Patricia C. Wrede has written some seriously lovely fantasy novels, and I believe she qualifies as one of the pioneers of the YA fantasy movement. Of course, I might be biased. I quite honestly adore everything she’s ever written. In college I forced a friend to read the Mairelon the Magician and Magician’s Ward books, because she said she’d liked Dealing with Dragons. That conversation started because I’d posted ‘None of this nonsense, please,’ above my dorm room door. Those were the words that Morwen the witch had painted on her house, if you’ll recall (and if you haven’t read Dealing With Dragons, Lord preserve us! I’ll mail you a copy if you win the contest. HUSH – yes, there’s a contest! Wait for it.).
I don’t remember her reaction being quite as enthusiastic as I’d hoped for, but that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm, and I’ve tried to get them into the hands of many a young person since, and even a few not-so-young persons as well. The problem with Mairelon and Magician’s Ward (and her title Snow White and Rose Red, for that matter) is that they haven’t been in print continuously. And when they are in print, they sometimes have ugly covers. It pains me to say it, but it’s true. So when I learned that Mairelon and Magician’s Ward were being reprinted TOGETHER, in a beautiful new package called A Matter of Magic, I was understandably elated.
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 Magician’s Ward, two fast-paced novels filled with mystery and romance, set against the intricate backdrop of Regency England."
Both of these stories follow Kim, a cross-dressing feisty street-dweller in an alternate-history England. That’s a mouthful, eh? So what’s alternate about it? Why, magic, of course! Kim has a tendency to get into scrapes, and her adventures (and those of Mairelon), are fun, fast-paced, a touch mysterious and always entertaining. Previously both titles were marketed to middle grade boys, but I can vouch that there’s enough there to make the teenage girl contingent swoon a bit as well.
Recommended for fans of Marissa Doyle’s Bewitching Season and Betraying Season, Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, and any of Wrede’s other titles. There’s the same strand of humor and adventure and liveliness that runs through the rest of her works. Definitely for fun, and definitely for YOU (Yes, you. Don’t try to hide.).
It turns out it’s your lucky day – I’m giving away THREE copies of A Matter of Magic!
Leave a comment on this post telling me which time period you’d add magic to (and if you’d visit it, of course!).
Please include your email address or another method of contact. Giveaway is open internationally. Comments will close on July 2 at 11:59pm EST, and I will notify the randomly selected winners via email.