Book Review: Mairelon the Magician
Bu Patricia C. Wrede
Kim doesn’t hesitate when a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into the traveling magician’s wagon in search of a silver bowl. Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London-disguised as a boy!-has schooled her in one hard lesson: steal from them before they steal from you.
But there is something odd about this magician. He isn’t like the other hucksters and swindlers that Kim is used to. When he catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for.
Until he suggests she become his apprentice. Kim wonders how tough it could be faking a bit of hocus pocus.
But Mairelon isn’t an act. His magic is real. (Courtesy of goodread.com)
Adult Point of View
Mairelon the Magician is the kind of book I love to read on a lazy day. I fully admit it is not deep, but it is so much fun to read historical fantasy. Kim could easily play the role of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion. As a street urchin she doesn’t have a lot of options, and even less as a girl who would like to be honest (unless an occasional lock gets in the way). A world of opportunities open up to her as she travels with Mairelon.
The end of the book becomes a farce, and if I were to watch it on a stage it would probably make more sense. On stage you could keep track of each face rather than their names. There are four counterfeit dishes, and the original, a pair of clandestine lovers, criminals, a lord and lady, several sons of a druid order, servants, thieves, scoundrels, an undercover agents, magicians, a waif, well you get the idea. There are too many characters to really keep track of each one, their purpose in being there and why each one is pertinent to the plot. Some editing could have been applied.
The main reason I enjoyed Mairelon the Magician was because of Mairelon. He doesn’t have the usual mindset of the aristocracy, he never fully explains himself and is exasperating. It is also fun to read the growing relationship he has with Kim.
Even with the ending that stumbles over itself I enjoyed the book immensely.
Book Review: Magician’s Ward
By Patricia C. Wrede
When Mairelon made Kim his ward, he promised to teach her to be a lady and a magician. But magic proves to be harder than it looks for a girl who has just learned to read, and being a lady is even harder. Before frustration – and Merrill’s formidably correct aunt – can drive her mad, a mysterious gentleman attempts to burgle the Merrill town house. As disaster strikes Mairelon, Kim must negotiate the hazards of London society, aided by a London moneylender, a Russian wizard prince, seven legendary French wizards…and Mairelon’s charmingly eccentric mother.
(Courtesy of goodread.com)
Adult Point of View
Kim’s Pygmalion style transformation continues in Magician’s Ward with Regency Period society as the backdrop. As Kim learns magic we get a glimpse of the complicated nature of how magic fits into the world. I love to see the world building Wrede had in mind with these two books. One of my favorite scenes is when Mairelon’s non-magical and very proper aunt confronts Mannering, from the unseemly side of London. I can imagine his consternation in the face of this straight-laced woman.
The final breaking of the spell is a little convoluted, but manageable with the number of characters involved. Of the two books, Magician’s Ward, is the better of the two. The romance is expected, and has just the right amount of scandal to appease the ton.
The teas, balls and calling cards are from a different era. Why do we love Regency novels? Because we like the idea of a romance that is feminine when our own era lacks the grace we idealize from other times. My daughter tells me that the guys now will frequently expect you to pay for your own ticket on a date. Where is the charm in that? Who calls that romance? No wonder we fantasize of bygone times and men of a better caliber.