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A Matter of Magic: Mairelon and The Magician's Ward Paperback – June 8, 2010
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"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 COLLINS WREDE was born in Chicago, the oldest of five children. She attended Carleton College in Minnesota, where she majored in biology and managed to avoid taking any English courses. She began work on her first novel, Shadow Magic (1982), after graduation, though it took her five years to finish it. Ms. Wrede enjoyed a successful career as a financial analyst, but she always made time to write. Her published books now total more than a dozen.
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I love regency novels especially when they are real instead of filled with unreal sexual garbage, and these have the right amount of fantasy, adventure, and even courtship.
It's almost like reading Georgette Heyer, with magic. I've had some of my more critique-y friends say that the second book finished too quickly and I personally would like to have another in the series, but i'm good with what there is too. These books make my husband laugh every time we read them and we have read them multiple times.
All this praise leads me to ask only one question...
I keep searching Audible and can't find it, yet you have had an audio version for all of the Lyra novels so...
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE US AN AUDIO VERSION? (and if you want I can help with that, I'm great with accents)
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.)
The second book is The Magician's Ward where we see what Kim has to 'endure' to become a magician in society. Mairelon's real name is Merrill, and though she still calls him Mairelon, she must learn to speak and react in a civilized manner. His aunt, his mother, a cool Frenchwoman and some villains add to a great cast of characters. Again, this is a young adult story, it is fun and had some moments of great romance. I kind of wish there had been more...kissing. I love that this book is now available as the combination of the two stories. I really love the fact that "At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied."
That being said, I thought there was way too much talk and not enough action in this book. For what the story was I thought it would be exciting. I read the entire book but it was tedious. Talk, talk, talk. Explanations in much of the talk....
I don't know what the solution would be, but if this book was reworked somehow so it was full of action and half the talk it would be better.
The characters in themselves were not as bad as some people mentioned (in my opinion), the dialogue is pretty good (in the sense they are fluid) considering their continued length, and the magic concept is great.
However, the author creates situations where the characters unravel the mystery for a *really* long time. I mean almost several chapters are devoted to explaining what actually happened, which makes the book hard to read. Also I had a little trouble associating with Kim in the first book due to her speech, but it worked out eventually.
I read the entire book(s) and found the second part to be much better than the first, so I do recommend reading the second part if you're feeling a little bummed after the first one.