Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Date read: January 6, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Regency Romance Fantasy
Year published: 1998
Pages: 288 (paperback)
Series? Book 2
Favorite character: Mairelon
Source: From library sale
Notes: I didn’t read book 1: Mairelon the Magician. (Also note: both books are available in a collection titled A Matter of Magic, which has the added perk of having a nicer cover than either volumes do alone.)
Georgette Heyer meets Diana Wynne Jones (though without quite the ridiculously wild shenanigans/characters and not as uproariously funny, yet still amusing in its own right) in a Jonathan-Strange-esque historical fantasy setting. Basically, this is a Regency Romance with magic. How delightful is that? 😀
It’s technically a sequel… but I got along just fine without having read the first book (titled Mairelon the Magician).
Our heroine, Kim, is a former street thief, who used to live on the streets of London, masquerading as a boy, and now lives in a fine house in London as the ward of Richard Merrill, a.k.a. Mairelon the Magician. Apparently the first book is about how they met. Mairelon is an upstanding gentleman (not to mention a somewhat young, handsome, and rich one, and therefore not ineligible) who, oh yes, also happens to be a magician.
The enjoyments of this novel include:
- Getting to see a girl who lived most of her life as a street-thief try to fit well enough into Polite Society (think Jane Austen heroines) so that Mairelon’s Aunt Agatha won’t have a fit at her being improper (hint: Kim isn’t always trying, plus she has bad habits of talking in street-thief slang, so this does not always go well), while also being Mairelon’s apprentice and learning magic and trying to look after him in her way, while trying to solve a mystery.
- Being immersed in the alternate history Regency setting, where magic is an established part of the world and it all makes total sense, and makes for a very fun read.
- A mystery which kept me puzzled right through, involving an attempted-burglary in the house library, mysterious books, unusual magics, and suspense about various magical goings-on.
- Mairelon himself, a character I took to at once and adopted into my “favorites” category. He reminded me somewhat of a slightly tamer version of Chrestomanci or Howl (likely because he’s a magician), and his cleverly cutting words where he manages to be impolite without seeming so (sometimes) were simply a joy. You can see he doesn’t really always care what Polite Society (so-called, as he says) thinks of him, but has to tread the line carefully so as to not utterly scandalize his aunt. MAIRELON IS AWESOME. That is all. ❤
- Kim and Mairelon together are fabulous too. I will spoil nothing, but they’re great. 😀
- Other characters, who include Hunch the loyal and grouchy manservant, a Russian Prince, some French magicians, and Mairelon’s mother who’s a fascinating character in her own right.
- Humor and fun dialog too. ❤
Really, I don’t know what else to say. It’s a Regency Romance with fantasy, fun characters, and—oh yes—it’s by Patricia C. Wrede, who wrote the amazingness that is the Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Searching for Dragons being one of my top-favorite books ever).
Jane-Austen-with-magic-and-mystery-and-cutting-dialog-and-Mairelon. What more need be said?
Fantasy Regency Romance should be a thing. I had no idea I was missing it, but now I need more of it in my life.
What think ye, my Pagelings? And have you ever read a Regency Fantasy? If so, PLEASE SPILL BECAUSE I WANT ‘EM.
(Posting this fantasy review today in appreciation of February is Fantasy Month hosted by Jenelle Schmidt!)
Thanks for reading!
Dream away in those pages . . .
~ The Page Dreamer