The Mage and The Magpie – How Does Tone Change A Book For Children?

Book Review : The Mage and The Magpie
The Magemother Trilogy
By Austin J. Bailey


Spoiler Alert!



Brinley falls into a magical adventure in this, the first volume of the Magemother trilogy.

Brinley has spent most of her life lost in her own imagination, teaching bullfrogs to do gymnastics and pretending to be invisible. Now, when a magic bell from another world summons her across time and space on a journey to find her mother, she will discover real friendship, face true evil, and overcome her greatest fears in order to save the ones she loves.

When Brinley arrives in Aberdeen, she finds that all is not well. The Magemother—guardian of the mages—is missing. Hugo, a reluctant prince, is on a quest to find her. Together, Hugo and Brinley team up with an eccentric young bird keeper named Tabitha and set off to solve the mystery of the missing Magemother. Just maybe, Brinley will find the answers to her own past along the way…

(Courtesy of

Adult Point of View

 Magemother will appeal to girls more than boys even though there are several male characters in lead roles. Here you will find a world that intersects with other worlds, where physics operate under different rules and magic is unpredictable.

Brinley is an interesting character because she wants to be invisible and becomes invisible until she is willing to step into who she is really meant to be. Magemother is a coming of age story for Brinley. Hugo is immature, and hopes for magic in his life instead of just being a prince. He also finds his path and the book can be seen as a coming of age story for him too. There was one character who draws the children off saying their guardians won’t mind if they come talk to her awhile. I had alarm bells going off that she was big trouble! It turned out she was innocuous, but it seemed like a bad choice of wording since the sweet old lady sounded like a kidnapper.

My only qualm with the book was the break between the innocent, chipper tone and a few dark moments. It was jarring because I was originally thinking it was appropriate for as young as an eight year old to read. A dark moment is when one of the witches dresses in human skin. If that’s not bad enough, later her human skin clothing still has fingernails attached. Yuck! My uncertainty for the intended audience drops my rating down to three stars. I would like to see it consistent in tone and then judge the book for the correct audience.

3 out of 5 stars
3 star

  • the Mother

If you liked this one try The Secret of Sinbad’s Cave by Brydie Walker Bain, Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke and The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull.

My kids also have loved The Janitors by Tyler Whitesides, but I believe they are for a junior high audience.


About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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