Review: A Matter of Magic

A Matter of Magic
Patricia C. Wrede
Publisher: Orb Books
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Pages: 448
Ratings: 3 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for. Until he suggests she become his apprentice; then the real trouble begins.

Kim soon finds herself entangled with murderers, thieves, and cloak-and-dagger politics, all while trying to learn how to become both a proper lady and a magician in her own right. Magic and intrigue go hand in hand in Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward, two fast-paced novels filled with mystery and romance, set against the intricate backdrop of Regency England.
A Matter of Magicwas a nice, quick read that fulfilled my desire for both fantasy and historical fiction. Originally published as two separate books, Mairelon the Magician (published in 1991) and The Magician’s Ward (published in 1997), A Matter of Magic gives you both for the price of one.
The stories in both books are not directly related, but it makes sense to offer the reader’s the full tale of Kim and Mairelon in one book. The first part of the book, originally Mairelon the Magician, I found entertaining, but at times confusing. There were a lot of secondary characters and everyone was after the same thing, some set of magic trinkets, that I kept easily getting confused and could not keep straight what character was what and who was good in bad. As the book progressed it got clearer but I was still confused until after the climax, where what everyone has been searching for is found. Then everything became clearer.
I enjoyed the second installment, originally The Magician’s Ward, a lot more then the first part. I was able to read through the second half much faster and make a lot more sense of the story. I loved seeing Kim progress from a street rat living as a thief into a respectable lady. The plot was not as complicated as the first half of the book making it a lot easier to understand. My only issue with this story line was the romance seemed to jump a little to quickly off the page. I saw it coming but would have liked to see it developed a bit more before the “bam! I’m in love.”
Overall, this book was a nice, quick read that I brought on a whim for Nook. I enjoyed it and did fulfill my desire to read historical and fantasy fiction at the same time.

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