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Scent of Magic Hardcover – October 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 361 pages
  • Publisher: Eos; 1st edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380976870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380976874
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,259,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Are you among the many whose first fantasy book was an Andre Norton young adult novel? Scent of Magic is the latest in a long line of good old-fashioned Norton sword-and-sorcery tales. As always, Norton provides an intriguing premise: in this world, both good and evil magic are tied to plants and their scents.

The orphan Willadene has "the ability to recognize and name the most subtle of mixed scents," including the taint of evil. After she saves Hawice the Herbmistress from a magical trap, Hawice brings her to the Ducal castle. There Willadene meets the Duke's sheltered daughter Mahart, who is preparing for a marriage that will give her father an heir. Willadene also works with Nicolas, who spies for the Duke. When Mahart is abducted after meeting Prince Lorien, her intended fiancé, Willadene, Nicolas, and the Prince set out to find her and track down those responsible. Mahart and Willadene prove brave and resourceful, equal partners in the final struggle.

The writing isn't always up to Norton's standards; sentences are sometimes of baroque complexity. But fans of the Witch World series and those nostalgic for fairy-tale fantasy should seek out Scent of Magic. --Nona Vero

From Publishers Weekly

The veteran Norton concocts a heady mixture of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and aromatherapy in this new magical adventure. Scullery maid Willadene, 16, no sooner escapes from her cruel Aunt Jacoba's tavern than her gift, the ability to nose out the auras of Good and Evil, leads her into the service of innocent young High Lady Mahart, the victim of gorgeously wicked Aunt Saylana, who is scheming for the ducal throne of Kronengred?and more. To counterpoint her adolescent girl heroines Willadene and Mahart, Norton swirls familiar ingredients into her time-tested story recipe (the Witch World series), such as the intrepid spy Nicolas, the dashing warrior-prince Lorien, assorted evil uglies both human and unearthly and an enigmatic creature named Ssssaaa, the most intriguing of the lot. After 60 years of creating popular fantasy worlds, Norton can be forgiven the few dangling ends and generally conventional approach of this aromatic Disney-esque sword-and-sorcery tale.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I usually enjoy Andre Norton books.
Christine
I have read Andre Norton's books since I was a child and have loved and enjoyed every one of them.
Jack A Dalehite
This book catches and holds your attention just as all the other ones!!!
Kathy Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Fred Camfield on February 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Andre Norton is one of those rare authors who can continue to create new characters and settings in well developed plots. The present book introduces Willadene, a bedraggled waif fostered to a distant cousin to work as a scullery maid in the cousin's inn. Her future prospects are scant, with the cousin wanting to give her in marriage to a bloated drunkard of evil character who frequents the inn - a typical medieval notion of an arranged marriage. But Willadene's sensitivity, which makes her ill working in a tavern kitchen, turns out to be an asset to a dealer in herbs and cosmetics, and even more of an asset to the Duke's household.
Events carry Willadene into a grand and dangerous adventure. The Duchy is infested with evil which must be rooted out. She becomes involved with the Duke's daughter, the chancellor, a visiting prince, and "the bat," as the story moves forward to an action filled climax. The story seems to jump forward in a few spots, and switches between actions of different characters, but overall it's a good tale.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When Norton described the villain as having 'thick, blubbery lips', I started to wonder whether 'Scent of Magic' was one of her half-hearted, co-authored novels which are usually not worth reading. However, this book turned out to be vintage Norton. Not one, but two feisty heroines: a middle-aged herbalist and her apprentice combat an ancient evil, newly sprung to life.
When at the top of her form, this author magically transports her reader right into her fantasy world. This is one of Norton's books where I can actually see, taste, and feel through the senses of the heroine, who starts out as an abused scullery maid and ends up (through her own talent and courage) as a savior of the kingdom. If you liked Norton's Witch World books, 'Scent of Magic' is definitely for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This was my first Andre Norton book and I must say I liked it very much. Scent of Magic is a return to classic high fantasy-- with an interesting premise of people having the power to smell evil. Young scullery maid Willadene is elevated into the highest society of court for her special powers...but she is caught in court intrigues that go deeper than just evil. When the high lady Mahart is taken, Willadene sets out on a journey with the spy Nicolas to rescue her. Through all is woven scentes, both evil and good, and a story of a miraculously scented flower.
The court intrigue was done quite well, though I felt that Sherwood Smith's Court Duel did a better job. The only major quibble I had with the story was the flat characterizations. Willadene and Mahart were not very well developed at all, and I would really liked to have seen more of the elusive and enigmatic Nicolas. Still, the plot is almost enough to make up for that lack. If you like the genre of high fantasy, you will find Scent of Magic enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donna McHugh on August 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What can I say. This is vintage Andre Norton. Given the woman's age reviewing her books now is a bit like commenting on the dancing bear. It's a wonder she can still write at all, let alone write with her usual wit and craft. What I enjoyed most about this story was that it lacked the political correctness that her younger co-authors seem to throw into all their joint efforts. Scent of Magic has characters and a story and they go about their business supporting good and warring with evil. If you're a Norton fan this is something to be treasured as probably one of her last books in her own clear style.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the first Andre Norton book in my library, and it won't be my last. I very much disliked the author's science fiction, but the fantasy is amazing. The characters were very fleshed out and the plot was twisted with evil.
Quite similar to _Crown Duel_ or _Court Duel_ by Sherwood Smith...maybe not as good as those two, but has the ability to grasp the reader from beginning til end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
When Norton described the villain as having 'thick, blubbery lips', I started to wonder whether 'Scent of Magic' was one of her half-hearted, co-authored novels which are usually not worth reading. However, this book turned out to be vintage Norton. Not one, but two feisty heroines: a middle-aged herbalist and her apprentice combat an ancient evil, newly sprung to life.

When at the top of her form, this author magically transports her reader right into her fantasy world. This is one of Norton's books where I can actually see, taste, and feel through the senses of the heroine, who starts out as an abused scullery maid and ends up (through her own talent and courage) as a savior of the kingdom. If you liked Norton's Witch World books, 'Scent of Magic' is definitely for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ALinn on October 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Scent of Magic is the story of a girl with a gift. As usual in Andre Norton novels, the young woman is in a bad situation and finds out she has the power to scent magic and combat it the same way. The second protagonist has no gifts but common sense and an inner strength and wisdom. An evil woman plots with an ancient evil to retake a throne she feels should be hers. Along the way she even sacrifices her own son to get her way. Anyone who enjoys Andre Norton books or readers who like heroes striving against evil and discovering their hidden strengths will really enjoy this novel.
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