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A Matter of Magic [Kindle Edition]

Patricia Wrede
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $7.00 (41%)
Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

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.



Editorial Reviews

Review

“ Delightful.…Will charm readers.”
—Publishers Weekly on Mairelon the Magician

“ A successful blend of Regency romance and historical fantasy in this lighthearted romp that should appeal to fans of both genres.”
—Library Journal on Mairelon the Magician

“ This title is a little bit of everything: historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, and Regency romance. A sure bet for fans of Philip Pullman’s Ruby in the Smoke.”  
—VO YA on The Magician’s Ward

“The romances of Georgette Heyer . . . were good, clean unpretentious fun. . . .  Patricia C. Wrede offers the unadulterated McCoy, with the trifling difference that hers in an alternative world where magic works.”
--Interzone on The Magician’s Ward

About the Author

Patricia C. Wrede lives in Edina, Minnesota.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1134 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; 2 edition (June 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003OYIA88
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,846 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my favorite fantasy/mystery books June 8, 2010
Format:Paperback
I am extremely happy that Orb Books is issuing this book, reprinting the out-of-print _Mairelon the Magician_ and _The Magician's Ward_ (the sequel) as one attractive and affordable volume.

Patricia Wrede is best known as the author of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles (_Dealing with Dragons_, etc.), but this book is my favorite. It's a fantasy set in Regency England (era of Jane Austen!), but with the addition of magical history and a Society of Wizards. The story begins in Hungerford Market in London, where Kim, a homeless street urchin and expert lock-picker, is hired to break into the wagon of one Mairelon the Magician. Though she is uneasy about the job, Kim agrees. However, as she opens a locked chest, an explosion goes off...

The tightly plotted story is very funny in parts, and the main characters and the dialogue are especially engaging. Kim is a sharp-tongued, tough heroine, motivated by a wish to get out of the streets where she has spent her life. Mairelon is witty and smart, and has a Puckish charm. Recommended for fans of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Jane Austen fans, and for readers looking for an unconventional Cinderella story.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute treasure! June 14, 2010
Format:Paperback
I 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
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but be aware... June 14, 2010
Format:Paperback
I was really excited that Patricia was coming out with a new book, I'd try anything she writes but be aware this is a reprint of 2 of her earlier books, don't expect anything new if you've read Mairelon the Magician and Magician's Ward.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"A Matter of Magic" is a re-issue of two books that I wish I'd discovered earlier: "Mairelon the Magician" and "The Magician's Ward." The fantasy story is engaging and entertaining; it made me smile several times.

Our heroine is a teenage girl who's survived the hardscrabble London back streets by posing as a boy, but Kim knows something has to change; she won't be able to hide her gender forever. When she's offered five pounds to snoop in the wagon of a market magician, it seems like a good deal; after all, she's an accomplished thief. Who could have imagined that someone with actual magical talent would be working the Hungerford market, though? Naturally, Kim gets caught up in the quest to find a set of magical items... zaniness ensues.

This could have been a recipe for a "plot coupon" novel, in which the heroine has to travel to several locales to find one Important Item after another. It might have been a lightweight love story dropped into a barely-fantasy universe. It might have been... well, a lot of predictable things. And in some ways maybe it is. But I didn't mind a bit, because the story is told with sincerity, the characters are utterly believable (or at least I was cheerfully convinced to suspend my disbelief), and Wrede does NOT take the obvious paths to Happily Ever After.

The result is a lovely example of "escape into a different world for a while." If you're looking for a gentle magic-works story that won't make your head hurt, I heartily recommend this set of books. It's an excellent "Just entertain me for a while" novel, which tickled my romance, fantasy, and historical-novel needs.

(By the way: Although there are indirect references to Kim's feared fate as a prostitute working in "the stews," there is no actual sex or other naughtiness. This is perfectly suitable for a pre-teen.)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Though written for "young adults", these two books will reward all adults with some superb character-driven humor. They are also first-class YA fantasy adventures.

The first book introduces a large cast of deftly-drawn characters who end up in a hilarious multi-sided conflict at a "temple".

The plot of the second book is somewhat darker, but there are still plenty of laughs along the way.

Recommended for everyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Abroad
I'm glad that they're finally republishing her works and that people out of the US (like me) can read them!
I was cheering for Kim from the moment I met her. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eleonora T
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure and magic in the 1800s
I've loved these books for years. Kim is a great character and the combination of historical fiction and magic here is so interesting. Another hit for Patricia C. Wrede. :)
Published 3 months ago by AprilSunshine
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Patricia Wrede
Fun and engaging. It was well written and I'm glad I bought it. I'll probably read it again.
Published 5 months ago by SGFarnstrom
5.0 out of 5 stars fun read
Patricia Wrede always does a fantastic job of weaving together creative characters and surprising plots. Kim was a strong, independent thief girl turned magician. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Darcy Bright
5.0 out of 5 stars ... first one- is a smashing adventure story- lots of fun, bursts of...
Mairelon the Magician- the first one- is a smashing adventure story- lots of fun, bursts of intensity, an avid introduction to a fantasy universe that is lively and engaging. Read more
Published 6 months ago by j han.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I very much enjoyed this book. It's got magic, mystery, and a bit of romance...something for everyone.
Published 7 months ago by Malinda
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful
A delightful pair of books. I like Kim especially. She has agency throughout and gets rationally cross when adults try to curtail that. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars My New Favorite Book
This is now one of my favorite books. It is witty and I couldn't put it down!
Published 9 months ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars Wizardly doing
A rollicking tale of rags to wizard and all of the bedlam in between. Kit and her magical mentor meet become friends and end up saving wizards from an unscrupulous moneylender.
Published 10 months ago by Deborah Broome
5.0 out of 5 stars Good books, great dialogue!
My biggest pet peeve when it comes to literature is dialogue. So many people come up with amazing worlds, and then their characters talk like puppets or (worse yet) soap opera... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Idril Celebrindal
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More About the Author

PATRICIA C. WREDE has written many novels, including Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot and The Grand Tour coauthored with Caroline Stevermer, as well as the four books in her own series, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. She lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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