Magyk - book one of the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage - conjured up a certain expectation in my mind before I started reading it: that of a young wizard in a medieval setting who has to fight against some other evil wizard. That's about as much as the blurb on my edition gives away.So, I'm guessing new readers could be very surprised to find out that baby Septimus Heap 'dies' in the first few pages, and is instantly replaced by an orphaned baby girl that the patriarch of the Heap family, Silas, found laid out in the snow. In the castle town that the Heap family call home, the Queen has been assassinated, and her newborn daughter has gone missing, leaving a vacuum of power in the castle. This is quickly filled by the Supreme Custodian, who rules in a rather more draconian fashion. Knowing that the princess may still be alive, he sends out regular squads to find her, and only just gets lucky when it turns out that ten year old Jenna Heap is really the missing princess. Fleeing the town late at night with the ExtraOrdinary wizard Marcia and narrowly escaping a hunter, the Heap family (plus one child soldier) go their separate ways to avoid danger.And from then on, this book is a whole load of fun. From a crazy aunt who keeps a cat-turned-duck and is friends with a swamp-dwelling Boggart, to a specialised network of messenger rats, to a dragon boat, and cases of mistaken identity mixed with missing princesses and seventh sons of seventh sons, this book was sheer joy to read. Incredibly imaginative and enjoyable, in fact.So why has it been demoted down one star? Unfortunately, there are parts where the plot becomes kind of static, focusing only on developments with the kids at the house in the marsh. I didn't know anything about what DomDaniel was plotting, Stanley's ordeal in prison, the Supreme Custodian's role in ruling the Castle and its town, Sarah and the other boys running through the forest, and what about that poor woman whose pub was burned down by the Hunter and his gang? Some things are explained in the story, yes, and amusingly enough there's a section at the back of the novel that covers the unseen events of all the aforementioned characters (and some other background characters, like the baby-snatching midwife who's responsible for the mix-up with Septimus), but I would have been much happier if this information had been weaved into the general narrative rather than a tacked-on addendum. 4/5.