The Sorcerer's Tower by Ian Irvine
Ill. by D. M. Cornish. Second Look Publishing, 2017. ISBN
(Age: 8-12) Tamly and his friends Kym and Mel live in the fictional mediaeval village of Meadowhythe. Tamly, the main protagonist, is an orphan who lives with his great uncle, after his parents were killed by magic. He is treated very badly by members of the townsfolk including his uncle, because of his lack of magical skills. Mel is the blacksmith's son, who is being taught metal magic. His best friend Kym knows 100 spells, but always seems to get into mischief and cannot teach Tamly anything.
Tamly quickly learns that his magic was taken from him, after a prophecy promised that he would be a great danger to magic. Everyone else in the town has varying degrees of magic and the town itself is built on a key stone book of spells. Predictably, this leads to trouble; which takes the form of two dark sorcerers determined to raise their supreme ruler from a 400 year sleep.
Tamly, as the only person without magic, is the only hope for the town! He (with his friends volunteering to come along) must embark on a number of dangerous missions to save his town from evil forces that threaten it. Of course good will out, but with many twists and turns that draw the reader into Tamly's world.
The interactions of adults from the town with the 3 main characters is a point of interest. All the children of this series seem to be varyingly mistreated by the adults, which would be an interesting theme to focus on if using for a class novel.
This is the perfect place to begin the genre of Fantasy Adventure for Middle Primary aged readers. This book combines the four Sorcerer's Tower novels; Thorn Castle, Giant's Lair, Black Crypt and Wizardry Crag. Each of the novels is eight chapters with about 70 pages. It would also be very suitable for high interest low vocab older readers with a lower comprehension level because the four novels are written using very straight forward and basic language. While the writing style is aimed at 8 year olds, I would suggest that with frequent appearances from skeletons, sorcerers and the undead, readers new to the genre may trip on the language and concepts of fantasy if they are unfamiliar with them.