Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede

A Matter of Magic
Author: Patricia C. Wrede

Publication: Orb Books; Second Edition edition (June 8, 2010)

Description: When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for. Until he suggests she become his apprentice; then the real trouble begins.

Kim soon finds herself entangled with murderers, thieves, and cloak-and-dagger politics, all while trying to learn how to become both a proper lady and a magician in her own right. Magic and intrigue go hand in hand in 
Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward, two fast-paced novels filled with mystery and romance, set against the intricate backdrop of Regency England.

My Thoughts: I have been a fan of Ms. Wrede's books for years. I remember being entranced with Sorcery and Cecelia (written with Caroline Stevermer) and searching used bookstores to find multiple copies. I loved her Enchanted Forest  series and still recommend them to my middle school fantasy lovers. I remember reading Mairelon the Magician and The Magician's Ward when they were first published in 1991 and 1997. I was eager to replace my old, worn paperbacks with this new edition.

These books are wonderful - well-written and funny. They are Regency romances with magic. Our hero is Richard Merrill, first known to our heroine as Mairelon. He is a well-to-do, upper class wizard who we first meet as he is trying to track down a set of magical objects that society thinks he has stolen. Our heroine is Kim who was raised on the street to be a thief and who is hired to break into Mairelon's wagon to see if he has a certain object. By the way, she has been passing as a boy for a number of years but Mairelon sees right through her disguise. He catches her but doesn't turn her in to the law. Rather, he makes her his apprentice in the hunt for treasure. Our heroine spends a good part of the story exasperated with him and trying to keep him out of trouble. The story gets increasingly funny as more and more people of various station and for various reasons join the hunt for the missing magical objects.

The second story has Kim living in London as Mairelon's ward and learning to be a wizard. This time the problem resolves around some books containing magic spells and the variety of people who want to gather the books to perform the spells. Kim also has the problem of finding her place in high society. She doesn't think society will accept her and doesn't want to embarrass Mairelon. 

Both stories were excellent. I just wish Ms. Wrede would write more adventures for Kim and Mairelon.

Favorite Quote:

"Freddy! Oh, Freddy, do something!" Marianne cried. With a sudden spurt of strength, she jerked her arm from Jack's grasp and ran to Freddy, where she wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her head in his shoulder, effectively preventing him from doing anything even if he had wanted to.
Or, perhaps, this:

"Lady Granleigh!" gasped Marianne. She turned as white as St. Clair's cravat and fainted into Freddy's arms. Unfortunately, Freddy was as dumbfounded as she by the new arrivals, and he failed to catch her in time. He overbalanced, and the two of them toppled backward into a chair and crashed to the floor in a shower of splinters.
These books are highly recommended for adults and young adults who like magic, Regency novels, and magic.

Challenges: Flashback Reading Challenge, In the Middle Reading Challenge, 2010 YA Reading Challenge, Flashback Reading Challenge


  1. Here from "CEP"
    Wow, I love that cover! A regency story with magic sounds like fun! And I love those quotes! lol

  2. Here from CEP.

    That sounds great! I am definitely adding it to my list.

  3. Love those quotes! Any piece of writing that incorporates the word "cravat" is good in my book. Thanks!

  4. I love Patricia C. Wrede! I spent many hours of my childhood happily reading (and rereading) her books. I'm glad you posted about this!


  5. I love regency period, and I am completely enthralled by anything magical. I do not know why is it taking me this long to find this book and this author! Thanks for such a fab review. Will definitely have to put this in my wishlist!

  6. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for taking part in Radiant Reviews :)

    I am not familiar with either this author or this book but it sounds like a great read - definitely something I think I would enjoy reading. And I really liked that second quote!

  7. Oh, and i forgot to say that I think it has got a beautiful cover!!

  8. I haven't heard of this author before. I really like the cover! Dropping by from Radiant Reviews!

  9. This is a new author for me. The story sounds very good and I love the cover.

  10. Never heard of this one before! Cool cover! Came by from Radiant Reviews!

  11. Believe it or not I have not heard of this author, but she sounds wonderful and I will have to check out her books.


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