Saturday, July 9, 2011
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011
MG; Historical; Fantastical
I originally skipped over this because it seemed more middle grade but after reading more about it at Small Review, I reevaluated. And I'm so glad that I did because this was delightful!
Kat is a spunky, headstrong twelve year old who gets into incredible amounts of mischief throughout the book. She hates being left out as her two older sisters Elissa and Angeline have done to her since they entered Society. She is desperate to protect her family from the looming gambling debts of her older brother Charles. She bristles under the guidance of her stepmother and she cannot behave like a "proper young lady." One of the reasons for that is because she has her mother's magic and part of the book is her journey to understanding and learning how to control her powers.
The other part, which intersects, is to save her sister Elissa from the sinister but wealthy Sir Neville and to engage superior suitors for the sisters instead, focusing on true love and merit rather than money. The various schemes surrounding this aim were so funny with Kat's desperate narration over her antics providing the perfect touch.
Despite the middle-grade label, I felt a very real danger from Sir Neville as well as from some other characters who may have other interests in Kat's magic. Although nothing extremely scary happens, there are some frightening moments. Happily Kat saves the day every time with her quick thinking and almost complete lack of fear. I had to keep reminding myself that she'd be safe whenever Sir Neville's presence was felt.
I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel where we should get to see more of her sisters' romances, a more relaxed stepmother, and further instruction for Kat's magic. I'm also expecting another delightful romp in Regency England, battling societal expectations and delving deep into the parameters of the magic world created by Burgis.
Overall: Charming Regency magical adventure; highly recommended!
Cover: This is only the front but it actually wraps around to show Kat's two sisters who are of course shocked by Kat's magic teapot.
Read for YA Debut Authors Challenge and British Book Challenge.