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A Matter of Magic Paperback – June 8, 2010

89 customer reviews

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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"

About the Author

Patricia C. Wrede lives in Edina, Minnesota.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; 2 edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765326329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765326324
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 144 people found the following review helpful By datura2002 on 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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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By SarangHae on 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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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on 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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"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 By Chris Chittleborough on June 22, 2010
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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