Review Blog

May 09 2012

A matter of magic by Patricia C. Wrede

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Tom Doherty Associates Book, 2010. ISBN 9780765326324.
(Age 12+) Recommended. This volume contains two of Patricia C. Wrede's books, Mairelon the Magician and The Magician's Ward. Set in Regency England, they are full of mystery and suspense, and will appeal to readers who enjoyed Ruby in the smoke by Philip Pullman and stories by Georgette Heyer.
Kim is a young girl alone on the streets, masquerading as a boy to protect herself from predators. She breaks into Mairelon the magician's tent to steal an orb that is supposed to be magic and when discovered, finds that her whole life is changed. She becomes Mairelon's apprentice and begins a series of adventures following a trail of thieves and murderers, while she struggles to learn how to read and to behave like a lady. The second story continues her story with an emphasis on her maintaining her style and integrity while giving the appearance of a lady.
Wrede's combination of fantasy and comedy make for an entertaining read. Her use of thieves' cant like 'nabbing culls' and bad grammar like 'aint' add humour to the predicaments that Kim gets herself into as she learns how she can operate in a different world to the stews that she was born into. Kim is a feisty girl who doesn't compromise her values even when faced with the opportunity to have an easy married life with a rich man.
I really enjoyed these two stories. They were fun and easy to read and I will certainly be finding more of Patricia C. Wrede's book to read.
Pat Pledger

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