It was supposed to be . . ."

"Well, not that," Anthony said with a chuckle.

"A ball," said Frankie defiantly. "It was supposed to be a ball."

"You mean like this one?" Anthony had picked up Thea's untransformed cube and had been turning it over in his fingers; now he passed his other hand over it, murmuring a single word, and he was suddenly holding a smooth metal sphere that sat on his palm like an accusation.

Thea grabbed for it. "Give it back! That was mine!"

"Oh," Anthony said, "okay." He passed his hand over it again before she had a chance to snatch it, and it was back in cube form.

"Anthony," Paul murmured, in a halfhearted reproof.

"Show-off," Thea snarled, still avoiding looking at her father, her fingers curling around her cube as though she wanted to throw it. "When I get to University—"

Worldweavers: Gift of the Unmage. Copyright © by Alma Alexander. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Alma Alexander is the author of several previous novels, including Worldweavers: Gift of the Unmage and Worldweavers: Spellspam. She was born in Yugoslavia, grew up in the United Kingdom and Africa, and now lives in the state of Washington.

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3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Thea is a double seventh--a seventh child of two seventh children--and so, as soon as she is born, great things are expected of her. Everyone waits anxiously for her sure-to-be powerful magic to reveal itself.

And waits. And waits.

She disappoints everyone with her lack of the magic almost everyone in her world has, even those who can't show it, like her parents. However, in a last-ditch attempt to find Thea's power, her father sends her to another world, where her teacher, Chevyo, helps her to discover her own abilities.

Back home, however, Thea attends the Wandless Academy, where those hopeless cases are sent to be isolated from magic. There, her strange powers that Chevyo helped her find in the other world come in surprisingly handy when she and a few friends, thought to be talentless and useless by much of their society, are called upon to save their world.

GIFT OF THE UNMAGE was a good book, really, but at times I felt like it had a lot of potential to be even better, so I was a little disappointed. It's still worth the read for those who are looking for this sort of fantasy, however, and I will be looking forward to Ms. Alexander's next books.
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Melhay More than 1 year ago
Thea is 14 years old. She's the seventh child of two seventh children, which means she is to be very powerful. Thea wants to go to the best magical University when she gets older. But, there is one thing holding her back...she doesn't have the magical touch, at all. She's not able to perform any magical projects. She feels she's letting her parents down. They have tried everything they can to help Thea find her magical nitch. Now, there is only one thing left to try and her father will call in a huge favor to try it. In her eavesdropping Thea knows her parents have plans for her and if these plans with some private lessons don't work, she will be sent to that place next year. That place is The Wandless Academy, where non-magical children go to school. Non-magical children and schools are the minority and she feels she will become nothing in a magical world without magical powers. This is a world where magic exists in a big way, and in many different specialities and levels. If you don't have magic, you don't amount to much of anything here, or as Thea feels. There is a big world starting to be created here with endless magical possibilities; from our traditional telepathy between family members to traditional magic with music or shepherd mages and different levels of mages. We even have portals to travel to different places and through time. This young adult read is not one for lots of violence or intimacy of boyfriend/girlfriend, but what I did enjoy from it was the American Indian mythology usage. This was a great mythology to set with this world. Alma relates the things Thea learns my using the beliefs to the current time and place Thea lives in. Thea starts off as a typical teenage child who in a way feels sorry for herself and guilty for her lack of powers, in relation to her parents. She has a wonderful and open relationship with her Aunt. As she is close with her parents, it's just she feels she has let them down, being expected to be so powerful. Thea really grows greatly through this book with what she learns while with Chevery. Then how she uses it when she returns home to willingly go to the Wardless Academy. Thea makes some wonderful and unusual friends there at the school. But it is a time she will never forget, for the things she accomplishes. I enjoyed the journeys Thea takes to understand herself. Through the beliefs and teachings Thea goes through she learns she has to be patient and the understanding will come ~ a great lesson to be learned by both children and adults alike. I enjoyed this first book, and will be reading the next book as well. I would suggest this book to a Young adult who likes to read of magic and Americal Indian mythology. I feel this book was a nice break from lots of fighting and violence and even the drooling love scenes. This is a nice read for a younger adult to sit back and enjoy, and the parents not worring what is in those pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thea is a double seventh--a seventh child of two seventh children--and so, as soon as she is born, great things are expected of her. Everyone waits anxiously for her sure-to-be powerful magic to reveal itself. And waits. And waits. She disappoints everyone with her lack of the magic almost everyone in her world has, even those who can't show it, like her parents. However, in a last-ditch attempt to find Thea's power, her father sends her to another world, where her teacher, Chevyo, helps her to discover her own abilities. Back home, however, Thea attends the Wandless Academy, where those hopeless cases are sent to be isolated from magic. There, her strange powers that Chevyo helped her find in the other world come in surprisingly handy when she and a few friends, thought to be talentless and useless by much of their society, are called upon to save their world. GIFT OF THE UNMAGE was a good book, really, but at times I felt like it had a lot of potential to be even better, so I was a little disappointed. It's still worth the read for those who are looking for this sort of fantasy, however, and I will be looking forward to Ms. Alexander's next books. **Reviewed by: Jocelyn Pearce
Guest More than 1 year ago
...there will be many - and this is a book that deserves to be considered for a leading position in the posse. It's the anti-Harry Potter in a way, not the Boy Who Lived but the Girl Who Couldn't - a story of American magic and myth as much as Harry Potter was the embodiment of the British variety. Native American gods and spirits (including the Trickster himself, Coyote)jostle for space with a race of Elves with the souls of Ferengi and a bunch of misfit kids from the Last Ditch School for the Incurably Incompetent. As an opening salvo in a new trilogy, it stretches into the past and the future, leaving the reader to look forward to questions which will become resolved only in future volumes. A perfect summer read - something to while away the days until the last Potter, and then to leave the reader with something to look forward to once the Potter saga is done.