Libellus de Numeros

Magicae Mathematica Book 1

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
301 Pages
Reviewed on 11/26/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Award Winning YA Fiction Author, Jim West, was born in Killeen, TX in 1977 and grew up mostly in central Louisiana. For over 18 years he has worked in the Cyber Security field and came up with the ideas and concept for the Magicae Mathematica series about a decade ago. His first book of the series, Libellus de Numeros, is one he hopes will resonate with its young readers. Jim is a father of two SMART and beautiful girls whom he loves dearly and served as the inspiration for Alex and the series.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite

There is nothing like learning you can perform magic to make learning math more fun! That’s exactly what Alexandria Grate discovers after falling out of a storage closet in school into a strange, new world and becoming a student of Archimedes in Libellus de Numeros: Magicae Mathematica Book 1 by Jim West. As a self-reliant young girl just getting ready to start middle school, Alex is used to thinking and doing for herself. Unfortunately, her head-strong nature does not fit in with this new world where a Council rules harshly to maintain their power. Together with her teacher, Archimedes, and several other students, Alex must learn all she can as quickly as possible to hold off an attack by two evil wizards who are intent on overthrowing the Council. Through her bond with her new mentor, she accepts being ‘lost’ in this seemingly ancient world and does everything possible to solve the problems that may lead to her returning home. Along the way, Alex learns much more about herself and getting along with other people, but will she be able to come up with enough magic to save the day?

Libellus de Numeros: Magicae Mathematica Book 1 by Jim West relates the adventures of Alex, Archimedes and the other inhabitants of a mystical land in an exciting and engaging tale. This story is excellent on many levels: terrific writing, great story line, smooth infusion of the love of learning math and Latin, and a heartwarming look at relationships between friends and family members. There is plenty of action, humor and soul searching as many of the characters realize there is more than one way to look at any issue, but that they don’t have to accept everything exactly as it is – thinking for yourself is just as important as following rules.

Karen Walpole

In Libellus de Numeros, Book of Numbers by Jim West, young Alexandra has had to attend one new school after another as her parents move with their jobs. She has lived all over the world, but she would trade it all to stay in one place long enough to find friends and fit in. Her father is rarely at home, which makes her unhappy as well. Alex and her mother bond over learning Latin, which turns out to be fortunate. After a fall and hitting her head, Alex wakes up in another world where Latin and Mathematics create magic. She is taken on as an apprentice by the wizard Archimedes because of her knowledge of Latin. Math was her worst subject in school, but she must learn formulas to try to save the kingdom from drought and later from attacking armies. She must also learn the magic so she can get home again.

Libellus de Numeros by Jim West is an excellent book for young adult readers. It’s like a combination of the Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings. Presenting Latin and Mathematics as ways to solve problems may have readers seeing their Mathematics classes a bit differently. The story moves along at a good pace and the differences between Alex’s world and the new world are interesting and unique. Guardians of the kingdom are trained from birth and all individualism is eliminated. The different classes of people surprise Alex and she is outraged at how some are treated. The idea that all people are equal is unheard of in the kingdom, which reminds Alex of how lucky we all are.

Katelyn Hensel

Libellus de Numeros (Magicae Mathematica Book 1), also known as the Book of Numbers for those of us who don't speak Latin, is a new addition to the fantasy genre by Jim West. Following one Alex Grate, a know-it-all with absentee parents, the book is completely original and a ride you would never expect. Alex is tired of being shunted around, from camps in the summer to schools in the fall and winter. Her parents are all caught up in their own lives until one day Alex is catapulted into a new world. This world, in a strange blend of Math and Latin, has created a new kind of magic. Luckily it was Alex's hobby to talk in Latin with her mom or all hope would be lost. Instead, it is in this new world where Alex really learns to stand on her own, to defeat the workings of the council, and find a true place for herself.

This book skewed to the younger side of fantasy. I wouldn't even call it Young Adult, because it's more of a Middle Grade or Preteen read, but that didn't stop it from being fun! Middle Schoolers are not typically the type of kids who like math, yet I am convinced that Jim West might just get them to love it. The story wasn't complicated or deep, but it was fun, fast-paced, interesting, and completely different than any other piece out in the market right now. Libellus de Numeros is a killer fantasy book for all ages.

Sierra Edelen

Alex has always moved around all her life due to her father's job. She has grown used to her father not always being around because of work. When they move to yet another town, her dad promises to have more time for family, although surprise, surprise, that isn’t working out very well. She gets into a fight with some boys at school, who lock her in a closet, where she falls and blacks out. From there is where the real story begins. Alex wakes up to a world of mathematics and Latin; where they are the powerful tools of wizards. With Archimedes as her new teacher, Alex must learn more about the strange world she has been cast into to find her way home. But not without trouble along the way.

Libellus de Numeros by Jim West was a great book to read. From the title of it and the brief summary, I thought it would be a story combining math, Latin and creative writing. I thought it would show more of the math side and the equations and such. I love how it focused more on how math is a part of everything and can be conveyed into spells, magic and wizardry. It kept me on my toes with an action packed battle scene, not to mention a glossary of terms at the end to clarify the Latin words used in the book. I also enjoyed a sneak peek at the next book, which I cannot wait to read when I get my hands on it! So look for Libellus de Numeros (Magicae Mathematica Book 1) by Jim West if you want a good book!

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Alex's father is an engineer, a very important man who works for some big company that builds 'things' all over the world, 'things' that benefit all of humanity. Alex is saddened every time her father goes away. Alex has a strong bond with her mother. They share outings together. They also share a love of an ancient, now considered 'dead', language, Latin. Although she doesn't share her father's passion for mathematics (still she does profess some level of competency in this subject), she does share her mother's passion of Latin.

Alex also has a passion for getting into trouble. She's always the one to challenge the boys to allow her to participate in what might be deemed a boys-only sport - like football. She's always one to stand up to a bully who is taking advantage of someone with a disability, and this is where the trouble really starts. Because the bully tends to fight back. First day of school, first year in Middle School, and Alex is barely inside the door and she's in a fight that lands her in the janitor's closet, one that has mathematical symbols on the floor and, as she comes crashing down onto these symbols, she is transported to another world, an alternate dimension, another place. In this alternative reality, Alex discovers Archimedes, the famous ancient Greek mathematician, and everything suddenly turns bizarre.

Alex can barely remember her parents, her real world, as she struggles to keep up with a man obsessed with mathematics and Latin. Good thing that Alex understands, and even speaks, Latin. Through a series of adventures, Alex manages, again, to find herself standing up for the disabled, the abused. She also learns that perhaps she does have a passion for mathematics, but more important, she learns that the real secret to the universe is neither mathematics nor Latin, but love. Jim West has written a poignant Young Adult fantasy novel that trips over mathematical equations and Latin phrases in a compelling way to spark the reader's interest, all in a fast-paced, action-filled adventure. Great story!