on 22 July 2010
Wonderful; a light-hearted mixture of fairy-tale and Georgette Heyer, bursting with the same unmistakable energy as "Sorcery and Cecelia (or: The Enchanted Chocolate Pot)". Giving her strong-minded magicians a Regency setting is something at which Patricia Wrede excels. Although, as an English person, I find the writing noticeably American in places (complete with the odd gaffe), there's certainly nothing so jarring as to mar the book overall.
A word of warning, though, that this volume is nothing new, but a reprint under one cover of Ms Wrede's two novels about Kim and the magician Mairelon.
on 24 May 2011
I wanted to like this but it's just too clunky - not the writing itself so much (though there are plenty of inconsistencies here) but the plot, structure & characterisation. Kim herself is so thinly drawn as to hardly warrant her position as emotional centre, never mind point-of-view protagonist. Several characters - and even entire scenes - are basically ripped off from Georgette Heyer - the French lady wizard is effectively Leonie from These Old Shades. Heyer also seems to be the main (only?) source for the early 19C thieves argot - except that Heyer - who directly researched her cant & slang - knew how to fit the argot into plausible grammar. As a mash, Regency England, mystery & magic is a great idea - but I'd love to have seen it done with more polish, care & art.
on 6 November 2012
I love this book it kept you going till the very end, I hope she does another one this book will have you holding your breath to screaming with joy. This book contains the first book and second once in the same book and it all ends well,love having this omnibus compilation of the Mairelon books and the new cover is beautiful (though I am a bit more partial to the older covers). The Mairelon books are 2 of my top books of all time. It had hit so many of my favorite genres and themes: young adult fiction, fantasy, romance (only a touch), a level-headed, tomboyish heroine, a Cinderella story, comedy of manners, and the Regency period. I have read them every year for the past 7 years and every year, my appreciation for the writing and the wit and humor infused in those pages increase.
I'm not good at summarizing plots, but here goes...
Kim, a London street urchin disguised as a boy, is hired to break into the wagon of Mairelon, a street magician who just so happens to be a real wizard. She is caught and then joins Mairelon and his faithful, but all-too-proper servant, Hunch on a journey through the English countryside to retrieve a magical platter. They become entangled with the 10 or so other people (this includes some Druids-who-aren't-really-Druids) who are also chasing after that platter.
That's only the "Mairelon the Magician" half of this volume. In the second half, "The Magician's Ward", Kim becomes Mairelon's ward and struggles to balance surviving the societal expectations of being a ward of a well-to-do family and dealing with the recent magical skullduggery that is going on in London.
Fans of Wrede and Stevermer's Regency story, "Sorcery and Cecilia", should definitely check this book out. It has the same wit, humor, and feel. Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer fans should also take a look. To get a better sense of this book, please check out the individual Amazon reviews of "Mairelon the Magician" and "The Magician's Ward". They are worded much better than my own review here. I also recommend looking at "A Matter of Magic" as two 200+ page books, as it was originally meant to be read, instead of trying to read both books as one long 400+ page book
on 13 July 2013
Patricia Wrede was co-author of Sorcery and Cecilia, a Jane Austen-meets-fantasy idea which strangely worked very well (unlike the sequels). This one works rather well as well. This is a packaging of two novels, telling the story of the beggar girl who is adopted by a rich magician and turns out to have magic of her own. Wrede is no great writer, and doesn't pay enough attention to the plausibilities, but it still more or less works!
on 4 June 2011
This book had completely realistic characters, an exciting plotline and someothing extemely orginal, which was just what I needed after reading lots of vampire and angel books :P Fantastic! I urge you to give it a try, although it may not be for all consuming romance addicts as the story only carries a hint of romance, yet the mystery and magic combine to make a wonderful tale!! :D