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Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot Paperback – September 1, 2004
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"A cult epistolary fantasy . . . Beguiling."--Kirkus Reviews
"Older girls who have outgrown Harry Potter will like their slightly rebellious natures, the magical twists and turns, and especially the humor and quick pace."--The San Diego Union-Tribune
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Top Customer Reviews
Already holding high expectations from the book, I was suprised when it started out slow. Used to the fast paced Harry Potter or the action-to-the-minute Enchanted Forest Chronicles, it took me a few chapters to really connect with the characters.
Written in letter form between two cousins, Kate and Cecelia, the book takes place in an alternate (magical) universe in England 1817. The two are well-born girls; Kate is off having a Season in London while Cecelia stays at home in the country. Kate feels pushed aside by her beautiful sister Georgina; Cecelia is put out by not being allowed a Season of her own.
But the plot soon picks up as the two girls' stories intertwine. In the country, ordinary Dorothea becomes irresistable to all men. Clever Cecelia befriends her and starts to unwind the mystery behind the weird attraction. Meanwhile, in London, Kate is almost poisoned by an "old" lady in a garden and befriends an "odious" Marquis to whom the retrieval of the the Enchanted Chocolate Pot is quite important.
The language and the magic in the book speak for themselves; I was completely drawn into this unique world. The intrigue and mystery were believable and definitely kept me turning pages. Kate and Cecelia's letters are witty and funny as they dabble in sorcery and try to save the Marquis of Shofield and themselves from the clutches of the estranged sorcerers Lady Miranda and Sir Hilary.
So...I would definitely reccommend this novel. IT WAS FABULOUS! This review really doesn't do the book justice. YOU HAVE TO READ IT! If you have any respect for fantasy novels, you simply must purshase this book. Consider making it a part of your permanent library. (You'll be wanting to read it again, I promise!)
Happy Reading! And watch for a its sequel, The Grand Tour, which might be out this summer!
Unfortunately, good novels seems to be out of vogue today, and you'll have an either difficult or exorbitant time buying it. For those who have read Wrede's other two Fantasy Regencies, "Mairelon the Magician" and "Magician's Ward," "Sorcery and Cecelia" is a must-read. For those with slim purses, interlibrary loan is a beautiful thing.
The concept is clever. The presentation is fun, with the women writing back and forth to each other. Their "voices" are distinct and their correspondence is very chatty at times. I like that part.
However, I feel as if the author tried to bring too many elements into the story. And, at times, I felt like I was reading a mix of irrelevant "news" and... well, kind of an information dump. It's not that the clues were dropped heavy-handed, but sometimes the context was a little jarring. It's difficult to explain, but -- for me, anyway -- those elements broke up the flow of the reading.
I recommend this book, anyway, as a clever approach... and sort of a mash-up of Regency and cozy mystery, with some metaphysical and Gothic elements thrown in.
Regency purists may flinch at the mix. Though this book is light, it's not Marion Chesney's style. It's a little more contemporary (modern) and kind of fun. However, it has a "first book" feeling to it, though the innovative concepts make up for the occasional disconnect in style.
Sometimes there seem to be quite a few characters to keep straight - or there are little details that don't seem to add much, but I'm guessing that was part of the nature in the way they wrote the book. (The authors just started writing their letters back and forth, without any discussion on where the story would go, or how their characters would interact). Still, definitely one I'd recommend. There's fun language, magic and impulsiveness that leads people to trouble :)