Monday, July 25, 2011

61 of 111 A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede

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.(Published June 8th 2010 by Orb Books - Description from

A Matter of Magic actually contains two books, Mairelon the Magician (1991)and The Magician's Ward (1997), but the two books flow together and are so closely tied to each other that you'll want to read them together. These are YA books but they are both sweet stories with a nice mystery to be solved. 
Kim, the heroine to the books is a street thief who is recruited by a magician, Mairelon, after he catches her spying on him. Kim's adventures with Mairelon are fun and fast-paced. The dialogue is witty and Kim has a nice balance of brashness and common sense that makes her an enjoyable heroine. I liked Kim and enjoyed seeing her mature over the course of the two books. 
Mairelon was also a great character. He was so smart at times and so fantastically unaware at others that he made he laugh. 
Both books have a nice theme running through them about figuring out who you are and who you want to be in life. They addressed issues of being yourself versus the costumes/personalities we wear in public. Kim dresses and acts like a boy at the beginning of the story and her transformation into a lady and finally into herself in The Magician's Ward was a nicely written story with a nice message. Kim struggles with just how she is supposed to act. She has been elevated to to new level of society and has to transition from acting like a boy to acting like a lady. Instead of overplayed drama, the struggle plays out in Kim's head as she looks at the women surrounding her and sees how they navigate society.
There is gentle romance the forms towards the end of the second book that adds a nice depth to the story but what really makes the books enjoyable is following Kim in her adventures.

A fun fast-paced magical adventure!

A sweet romantic ending

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