In this volume of the Septimus Heap series, Sage continues to deliver a story that, though it uses many conventional children's fantasy motifs and devices, is fresh and entertaining. Darker than the first two books, Physik extends and deepens its world and develops the increasingly complex relationships between characters. More characters are introduced; characters mature into early adolescence, and the mysteries of this world are broadened with hints of Northern Trader culture and the hidden practices of alchemy. Civil unrest demonstrates that being a princess, or an ExtraOrdinary Wizard, is not sufficient to command the respect of a mob. Though this books action resolves fairly well, it clearly references future books (for example, the unfolding of Lucy and Simon's relationship). Whether other points a (such as what the rat-chasing mob is doing by the end of the book) were simply dropped or are relevant in a later volume cannot yet be determined. Queste (book 4) is now available at a bruising 596 pages.