Title: Thirteenth Child
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Series: Frontier Magic #1
Seven sons are lucky, and seventh sons of seventh sons (double sevens) are even better. But Eff is a thirteenth child—twin sister to Lan, the lucky double seventh. And her Uncle Earn in particular has been very clear about the evil he thinks being a thirteenth child will bring. Even when her family moves out west, closer to the great barrier separating the mostly safe and civilized lands from the wilds, Eff can’t forget about who she is and who she might become.
In this alternate early America, populated by steam dragons and mammoths and plenty of other things willing to eat settlers, expansion westward has been slow, as settlements face constant danger from the local wildlife. So it’s a lot like Little House on the Prairie, only with more interesting critter life and a healthy dose of magic. And the slow slice-of-life pacing goes along with that, as the book follows Eff from the ages of five to eighteen, showing how she grows up more than anything else.
I liked it well enough, though the pacing may be a turn off for some. Eff doesn’t have a lot of very interesting things happen throughout her life, so most of the drama comes from the antics of her large family, until the very end of the book introduces a new kind of conflict. If the sequel follows that line instead, I would be more interested in reading it. As it was, since so much of the book is Eff going through self-confidence issues, I’m not likely to read again anytime soon. I rate this book Neutral.