New Release Book Review: Gifted by Donald Hounam


Title: Gifted
Author: Donald Hounam
Published: 29th January 2015
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Fantasy
Length: 416 pages

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blurb (via Goodreads):

The Bishop of Oxford is very, very dead. At least the police think it’s the Bishop – it’s impossible to be sure, since someone has made off with his head.

Fifteen-year-old Frank Sampson is the forensic sorcerer on the case. But he is easily distracted. By Kazia, the supposed victim’s beautiful, and possibly dangerous, niece. By Marvo, his police colleague, who seems dead set on making his life difficult. By the terror that he’s losing his Gift – the ability to work magic. And by all those stupid rules which get in the way of proving that everybody is wrong about the case . . . except Frank.

Donald Hounam has wrought a sharp, exciting, original new voice in teen fiction.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. It had a great mystery to it, and the magic system was intriguing. Only teens have perfect vision and certain gifts. When people reach twenty-five, they start to get the Blur and slowly they go blind. For sorcerers, reaching twenty-five means that they’re going post-peak and their Gift will soon be gone.

Frank is a great, fresh voice, a little snarky at times, but I loved it. Marvell is a good partner for him, their back and forth is amusing at times. There’s a great cast of characters in this book from Ferdia, the post-peak sorcerer who still thinks he’s amazing, to Caxton, the almost blind police investigator that relies on Marvell to do her job. The reactions to sorcerers in Doughnut City is quite extreme, and I really felt sorry for Frank in having to deal with it all the time.

I really liked the twist at the end. I was following the mystery quite well, I thought, and I was sure I had it all figured out and then a spanner was thrown in the works and everything was revealed. Definitely took me by surprise!

A good mystery with a new take on the ‘boy wizard’ trope. Gifted is a must-read for YA fans.


This book is available at the following links: Amazon UK | Amazon US

About the Author

Donald Hounam grew up just outside Oxford. He toyed with Medieval history at St Andrews University, and wrote a PhD thesis on apocalyptic beliefs in the early Crusades. He threw paint around at the Ruskin School of Drawing in Oxford, then found himself in Dublin where he threw more paint around and reviewed films until his flatmate set the building alight one Christmas, whereupon he scuttled back to England and started making up stories…

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