Midnight Magic

( 61 )

Overview

Mangus the Magician must free a princess from a terrifying ghost. Naturally, Mangus doesn't believe in ghosts. He doesn't even believe in magic! However, his servant boy, Fabrizio, is a secret friend of the princess and is determined to prove the ghost is real.

In Italy in 1491, Mangus the magician and his apprentice are summoned to the castle of Duke Claudio to determine if his daughter is indeed being haunted by a ghost.

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Overview

Mangus the Magician must free a princess from a terrifying ghost. Naturally, Mangus doesn't believe in ghosts. He doesn't even believe in magic! However, his servant boy, Fabrizio, is a secret friend of the princess and is determined to prove the ghost is real.

In Italy in 1491, Mangus the magician and his apprentice are summoned to the castle of Duke Claudio to determine if his daughter is indeed being haunted by a ghost.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“With snappy dialogue, nonstop action, and lavishly embroidered period backdrops, this will please Avi's fans and may well win over some new ones.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A medieval mystery that will keep readers guessing to the very end.” –Booklist

“The pages fly with intrigue and action.” –Horn Book

Horn Book Magazine
What better place for some midnight magic than a dank, medieval castle replete with hidden doorways, secret passages, and a daunting spiral staircase? In the summer of 1491 a servant boy named Fabrizio and his master, a retired magician, are urgently summond to this castello in the Italian kingdom of Pergamontio. Young princess Teresina has witnessed a frightening apparition, which she claims is the ghost of her murdered brother. While Mangu the Magician attempts to solve the mysery through reason and deduction, his twelve-year-old servant roams the castle halls, where he eventually sees the ghost himself. Fabrizio, who is not above using a little sleight-of-hand to secure an advantage, befriends Teresina and learns that the ten-year-old princess will soon be betrothed to her father's adviser, Cont Scarazoni. Although Teresina shows Fabrizio the secret chambers of the castle, she does not share all the secrets she knows. Indeed, most of the characters in the novel withhold information from one another, and Fabrizio is left in the dark both literally and figuratively when, at the book's climax, he must race through the castle's pitch-black corridors and help Mangus conjure up an illusion that may save the monarchy. Readers who can get past the misleadingly romantic cover illustration will discover an old-fashioned story that emphasizes plot over characterization. Brave orphan boys, feisty princesses, and villainous royal advisers are all familiar, timeworn roles, and the character never emerge as unique individuals here a flaw further magnified by their arch, often melodramatic dialogue. However, Avi uses some literary sleight-of-hand to make the pages fly with intrigue and action.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Taut and suspenseful, this vivid mystery set in an imaginary kingdom of Renaissance Italy is vintage Avi. The story starts with a bang as an unmarked coach arrives one stormy night at the home of Mangus the magician, who is under house arrest for his knowledge of the dark arts. Mangus, as readers quickly learn, is no wizard but a former entertainer, and he in fact scoffs at the notion of magic. He protests vigorously when he is summoned to the castle (along with his 12-year-old servant, Fabrizio) and ordered to help free the princess from her visions of a terrifying ghost. All is not as it seems, however, as the pair discover a court intrigue involving a missing prince, a murder, hidden passageways and the king's Machiavellian adviser, Count Scarazoni. Weaving in the age-old clash between superstition and reason, Avi creates a sort of 15th-century Holmes and Watson in the characters of Mangus and Fabrizio, who continually trade aphorisms (" `Fabrizio, if you buy with ignorance, you will be paid with the same coin.' `But, Master, you know what people say, False gold often buys more than iron' "). With snappy dialogue, nonstop action and lavishly embroidered period backdrops, this will please Avi's fans and may well win over some new ones. Ages 10-14. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
ALAN Review
In fifteenth-century Pergamontio, twelve-year-old Fabrizio plays with some tarot cards against the advice of his master, Mangus the Magician. Mangus is trying to get out of magic and devote himself to being a good Christian. However, Fabrizio and Mangus are soon involved in a request by King Claudio to free his daughter, ten-year-old Princess Teresina, of a ghost who visits her. The Princess suspects it is her murdered brother, heir to the throne of their father, King Claudio. Lurking in the shadows, though, is Count Scarazoni--who also wants to be king. So, young Fabrizio and Mangus must use magic to thwart Count Scarazoni, free the Princess, and save the throne. Early adolescents will revel in this story filled with secret passages, mysterious mishaps, and eerie moments. Chapters ending in cliff hangers and a parade of characters with strange names embellish a story where truth is revealed and good prevails. A fun read for younger readers. Genre: Ghost/Adventure. 1999, Scholastic Press, Ages 9 to 12, $15.99. Reviewer: Anne Sherrill
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Midnight Magic stars a variety of characters--clever Fabrizio, apprentice to Mangus (a magician who professes not to believe in magic), Teresian, a mischievous princess who convinces all of her ghostly visions, a conniving Count Scarazoni (the King's closest advisor who hopes to marry Teresiana and take over the kingdom), and a kitchen boy who is in disguise. Interspersed are the verbal duels between Mangus and Fabrizio--"Fabrizio, if you buy with ignorance, you will be paid with the same coin." "Master, false gold often buys more than iron." "Fabrizio, a fool is paid in folly." "Master, if a foolish man makes a map, let him journey alone." Don't you love it? The characters leap off the page engaging in non-stop action. It's melodrama at its best. Harry Potter would give this book a "thumbs up."
KLIATT
To quote the review of the hardcover edition in KLIATT, September 1999: The action is set in 1491, in the Kingdom of Pergamontio, as the first sentence states. It has to do with a magician and his young servant, Fabrizio, who are summoned to the castle of the king to discover a ghost that is haunting the young princess. Soon the two are caught up in an elaborate intrigue, with an evil count, a brave queen, a princess who loves the dramatic gesture, a cowardly king, a missing prince, and so on. The castle, of course, has numerous hidden passageways, even a secret way out of the dungeon, where Fabrizio is sent at one point in the adventure. There seem to be spies everywhere, so Fabrizio and the old magician, who is named Mangus, have to use all their intelligence to stay alive and know whom to trust. Avi lightens up the spookiness with Fabrizio's wit (he is always spouting sayings that, as Mangus says, are a strange mixture of wisdom and foolishness) and the general high spirit of adventure. Also, all ends happily. This is reading for the pure fun of it. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1999, Scholastic, 249p., $4.99. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; KLIATT , November 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439242196
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 73,031
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Avi

Avi's work spans nearly every genre and has received nearly every major prize, including the Newbery Medal for CRISPIN: THE CROSS OF LEAD and Newbery Honors for NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH and THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE. Avi lives in Denver, Colorado. You can visit him online at www.avi-writer.com.

Biography

Born in Manhattan in 1937, Avi Wortis grew up in Brooklyn in a family of artists and writers. Despite his bright and inquisitive nature, he did poorly in school. After several academic failures, he was diagnosed with a writing impairment called dysgraphia which caused him to reverse letters and misspell words. The few writing and spelling skills he possessed he had gleaned from his favorite hobby, reading -- a pursuit enthusiastically encouraged in his household.

Following junior high school, Avi was assigned to a wonderful tutor whose taught him basic skills and encouraged in him a real desire to write. "Perhaps it was stubbornness," he recalled in an essay appearing on the Educational Paperback Association's website, "but from that time forward I wanted to write in some way, some form. It was the one thing everybody said I could not do."

Avi finally learned to write, and well! He attended Antioch University, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and received a master's degree in library science from Columbia in 1964. He worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library's theater collection and for Trenton State College, and taught college courses in children's literature, while continuing to write -- mostly plays -- on the side. In the 1970s, with two sons of his own, he began to craft stories for children. "[My] two boys loved to hear stories," he recalled. "We played a game in which they would give me a subject ('a glass of water') and I would have to make up the story right then. Out of that game came my first children's book, Things That Sometimes Happen." A collection of "Very Short Stories for Little Listeners," Avi's winning debut received very positive reviews. "Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves," raved Kirkus Reviews, "these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin."

Avi has gone on to write dozens of books for kids of all ages. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991) and Nothing but the Truth (1992) were named Newbery Honor Books, and in 2003, he won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his 14th-century adventure tale, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. His books range from mysteries and adventure stories to historical novels and coming-of-age tales; and although there is often a strong moral core to his work, he leavens his message with appealing warmth and humor. Perhaps his philosophy is summed up best in this quote from his author profile on Scholastic's website: "I want my readers to feel, to think, sometimes to laugh. But most of all I want them to enjoy a good read."

Good To Know

In a Q&A with his publisher, Avi named Robert Louis Stevenson as one of his greatest inspirations, noting that "he epitomizes a kind of storytelling that I dearly love and still read because it is true, it has validity, and beyond all, it is an adventure."

When he's not writing, Avi enjoys photography as one of his favorite hobbies.

Avi got his unique nickname from his twin sister, Emily..

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(41)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 20, 2012

    This book was great. I read this book 2 times it was so good. My

    This book was great. I read this book 2 times it was so good. My Librabry does not have the book and I cant find any place that does. I need to read this book again.

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  • Posted April 30, 2010

    "Midnight Magic" by Avi

    "Midnight Magic" by Avi Genre: Historical Fiction, Age:9 and up, Number of pages:247, Rating: 4 stars



    Do you like mystery books with ghosts, murders, and suspense? If you do, "Midnight Magic" by Avi is the perfect book for you. It is the prequel to "Murder at Midnight" and will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time you are reading. Mangus and Fabrizio are back and and are about to be more surprised then ever. I would give this book four stars because it was very suspenseful, but could get very confusing at times. An example is on page 76, when there is a conversation between Count Scarazoni and Addetto and you can't tell who is talking at times. Besides that, it was a very suspenseful and mysterious book.


    "Midnight Magic" starts of with Fabrizio sleeping in the front hallway, as always, so that he can tell anyone that comes to the door that his master is no longer doing magic (which is illegal and is what he is currently on house arrest for). Near midnight, a knock comes on the door for Mangus. It is a soldier there to take him and Fabrizio to the king's castle. With Mangus on house arrest, what could the king want him for? The exact thing that Mangus was put on house arrest for- magic.

    A terrible ghost has been repeatedly coming to Princess Teresina and haunting her. So the king calls on the only person he knows to get rid of it, which is Mangus. The only problem is that Mangus doesn't believe in ghosts. So, now it is up to his faithful servant Fabrizio, who does believe in ghosts, to figure out what is going on in the castle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2008

    Fabulous!

    A wonderful story.the setting is great.i love the time period too, the middle ages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    Fabrizio had a quiet life, serving his master, Mangus the Magician. Mangus was a stage magician when the King ordered all who performed magic to be sentenced to death. However, the King's right hand man, Count Scarazoni, spared him, on the condition to never perform magic again, and to be under house arrest. One summer night, everything changed. Princess Teresina was being haunted by a mysterious specter, and Mangus is called to the castello to discover the ghost, and to destroy it. While at the castello, Fabrizio becomes good friends with the Princess Teresina, and gets caught up in the thick of the affair with the ghost. He also meets a servant boy, a little older than him named Rinaldo, who knows much more than expected. After a while, the Princess comes to the conclusion that the ghost is her brother, the Prince, who she believes to be dead. Fabrizio discovers that Princess Teresina is promised to Count Scarazoni. A while later, Fabrizio discovers that the Princess and the Queen were part of a conspiracy, and are pretending that other people are. After a bit, the Princess accuses Fabrizio of being part of a conspiracy, and he is captured and sentenced to death. He is put in a dungeon, and he thinks the Princess betrayed him, when she rescues him, and many questions were raised. Why did the Princess frame him, and why did she then rescue him? How will he escape death? How will the Princess escape marriage? Midnight magic is a great read, even if it doesn't have the best ending. I liked how the solution was a huge surprise, that you would never guess would happen, if you didn't know the ending. I would give it four out of five stars. I would recommend it to anyone who likes both fantasy, and mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2007

    Read this book, Trust me, you won't waste your time

    I love the way this book was set up and the way everything fits together. Amazing Characters too! Princess Teresina and Prince Lorenzo were my favorites!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2007

    went to barns and noble and got a great book!!

    This book in wonderful!At first I thought this book was going to be boring but it is very well writen.This book is about a twelve year old boy named Fabrizio who's master was said be a magician.Then one day Fabrizio and his master are summoned to the castello (castle) to help the king's daughter from a terrifying ghost.But Fabrizio master is not even a real magician!But if they fail it will cost his masters life.I hope any who read this book enjoy it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2006

    I hated it!

    This book was worse than Eragon and that was pretty bad.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2006

    Awesome!

    Avi is trully an amazing author. Midnight Magic was one of his best, it was so creative and intertaining. Ending was a total surprise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2005

    Great!!!

    Midnight Magic was fantastic, it was really exciting. Avi is a great author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2005

    Midnight Magic, A Kid's Review

    I really enjoyed this book and thought every chapter had twists and turns that made it a mystery until the end. Although I didn't understand alot of the words, I really liked the book and encourage everyone to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2005

    OMG

    This was like one of the best books that i've EVER read!!!! Everyone in my comm arts class luved it and so will you!!! =)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2004

    What an awesome book

    This book was very imaginative. It really made you think. I have read this book three times now and it never gets old.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2004

    Mystery and Suspense

    I think the book Midnight Magic was great. The mystery and suspense was killing be so I just kept reading and reading. I was recommened this book by my friend who had read it and said it was good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2004

    Fantastic!

    Avi has done a great job! This book is great.with suspense and action you'll always want to read more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2004

    Great Book: Should Read Not Top Ten

    The book Midnight Magic was filled with twists, turns and anything else you can think of. Avi did an amazing job in descripting Fabrizio and the scenery popped into my mind as I read. I want it to have a sequel or something relating to it. I would not reccomend this to people who like books that son't change. This book is a lot like Bright Shadow, another Avi book. They both involve wizards and overthrowing people of high power.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2004

    Fantastic!!

    a fantastic tale of the old, mystical times. Harry Potter will give this book a thumbs up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2004

    Midnight Magic

    This book is about a Magician that has been summoned after house arrest for practicing magic. One day a soldier turns up on the magicians front steps insisting that Mangus should come with him. Mangus tried to convince tham that he does not use or perform magic any more. yet the soldier insists and Mangus finally gives in. Fabrizo his loyal servant comes to aid him while at the castle. In the presence of the king he learns that he was sommoned to banish a ghost that has been tormenting the princess. But Mangus does not beleive in this ghost therefor how will he banish it? Yet what if there is a ghost and what if it is the lost soul of the prince? Find out in one of Avi's most thrilling books yet!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2004

    You Should Read This Book

    This book was a great read. I enjoyed it alot, although it's not in my Top Ten. If you like mysteries and/or books set in the past, it is definitely recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    book

    i love this book,but it either needs a sequal (does it have one?) or a better ending!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2003

    Midnight Magic by Avi

    I had to read this book for summer reading for school. At first the story line and the characters are a little dull, but as you read on, you get pulled further and further into the story. Good for people who like the Harry Potter series and other fanasy stories.

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