Saturday, July 14, 2012

Book Review: Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis

Renegade Magic
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Publication: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (April 3, 2012)

Description: The feisty Kat Stephenson is back in the second installment of the Regency era magical trilogy Kirkus Reviews calls “enjoyable mayhem.”

Nowhere in England is safe from the mischief and magic of Kat Stephenson: Her eldest sister has finally wed, but when a scandalous accusation threatens the marriage prospects of Kat’s second sister, Angeline, Stepmama swiftly whisks the family away to Bath in an attempt to outrun the gossip and betroth Angeline to a respectable suitor. Meanwhile, Kat’s utter lack of ladylike propriety has prompted the powerful Lord Ravenscroft to expel her from the magical Order of Guardians—before her training has even begun! Anger and exile aside, Kat knows something is not quite right about Lord Ravenscroft. Her insatiable curiosity and fierce loyalty to her family will have readers rooting for her all the way as Kat attempts to reunite Angeline with her true love and prove that she has what it truly takes to be a Guardian.

My Thoughts: The second adventure of Kat Stephenson was a marvelous and magical as the first. The story begins at her oldest sister Elissa's wedding which is interrupted by Mrs. Carlyle, Frederick's mother, who is determined that her son not marry into the disreputable Stephenson family. Unfortunately, she is mistaken. The wedding she has interrupted is not her son's. Frederick is the true love of Kat's second sister Angeline. Mrs. Carlyle's loud proclamations of witchcraft force Stepmama to pack up the whole crew and head to Bath to try to outrun the scandal.

Witchcraft is hated in this version of Regency England. Practicing it, or even having it in the family, is a matter for scandal. Many of the traditional Regency tropes also make their appearance here again. Kat's Stepmama is a devoted social climber; her father is an absentminded scholar. Her older brother is an empty-headed gambler. We have star-crossed lovers torn apart by parental disapproval. 

Kat's rival is Lady Fotherington who is a Guardian from high society and who was jealous that Kat's mother gave up being a Guardian for love and did magic spells. She strongly encouraged the Society to expel Kat's mother and is also strongly encouraging the Society to keep Kat out too and to remove all of her magical abilities. 

Lady Fotherington is being aided in these attempts by Lord Ravenscroft who is the head of the Society and a lisping dandy. This dandy does have some hidden depths...of evil. It is left up to twelve-year-old Kat the right the wrongs done her sister Angeline and her suitor and also to protect society from the harmful effects of magic as a true Guardian should. 

The story was a romp around the confines of Bath moving from the high society haunts to the depths of the old Roman baths. Kat is a great character - caring, impulsive, bright and determined. Any young reader would enjoy meeting her in the pages of this book. I can't wait to share this book with my middle grade students. 

Favorite Quote:
"Mr. Gregson," I said. "How nice to see you. I'm afraid we don't have time to chat. There are some people chasing us right now, so--"

"Not exactly unusual circumstances for you." Mr. Gregson sighed and closed his eyes. Through the cloud of wild magic, I felt a new sensation in the air. It vibrated like the silent gong of a deep-throated bell, rocking through my bones. He opened his eyes and looked at us mildly through his spectacles. "I believe they will not think to look for you here," he said. "And now, if you would care to explain?"
I bought this one because I liked Kat, Incorrigible which I reviewed here. You can buy a copy here.

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