the cover for The Magician's Daughter by HG Parry
  • STAR RATING:  4.5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 384 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: February 28, 2023
  • PUBLISHER: Redhook
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Body horror, Torture, sexism
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne-Jones

Thank you to Netgalley and Redhook for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.


It is 1912, and for the last seventy years magic has all but disappeared from the world. Yet magic is all Biddy has ever known.

Orphaned in a shipwreck as a baby, Biddy grew up on Hy-Brasil, a legendary island off the coast of Ireland hidden by magic and glimpsed by rare travelers who return with stories of wild black rabbits and a lone magician in a castle. To Biddy, the island is her home, a place of ancient trees and sea-salt air and mysteries, and the magician, Rowan, is her guardian. She loves both, but as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she is stifled by her solitude and frustrated by Rowan’s refusal to let her leave. He himself leaves almost every night, transforming into a raven and flying to the mainland, and never tells her where or why he goes.

One night, Rowan fails to come home from his mysterious travels. When Biddy ventures into his nightmares to rescue him, she learns not only where he goes every night, but the terrible things that happened in the last days of magic that caused Rowan to flee to Hy-Brasil. Rowan has powerful enemies who threaten the safety of the island. Biddy’s determination to protect her home and her guardian takes her away from the safety of Hy-Brasil, to the poorhouses of Whitechapel, a secret castle beneath London streets, the ruins of an ancient civilization, and finally to a desperate chance to restore lost magic. But the closer she comes to answers, the more she comes to question everything she has ever believed about Rowan, her origins, and the cost of bringing magic back into the world.

I wasn’t sure what this book really was going to feel like when I originally requested it from Netgalley. I really enjoyed HG Parry’s first novel, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, but wasn’t really a fan of her next book, A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians. It was a toss up if I’d enjoy The Magician’s Daughter, and some early reviews from other bloggers had me a little worried. But, all the worry was for naught, as I really did enjoy this one.

So to start, I don’t really think this book has any business being labeled an adult novel. The main character is sixteen, just about to turn seventeen, and for most of the novel, she acts much younger. However, this makes sense within the confines of the story — Biddy was raised on a remote island in the middle of nowhere with only an eccentric magician and his familiar as her adult role models. How would she know how to act in society if she’s literally never been around more than one person at a time? In my opinion, The Magician’s Daughter reads much more like a YA novel. In fact, reminds me of one of my favorites, Howl’s Moving Castle. Basically, The Magician’s Daughter is if Howl Pendragon adopted a young girl and had to raise her by himself with a little help from Calcifer. The comparison isn’t perfect — Hutchincroft is much more anxious than Calcifer, but overall, the books are similar in really lovely ways.

The setting of the book bounces around a lot, so you see a great deal of London in the 1910’s. At one point, Biddy is placed into a poorhouse as a teacher for orphaned girls. Parry does an excellent job of showing how bleak these places were, and you’re left feeling like you need to do something. (Biddy felt this way too, of course!) I know these places were true to life, and my heart just shattered when she was taking care of the tiny babies. When it comes to the actual villains of the story, they are appropriately horrifying and terrifying in equal measures. I won’t give away any details, but there’s a moment in the book where you are scared that everyone has failed and that the bad guys win. Of course, this isn’t the case, but oh for that few chapters you are so, so worried.

I really enjoyed The Magician’s Daughter, but had just a few tiny things that bothered me. Overall, I’d grant this one four and a half stars! Please do pick it up, and enjoy the story of Biddy and her family trying to bring magic back into the world!


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  1. I’m going to be reading this next month, and I’m looking forward to it. The YA vibe worries me a bit, since I’m not a huge fan of YA, but hopefully it will work for me.


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