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The feisty Kat Stephenson is back in the second installment of the Regency era magical trilogy Kirkus Reviews calls “enjoyable mayhem.” Nowhere in England is safe from the mischief and magic of Kat Stephenson: Her eldest sister has finally wed, but when a scandalous accusation threatens the marriage prospects of Kat’s second sister, Angeline, Stepmama swiftly whisks the fam The feisty Kat Stephenson is back in the second installment of the Regency era magical trilogy Kirkus Reviews calls “enjoyable mayhem.” Nowhere in England is safe from the mischief and magic of Kat Stephenson: Her eldest sister has finally wed, but when a scandalous accusation threatens the marriage prospects of Kat’s second sister, Angeline, Stepmama swiftly whisks the family away to Bath in an attempt to outrun the gossip and betroth Angeline to a respectable suitor. Meanwhile, Kat’s utter lack of ladylike propriety has prompted the powerful Lord Ravenscroft to expel her from the magical Order of Guardians — before her training has even begun! Anger and exile aside, Kat knows something is not quite right about Lord Ravenscroft. Her insatiable curiosity and fierce loyalty to her family will have readers rooting for her all the way as Kat attempts to reunite Angeline with her true love and prove that she has what it truly takes to be a Guardian.


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The feisty Kat Stephenson is back in the second installment of the Regency era magical trilogy Kirkus Reviews calls “enjoyable mayhem.” Nowhere in England is safe from the mischief and magic of Kat Stephenson: Her eldest sister has finally wed, but when a scandalous accusation threatens the marriage prospects of Kat’s second sister, Angeline, Stepmama swiftly whisks the fam The feisty Kat Stephenson is back in the second installment of the Regency era magical trilogy Kirkus Reviews calls “enjoyable mayhem.” Nowhere in England is safe from the mischief and magic of Kat Stephenson: Her eldest sister has finally wed, but when a scandalous accusation threatens the marriage prospects of Kat’s second sister, Angeline, Stepmama swiftly whisks the family away to Bath in an attempt to outrun the gossip and betroth Angeline to a respectable suitor. Meanwhile, Kat’s utter lack of ladylike propriety has prompted the powerful Lord Ravenscroft to expel her from the magical Order of Guardians — before her training has even begun! Anger and exile aside, Kat knows something is not quite right about Lord Ravenscroft. Her insatiable curiosity and fierce loyalty to her family will have readers rooting for her all the way as Kat attempts to reunite Angeline with her true love and prove that she has what it truly takes to be a Guardian.

30 review for Renegade Magic

  1. 4 out of 5

    Danya

    I thought this second book in the series dragged a little more plot-wise than the first, and Kat's voice (and overabundance of self-confidence) sometimes got on my nerves. Also, some plot points either strained credulity or seemed rather too convenient. But I did like the setting of Bath, I appreciated that Kat had matured somewhat by the end, and I thought that an element of the climactic scene was very well-done ((view spoiler)[ Kat has to sacrifice her most precious belonging, her mother's mi I thought this second book in the series dragged a little more plot-wise than the first, and Kat's voice (and overabundance of self-confidence) sometimes got on my nerves. Also, some plot points either strained credulity or seemed rather too convenient. But I did like the setting of Bath, I appreciated that Kat had matured somewhat by the end, and I thought that an element of the climactic scene was very well-done ((view spoiler)[ Kat has to sacrifice her most precious belonging, her mother's mirror, which also functions as her portal into the Guardians' Hall (hide spoiler)] ). Also, shout-out to the new character of Lucy, who I felt very sorry for by the end. If anyone deserves a holiday after the events of this book, it's poor Lucy!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I love this series so much but I have a sad feeling that it isn’t going to be as well-loved as it deserves to be. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s probably because it’s more for younger young adults or because there’s no love story (unless you count Freddie, which you should. You should always count Freddie) and there’s no angst and the world isn’t complicated and edgy and it’s a magical-historical romp through Britain. But… um… well, those are all the reasons why I adore Ms Burgis’ series. They’re I love this series so much but I have a sad feeling that it isn’t going to be as well-loved as it deserves to be. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s probably because it’s more for younger young adults or because there’s no love story (unless you count Freddie, which you should. You should always count Freddie) and there’s no angst and the world isn’t complicated and edgy and it’s a magical-historical romp through Britain. But… um… well, those are all the reasons why I adore Ms Burgis’ series. They’re so much fun. This might sound like a negative point to a few of you but when I pick up one of the Kat Stephenson’s books, I know exactly what I’m getting. I know I’m not going to be left glaring at the author photo in anger that the ending left me in tatters and I know that I’m not going to be rolling my eyes at the simpering heroine. It’s safe… but it’s the good safe. I like reading books knowing that I’ll enjoy them. And I very much enjoyed this book. I have to admit, I didn’t get as carried away with this second book as much as I did with the first one and I think I know exactly why this is. In my review of An Improper Magick, I discussed how much I loved the relationship between the sisters (I invoked the Power of the March sisters. Which is always a good thing) and, unfortunately, this story kind of skimped on that. Slight spoilers for the first book. I’ll tell you when you can come back. (view spoiler)[Elissa is in marital bliss with the jittery Mr Collingwood and is only in the first few chapters of this book before she disappears on her honeymoon. And Angeline… well… well. I’ll let you find about that when you read this book. But it involves Freddie (*girly sigh*) and she’s hardly in it either. (hide spoiler)] OK, come back now. As much as I love Kat, I think her sisters bring the best out in her. They kind of amplify everything that I adored about her and their interactions were wonderful. I also think that this would have been a great opportunity to get to know Charles and Kat’s dad a bit more. We got brief glimpses of Daddy Stephenson but not nearly enough. I think they’re really different and unique characters and Charles always makes me laugh and, trying not to spoil it here, he had a really important part in this story… I just think it was a bit of a waste. This book got a lot better towards the end where the story seem to find its feet a bit more. I’m not sure what it was, possibly that it took me a while to find the time to read it, but it definitely lost some momentum in the middle. But apart from that, it’s a great story and Kat’s still brilliant and the world that Ms Burgis has created is still fantastic. I can’t wait to read the next one (last one? Possibly?) and see what other mischief Kat gets up to, hopefully with more family members in tow. And Freddie, of course. Always Freddie.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clare Cannon

    Another rollicking adventure involving the cluey Kat Stephenson in a magical Regency England. Like the first book there is much magic in this story, and though it is always easy to tell the good from the bad it is more suited to mature readers who will not be drawn in too easily. When an innocent person is roped into a magical power-seeking plot by an evil magician and a group of larrikin youths, Kat must use her minimal knowledge of magic and history to save him. There is Latin chanting and sac Another rollicking adventure involving the cluey Kat Stephenson in a magical Regency England. Like the first book there is much magic in this story, and though it is always easy to tell the good from the bad it is more suited to mature readers who will not be drawn in too easily. When an innocent person is roped into a magical power-seeking plot by an evil magician and a group of larrikin youths, Kat must use her minimal knowledge of magic and history to save him. There is Latin chanting and sacrificing to and summoning of ancient powers in the historic Roman baths—supposed to be close to a magical 'source'—and a new young friend is possessed by raw magic (which comically has her shattering glass and causing turbulence to the tune of her emotional state). Though Kat and her helpers don't really believe in these gods and goddesses, the evil plot's belief in them means that much magical harm can still be done. Kat is a wonderful little character who learns a great deal. She discovers the importance of tact and diplomacy, realising that it is better to encourage cooperation than to spark contests of will. Unfortunately, other people don't always realise the seriousness of the situation and Kat is forced to take extreme magical action to prevent harm to those she loves. There is much talk about the impropriety of Kat's sister Angeline taking a fancy to a man who is known to be a rake, especially when she runs away with him in order to drive her real fiancé into action. However, she can always resort to magic to keep herself from harm, and Angeline's stubborn, slightly self-centred methods of dealing with injustice are poignantly contrasted with Kat's selflessness. Once again the sisters demonstrate love and concern for one another, behind the guise of their constant sparring. And in this episode Kat demonstrates a great respect for her gentle father. He admits that he is not always as observant as he ought to be, but he is concerned about his daughter and she realises she cannot disappoint or deceive him. For readers who can distinguish between the magical fiction and the real character development, this is a lively series that offers much more fun than a soppy romance. Reviewed for www.GoodReadingGuide.com

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    As rollicking and delightful as the first. There is perhaps more danger to Kat here but also more growth, as she struggles to learn to control her temper for both personal and magical reasons. reread 2020: It becomes increasingly frustrating when the people around Kat will not listen to her or if they do they do not believe her, but that also brings about some growth as she realizes that if she wants to be believed she has to be trustworthy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Kat wants to become a Guardian like her mother was, but snobbery and prejudice keep her from learning how. Meanwhile, her family deals with vicious rumors that could ruin Kat and her sisters' reputations for good. I love the combination of Regency England and fantasy, and Burgis combines them well. Kat wants to become a Guardian like her mother was, but snobbery and prejudice keep her from learning how. Meanwhile, her family deals with vicious rumors that could ruin Kat and her sisters' reputations for good. I love the combination of Regency England and fantasy, and Burgis combines them well.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Diamond

    Review first posted on my blog, Dee's Reads You know what they say about sequels? Sequels are unfortunately, many times, less enticing than the first book in a series. This books is prime example of why they say such things. It took me so long to get through this book, which says a lot because it's a middle grade book. Why do I feel that it fell short? Let me list the ways… -Kat seems to be almost a caricature of herself, even more incorrigible (ok, it's in the title, I get it), but she didn't just Review first posted on my blog, Dee's Reads You know what they say about sequels? Sequels are unfortunately, many times, less enticing than the first book in a series. This books is prime example of why they say such things. It took me so long to get through this book, which says a lot because it's a middle grade book. Why do I feel that it fell short? Let me list the ways… -Kat seems to be almost a caricature of herself, even more incorrigible (ok, it's in the title, I get it), but she didn't just border on annoying—she was annoying. Until she met up with Emily, her first friend and another young lady in the series who is about Kat's age—we finally get to see a different dynamic between Kat and another character who isn't just either ENEMY or FAMILY. *yawn* -The plot was predictable. Eerily close to the first book, but lacking in magic, was the plot. -I felt like the book was bumbling around…disaster after disaster that didn't really seem too believable — okay it's fictional and middle grade but something just didn't "click" throughout the book… UNTIL THE END I gotta say the author knows how to end a book. Her ending is what made the last book spectacular; and the ending is what made this book "okay/good" instead of just, well, "meh." The ending was brilliant, I have to say. Was it enough to save the book and make it great? Not for me, no. Will I read the next book, the last book, in the series? Well, yeah…I already bought it. I want to see it out, but I'm pushing it back so I am not sure when I'll get to it. I kind of feel like I know exactly what to expect. That's not a really great feeling for the end of a series. The things I did like was the addition of Emily to the character list (I hope she's in the next book). Like I mentioned, I loved the ending and it pretty much made me give this book two stars instead of one. I also liked the history and the inclusion of the ancient Roman Baths. I loved learning how they were in Bath back then and what people thought of them. It was really funny and I learned some unexpected things. I recommend this book for a younger audience of readers who are interested in Regency era Britain.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica at Book Sake

    The second book in the Kat, Incorrigible series still has the charm, the Jane Austen style, and scheming, but maybe not quite as grand as the first. Maybe it was intentional because the book itself felt simpler, possibly to be more accessible to a younger audience. That’s not to say the book isn’t enjoyable. Kat is still gets into all kinds of problems and is entirely unapologetic about it in the most charming way. But the problems aren’t quite as messy, the scheming isn’t quite as tricky, and th The second book in the Kat, Incorrigible series still has the charm, the Jane Austen style, and scheming, but maybe not quite as grand as the first. Maybe it was intentional because the book itself felt simpler, possibly to be more accessible to a younger audience. That’s not to say the book isn’t enjoyable. Kat is still gets into all kinds of problems and is entirely unapologetic about it in the most charming way. But the problems aren’t quite as messy, the scheming isn’t quite as tricky, and the magic is a little less magical. The threat a bit less hazardous, the villain was a little less hidden in shadow, almost standing out in broad daylight, and his downfall not as hard to come by. This book is great for young readers who enjoy reading about clever girls who know better then any adult. Sprinkle on some magic and I am sure their eyes will light up. For adults, who only just enjoyed the first may be a little underwhelmed by the sophomore offering. Reviewed by Chris for Book Sake.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Miss Clark

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 stars Kat and her family are as much fun as before, while her foes grow ever more vexing! It is always so very frustrating when the young protagonist either is not believed about those who are doing evil or cannot get adequate help from those who are in a position to do something about it. We get both of these frustrating things here. There is a genuinely touching scene between Kat and her father at the baths. Well done! It goes a long way towards making up for his apparent neglect (or at its m 3.5 stars Kat and her family are as much fun as before, while her foes grow ever more vexing! It is always so very frustrating when the young protagonist either is not believed about those who are doing evil or cannot get adequate help from those who are in a position to do something about it. We get both of these frustrating things here. There is a genuinely touching scene between Kat and her father at the baths. Well done! It goes a long way towards making up for his apparent neglect (or at its most mild severe distraction) towards his children. I also appreciated Kat trying to prevent Angeline from making some terrible choices. Very much looking forward to the third book, Stolen Magic!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

    Ah, this was so good! I have no complaints. Though I'm generally not a big fan of Regency or magic, I have huge affection for this series so far and this was such an enjoyable read. The characters are so entertaining to read about and I love that they are so capable and don't make stupid decisions, yet they still find themselves in all manner of sticky situations. The plot went in loads of directions I didn't expect it to and the ending was very satisfying. Can't wait to see how it all ends! Ah, this was so good! I have no complaints. Though I'm generally not a big fan of Regency or magic, I have huge affection for this series so far and this was such an enjoyable read. The characters are so entertaining to read about and I love that they are so capable and don't make stupid decisions, yet they still find themselves in all manner of sticky situations. The plot went in loads of directions I didn't expect it to and the ending was very satisfying. Can't wait to see how it all ends!

  10. 4 out of 5

    TheBookSmugglers

    Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers It was a truth universally acknowledged that my brother Charles was a hopeless gamester, a ridiculous over-sleeper and the one sibling too lazy to take part in any family arguments, no matter how exasperating our sisters might have been (and usually were). Kat Stephenson, untrained Guardian and youngest member of the Stephenson family, has saved the day, and now must deal with the consequences. Thanks to her efforts, Kat's eldest sister Elissa is marrying Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers It was a truth universally acknowledged that my brother Charles was a hopeless gamester, a ridiculous over-sleeper and the one sibling too lazy to take part in any family arguments, no matter how exasperating our sisters might have been (and usually were). Kat Stephenson, untrained Guardian and youngest member of the Stephenson family, has saved the day, and now must deal with the consequences. Thanks to her efforts, Kat's eldest sister Elissa is marrying the man of her dreams (and newly found substantial fortune, also thanks to Kat), Mr. Collingwood. Her brother Charles' sizable gambling debts are repaid, Angeline and Kat are restored with modest dowries, and all seems to be looking up for the Stephenson family. On the day of the wedding though, things go terribly awry when the ceremony is rudely interrupted by one Mrs. Carlyle - mother to the (formerly bewitched) Frederick Carlyle, come to rescue her son from the scandalous, ruinous clutches of Angeline Stephenson. After receiving a vindictive letter from high-society darling, Lady Fotherington, Angeline's prospects seem ruined as she is revealed publicly as a witch - her true love, Frederick, is taken away by his enraged mama, his inheritance threatened to be withheld should he choose to dabble with the likes of the Stephensons. Even worse, after learning this news, Kat confronts fellow Guardian, Lady Fotherington (whom has always had it in for Kat and her family, stemming from some past brawl with Kat's mother) - and promptly gets herself thrown out of the Guardians' order, much to the glee of Fotherington. In order to salvage the family's reputation before the gossip of witchcraft can reach the rest of society, Kat's Stepmama whisks away the family (sans newlywed Elissa) to Bath, under the guise of paying a visit to their Stepmama's very rich and well connected cousins and enjoy the locale's health restoring properties. In reality, Kat's Stepmother's plan is simple and direct - they are at Bath to find Angeline a husband before Lady Fotherington's malicious handiwork catches up to them. Things at Bath, however, do not go smoothly to plan. First, there's the problem of tricking Stepmama's rich cousins into accepting the Stephensons as guests (thanks to Kat's quick thinking and storytelling). There's the problem of saving Angeline from her own ridiculous schemes to push everyone away. Most importantly, there's the question of the restorative springs at Bath themselves - wild magic is afoot, and it involves Kat's brother Charles, her cousin Lucy, and the Guardians themselves. With Kat expelled from the order, though, she has to rely on only her own wits to solve the mystery and save the day. Well, folks, what can I say? Renegade Magic is every bit as fantastic as Kat, Incorrigible - heck, it's even better. Everything that I loved about the first book and came to expect from the second book - Kat's penchant for mischief-making and magic-wielding, the love and understandable frustrations between Kat and her family, for two - are present in abundance here. The ante is upped in Renegade Magic, in terms of plot complications (they are wonderful), character development (especially between Kat and her various family members), and in terms of Kat's abilities herself. Let's talk plot, first. The storyline for Renegade Magic is more complex than the first book, throwing in not only romantic entanglements and magical mischief, but also some serious conflict in the way of Kat getting kicked out of the Guardians' order, being stripped of access to the Golden Hall, and her powers forever destined to be stunted as she will never have formal training by any Guardian mentor. Things get even more drastic when Kat stumbles across some dangerous wild magic in the bath houses, ancient Roman rituals amassing crazy amounts of power, and must figure out who is behind the gatherings before her brother Charles ends up a sacrificial lamb to someone else's dastardly scheme. There's also the ever-present tension between Kat and Angeline, as Angeline is hell bent on her ridiculous schemes to make her Stepmama go apoplectic, and stick it to society at the same time. In fact, I think my favorite parts of Renegade Magic involve Kat and Angeline and their relationship. As with the first book, clearly both sisters love each other (and by way of comparison, Kat and Angeline's cousins, Maria and Lucy are a great example of nasty sisters), though they do have their own tensions and animosity. Angeline still refuses to share their mother's spell books with Kat, and clearly harbors resentment towards her younger sister for inheriting Guardian powers and a position in the secret order of society magicians. At the same time, Kat jumps into trouble head-first, even with the best of intentions (protecting her sister and brother, for example) without thinking of consequences. There's also more inclusion of Kat's Stepmama - giving her more of a voice and full dimension as a character that does love her stepchildren, for all her blustering - which is fantastic. Plus, this time around, we are fully introduced to brother Charles (who needs more conviction, but actually does stand up for his sisters), and best of all, Kat's father - who finally takes a stand for his family in a gloriously fist-pump-of-awesomeness pivotal moment. Of course, the success of the book relies on Kat herself, and she's stronger than ever in Renegade Magic. Just as clever, just as quick-witted, and just as wonderfully headstrong, Kat is a heroine with her heart in the right place, who will do anything for those she cares about. And that is pretty freaking awesome. I loved this book to bits, and I cannot wait for more. Absolutely, enthusiastically recommended, and easily a notable read of 2012.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maša

    One sister is due a wedding, one a betrothal, and one a Guardianship of the UK from dangerous magic. Of course, everything spirals out of control, and many a proper person comes to insult. Our protagonist is even more insufferable and headstrong than before, but she thankfully changes a bit by the end, accepting responsibilities. The plot feels like a repetition of the previous book, until the finale that was very satisfying and left me wanting more. Definitely continuing with this delightful se One sister is due a wedding, one a betrothal, and one a Guardianship of the UK from dangerous magic. Of course, everything spirals out of control, and many a proper person comes to insult. Our protagonist is even more insufferable and headstrong than before, but she thankfully changes a bit by the end, accepting responsibilities. The plot feels like a repetition of the previous book, until the finale that was very satisfying and left me wanting more. Definitely continuing with this delightful series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy (Turn the Page)

    A Tangle of Magicks, I’m happy to say, is even more enjoyable than, Kat, Incorrigible, the first book in this refreshing children’s series by Stephanie Burgis (my review of which, can be read here). I was swept up in Kat’s latest adventure from beginning to end – in fact I finished it in one sitting. Best of all, the characters I grew to love from the first book are all back; we finally get to know a little more about Charles, Kat’s older brother; and see Kat and her father set out to rescue him A Tangle of Magicks, I’m happy to say, is even more enjoyable than, Kat, Incorrigible, the first book in this refreshing children’s series by Stephanie Burgis (my review of which, can be read here). I was swept up in Kat’s latest adventure from beginning to end – in fact I finished it in one sitting. Best of all, the characters I grew to love from the first book are all back; we finally get to know a little more about Charles, Kat’s older brother; and see Kat and her father set out to rescue him when he gets in a spot of magical trouble of his own! A Tangle of Magicks feels slightly more grown up than its predecessor (much as I enjoyed it) and those who loved Burgis’s first book will be more than delighted with book two! Whereas Kat, Incorrigible stuck to a simple, but fun, plot-line; A Tangle of Magicks has several story arcs going on, secretive new characters and a mystery to unravel. The story starts with Elissa’s marriage to Mr Collingwood, but this being the Stephenson family, things almost immediately start to go awry and it’s not long before Kat is expelled from the Order for her own hot-headedness before she’s even begun her training! Cue a family trip to Bath in the hunt for a rich husband, flirtations with scandalous rakes, midnight sacrifices, fake elopements, and a determined Kat let loose in a new city, on a mission to set things right. As always, Burgis seems to just channel everything I love about Jane Austen, and, fittingly, this time round, Kat’s (mis)adventures take place in Bath. This change of scenery, while being wonderfully apt, also helps prevent A Tangle of Magicks from being in any way similar to the first book. The famous Roman Baths form a very important part of the story, and I enjoyed the tidbits of real information that were worked in, adding a sense of realism that Kat, Incorrigble, at times, lacked. Magic and spell-work featured a lot more in this book, and I was glad to see Kat beginning to explore and understand her own powers better. She really comes into her own in this book, and I can’t wait to see more of her and Mr Gregson working together in any future books. I loved his dry humour and world-weary exasperation over Kat’s antics and it was great to see him start to trust her more, and to see Kat learn to occasionally ask for help when she needed it. We also learn much more concerning the Guardians and the Order, and several important members make an appearance. I have a strange feeling the Order’s not going to know what hits them if Kat ever manages to become a Guardian and I can’t wait to watch her shake up this centuries old society, dragging them into the er… 18th Century! Kat is just as willful, stubborn and interfering as ever, but she is also incredibly brave, loyal, funny and spirited. The girl just gets into one scrape after another and in A Tangle of Magicks predictably finds herself in several embarrssing situations (being trapped at night in the Roman Baths with a hoard of young men whose bathing suits leave little to the imagination was one such situation that had me chuckling – especially given Kat’s reaction to Lucy’s admiration for her older brother at the time). Angeline is still my favourite, I have to admit – and there are some rather delicious moments with Mr Carlyle and her scenes with Fredrick just sizzle on the page. I adore these two and very much enjoyed their own storyline that Burgis gives them in A Tangle of Magicks. I only wish I could tempt her to write a spin-off told from Angeline’s point of view so we can experience some of their flirting first hand! We are also introduced to several new characters, in particular a Miss Lucy, who I can’t help but think may be causing even more havoc than Kat in the future. Here’s hoping these two get together to cause more mischief in the next installment! This series just makes me smile. Stephanie is a strong children’s writer, and has created some lovely characters I never want to leave behind. As much as I enjoy Kat’s exploits and a Regency era where magic is common-place, more than that I love the Stephensons. This eccentric, bickering family (reminiscent of the famous Bennets) are fiercely loyal to one another. There are several great moments in A Tangle of Magicks where we see the Stephenson family band together, but the best and totally cheer-worthy scene has to go to Stepmama when she puts her snobbish family in their place . The Kat series is a treat for adults and kids alike, and I would urge anyone looking for a fun, lighthearted read to pick up A Tangle of Magicks and be rewarded with a fast paced, amusing story, loveable characters and a young protagonist who is well on her way to becoming the most infuriating, difficult and stubborn student in Guardian history. Poor Mr Gregson!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie Montgomery

    I so wish these had been around when I was a kid. They are so much fun.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    A Tangle of Magicks is 300 pages of fun, fabulousness and magical frolics. I know I mentioned Kat’s awesomeness briefly in my review of A Most Improper Magick, but to match her increase in awesome, I thought I’d expand it a little! Kat is the type of girl that I wish I was when I was twelve. She’s strong, fiercely loyal and completely kick-ass. When it comes to her family and the people she loves, there’s nothing she wouldn’t do. For all of her often disastrous plans, I was glad that she has a c A Tangle of Magicks is 300 pages of fun, fabulousness and magical frolics. I know I mentioned Kat’s awesomeness briefly in my review of A Most Improper Magick, but to match her increase in awesome, I thought I’d expand it a little! Kat is the type of girl that I wish I was when I was twelve. She’s strong, fiercely loyal and completely kick-ass. When it comes to her family and the people she loves, there’s nothing she wouldn’t do. For all of her often disastrous plans, I was glad that she has a clueless older brother to teach her questionable skills such as ‘fisticuffs’, billiards and wrestling that are most definitely unladylike and actually very useful. And speaking of Charles: what a completely hopeless man he is. In the Regency period, a man was judged so acutely on his conduct in society and he spent his days sleeping or gambling! And then it took something potentially dangerous for him to step up to defend his little sisters from the grubby hands of horrible men. If that wasn’t enough, he then went on to get himself involved in one of the most dangerous magical plots, unwittingly of course, that he possibly could with only Kat and the Guardian’s having enough power to save him. But he was kind of endearing at the same time... There were, however, some characters in A Tangle of Magicks that were most definitely NOT endearing: Lady Fotherington and Lord Ravenscroft. My dislike of them began in A Most Improper Magick and only exploded in this instalment of the series. They’re so mean! I do hate it when horrible people have so much power. Though I have to admit that there was a moment during the final showdown when Lady Fotherington showed a hint of goodness; not enough to completely redeem her, however. But I think that one of my favourite elements of A Tangle of Magicks is its setting: Bath. As some of you may know, I go to university in Bath and it has quickly worked its way into my heart. Stephanie Burgis’s evocative depiction of the city I now call my home stirred up quite a lot of emotions as I’m back where I grew up for the summer and missing Bath like a crazy person. As the Stephenson’s and the Wingate’s walked past the Abbey (my favourite place in the city), into the Pump Rooms or past the Roman Baths, I exploded with jealousy. I could envisage that walk so, so clearly that I had to stop reading because it made me so sad! Thankfully, I will be back in Bath next month to meet Stephanie herself and move into my new house. I loved A Tangle of Magicks and if you haven’t read this series yet; do it! You won’t regret it, I promise.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bella

    I read an e-galley of the first book, A Most Improper Magic, when it was being released in the US under the title Kat, Incorrigible. It was cute and funny, and I loved it. A Tangle of Magicks, the second book in the series, is just as cute and just as funny, and I loved it just as much. Kat is of course, her usual outgoing, occasionally annoying but always amusing and lovable self. She does what she thinks is the right thing to do, but she often does it without thought and sh usually just gets h I read an e-galley of the first book, A Most Improper Magic, when it was being released in the US under the title Kat, Incorrigible. It was cute and funny, and I loved it. A Tangle of Magicks, the second book in the series, is just as cute and just as funny, and I loved it just as much. Kat is of course, her usual outgoing, occasionally annoying but always amusing and lovable self. She does what she thinks is the right thing to do, but she often does it without thought and sh usually just gets herself into trouble. Her magic is progressing, but she doesn't know how to use it yet, so for a lot of the book I think she feels helpless and a little sorry for herself for messing up the only chance she has to make good use of her magic, even though she is very good at not showing what she is really thinking. Everything she does is full of mischief and fun, and every single page something new happened that had me smiling, or even laughing out loud. Again, the plots were silly and completely unbelievable, which is of course what makes them so good. This book takes place in Bath, where Kat discovers that the Roman baths are full of wild magic. When she finds out that her brother is unknowingly involved in a crazy plot to harness this magic, she has to risk her newly discovered powers and try to save him. Of course, while doing this, she gets herself and others into trouble, and ruins her friends' reputation in Society, but she doesn't care because all she can think about doing is saving her brother. There's also a whole story about Angeline, Kat's sister, in which Kat also tries to save Angeline from the horrible player that is Viscount Scarwood. There was nothing about this book that I didn't like. I cannot fault it. Just like with the first book, I can find nothing to complain about. The characters were amazing, the plot was fantastic, and I read the whole book in a matter of hours. A Tangle of Magicks is definitely a worthy sequel to A Most Improper Magick. It perfectly carries on the story, and it's so easy to jump straight back into the world of Kat Stephenson, and not jump out until the end of the story. I cannot wait for the next instalment, if there is one, as again, I'm sure it will live up to the amazingness of the first two awesome books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Limau Nipis

    Well, well, after 2 years, I finally read the second installment in the Kat, Incorrigible series. Magical mayhem. Screaming hoydens. Kat being stripped of her Guardian title, because of her curiosity and the Guardians saw her not fit telling the 'lies'. I love that Stephanie Burgis set the characters in a different town, which is Bath. This give the book, a feel of another notch of adventure, like being in a different place, with different experience - although we are familiar with Kat's family and Well, well, after 2 years, I finally read the second installment in the Kat, Incorrigible series. Magical mayhem. Screaming hoydens. Kat being stripped of her Guardian title, because of her curiosity and the Guardians saw her not fit telling the 'lies'. I love that Stephanie Burgis set the characters in a different town, which is Bath. This give the book, a feel of another notch of adventure, like being in a different place, with different experience - although we are familiar with Kat's family and introducing other supporting characters, such as Lucy, her long distance cousin? Bath is rich with history, thus, this has been the perfect layout for the story. Bath, with its magical water for the invalids, and the noble class drinking the water from The Pump Room, every morning without fail (what were they thinking at THAT TIME?) Kat rescued her family, her cousin (who actually is a witch!), and most of all, thanks to her tutor, she was restored back to be the Guardian. Kudos for Kat!

  17. 4 out of 5

    E.M. Tippetts

    Kat Stephenson is back, and this time she and her sisters and brother are in Bath, where Stepmama hopes to find a suitable match for Angeline. Never mind that Angeline has already found her true love; his mother has put paid to that union. Kat would love to have her sister's ear, but Angeline isn't speaking to her. For that matter, neither are the Guardians after Kat loses her temper in front of their leader. There is strange magic around the baths that give the English west country town its name Kat Stephenson is back, and this time she and her sisters and brother are in Bath, where Stepmama hopes to find a suitable match for Angeline. Never mind that Angeline has already found her true love; his mother has put paid to that union. Kat would love to have her sister's ear, but Angeline isn't speaking to her. For that matter, neither are the Guardians after Kat loses her temper in front of their leader. There is strange magic around the baths that give the English west country town its name, though, and Kat's in the unique position to see more than a girl her age ought. Someone is tapping into this ancient and devastating power, and will Kat be able to get the attention of either her sister or the Guardians before it's too late? Yes, I know it isn't out yet, but I have connections, what can I say? Given I know a lot of writers and have access to more books than anyone can read in a lifetime, it's notable that I finished this book in two days - and that felt like too long because I really wanted to just sit and read it all on the first day.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hallie

    Got an advance copy of this from a charity auction - win-win! Much as I enjoyed A Most Improper Magick, I thought this outing was even stronger - tighter and more controlled, while still as much fun as the first. I also loved the magic in Bath! Kat's a great protagonist - determined and independent without ever being merely stroppy - and the family relationships are wonderful. Younger than the books I usually read - wish this had come out when the girls were younger, as it would have been deligh Got an advance copy of this from a charity auction - win-win! Much as I enjoyed A Most Improper Magick, I thought this outing was even stronger - tighter and more controlled, while still as much fun as the first. I also loved the magic in Bath! Kat's a great protagonist - determined and independent without ever being merely stroppy - and the family relationships are wonderful. Younger than the books I usually read - wish this had come out when the girls were younger, as it would have been delightful to read out loud to them!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    As much as I loved book 1, book 2 is even better! (I read both in manuscript form.) The setting moves to the city of Bath, where Kat uncovers some very dangerous magic. All my favorite characters from book 1 are back, but now we get a much closer look at Kat's brother Charles. Luckily, Kat's own magical powers are progressing, so she's more than equal to the task of rescuing her family from even graver (and more exciting!) situations. LOVE THIS BOOK!!! As much as I loved book 1, book 2 is even better! (I read both in manuscript form.) The setting moves to the city of Bath, where Kat uncovers some very dangerous magic. All my favorite characters from book 1 are back, but now we get a much closer look at Kat's brother Charles. Luckily, Kat's own magical powers are progressing, so she's more than equal to the task of rescuing her family from even graver (and more exciting!) situations. LOVE THIS BOOK!!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Deva Fagan

    Even better than the first! This is one of the best *sequels* I've ever read, too. I am so impressed by how the book drew me right back into Kat's world, reminding me of what I needed to know from the first book, without over-burdening the delicious new story. I just love these characters so much! They're funny and charming and true, especially Kat herself. And while the ending was completely satisfying, I'm even more eager now for the third book! Even better than the first! This is one of the best *sequels* I've ever read, too. I am so impressed by how the book drew me right back into Kat's world, reminding me of what I needed to know from the first book, without over-burdening the delicious new story. I just love these characters so much! They're funny and charming and true, especially Kat herself. And while the ending was completely satisfying, I'm even more eager now for the third book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ann Brookens

    So much fun! On the heels of Kat, Incorrigible, Renegade Magic is a delightful romp through 1803 Bath. Kat and family remove to Bath after her older sister's wedding has been scandalously interrupted. The ancient baths appear to be seething with wild magic, and Kat can't help but investigate! I am looking forward to Kat's continuing adventures! So much fun! On the heels of Kat, Incorrigible, Renegade Magic is a delightful romp through 1803 Bath. Kat and family remove to Bath after her older sister's wedding has been scandalously interrupted. The ancient baths appear to be seething with wild magic, and Kat can't help but investigate! I am looking forward to Kat's continuing adventures!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jacqui

    Again the adventures of Kat Stevenson provided fun, intrigue and excitement but again the characters suffered from the same flaws which made for clumsy plot devices. Not enough faults for me to give up on her though and it was a fun read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Willow H. Wood

    This book is even better than the first. It's just fantastic. If there isn't a third installment, I might just go crazy. This book is even better than the first. It's just fantastic. If there isn't a third installment, I might just go crazy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Morag

    Great read very innocent and a nice injection of excitement.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sequels are tricky things. Can you recapture the magic of the original while telling an entirely new story? Can you satisfy both your old readers without losing your new ones? Should you have that Babysitters Club second chapter where they explain that Kristy came up with the idea but they hold meetings in Claudia's room because she's the only one with a private phone line? Or is that going to get really old around the tenth book, when the Pikes take Stacey and Mary Anne to the shore to help out Sequels are tricky things. Can you recapture the magic of the original while telling an entirely new story? Can you satisfy both your old readers without losing your new ones? Should you have that Babysitters Club second chapter where they explain that Kristy came up with the idea but they hold meetings in Claudia's room because she's the only one with a private phone line? Or is that going to get really old around the tenth book, when the Pikes take Stacey and Mary Anne to the shore to help out with their annual vacation? Happily, this is not a problem for Burgis, as Renegade Magic, the second book in Stephanie Burgis' phenomenal Kat Stephenson trilogy, is every bit as fun as it's predecessor. And, happily for both me and the Universe (though not so happily that we won't be sending that memo), I learned of Renegade Magic immediately after learning of Kat, Incorrigible, so there was none of this 'being oblivious for a year' nonsense to make me feel like an idiot. So I was able to put down #1 and pick up #2 immediately. Which is a wonderful thing, because it is Completely Awesome. How? (you ask.) Well, let me give you a few reasons... 1) The cover. Now, I know the cover is not something the author ultimately has control over, but I do feel like I have to pause to point out how completely in love with I am all of the Magic covers. As you saw above the cut, Renegade Magic follows the tradition started in Kat, Incorrigible by have the most wonderful cover. Seriously - can we talk about how scrumptious these things are? I really have to hand it to the people in the Art Department at Athenum — these things really are fabulous. They're not just fun and beautiful and have all of those delicious colors that just pop on the bookshelves, they really capture the feel of the books (at least for me). Seriously - just look at them! 2) Elissa's Wedding. So, um, spoilers, I guess? (Sort of.) (Not really.) The book starts out well for all the characters, with Kat's oldest sister, Elissa, looking forward to her impending wedding, and Angeline and Frederick "The Smolder" Carlyle having worked things out (if unofficially). The lead-up to the wedding, in particularly the three sisters getting ready and heading to the church, is beautiful and a little heart-breaking and one of my favorite parts of the book. There's about a page or so where Burgis' describes Kat's feelings as they're preparing for the wedding and heading to the church is so bittersweet it made my heart ache. We see how Elissa is lovely and glowing and happy, and Angeline is helping her, and Kat is simply watching them, trying to process it all. After all, they didn't have phones or airplanes or even Twitter, so Elissa's marriage means all of their lives are going to change. She's not going to be there in the morning when Kate wakes up, and while it's not like they're never going to see her again, it does mean there's going to be long and frequent times when they don't see her. It's a lovely piece of writing, and actually had me tearing up — — and then takes a complete U-turn just as the wedding starts into completely Crazyville. If you remember from the first book, Frederick abandoned his studies at Oxford to trek across country after Angeline cast a spell for her One True Love. (He was a bit of a googily-eyed doofus at first, but he got better.) He stayed on at the Stephensons', ostensibly to study the classics with Mr. Stephenson but mostly so he and Angeline can make smoldering googily-eyes at each other. Apparently word got back to Mama Carlyle, and she is not happy about it because she bursts into the middle of the wedding, determined to prevent her son from making a huge mistake. Not only is she certain that Miss Angeline must have used her arts and allurements to draw her precious darling in, but she has been informed by reputable sources that Angeline's mother was a witch. Frederick might as well have announced that he was marrying a milkmaid. In case you're wondering, yes, the 'reputable source' was Lady Fotherington. You know, the woman who is both a reputable member of the ton and a Guardian, and who's antagonism towards the late Mrs. Stephenson seems to have no limits, not even death. (Mrs. Stephenson's death, that is; Lady Fotherington is fully alive and kicking, even after Kat punched her in the face. Which was awesome.) This kicks of a good half of the book's action, as, since Mama Carlyle threatens to tie Frederick's fortune up in knots so he'll be dependent on her forever (he's not technically of-age yet, unfortunately) and drags him out of Dodge. As you can guess, this causes Problems. 3) Kat's Stepmama. One of the things I love about Burgis' writing is that no character is just flat (well, except for Frederick's mom, who appears to be just flat-out crazy). And my favorite example of this is the 2nd Mrs. Stephenson, or Stepmama, as she's known to the Stephenson children. Kat and Angeline make no secret of the fact that they don't like their Stepmama. (Elissa tries to be nice, and Charles is usually asleep.) And Stepmama isn't exactly subtle with her rather intense focus on making sure that all the girls have eligible matches. (She's not too keen on the 'witch' thing, either.) In fact, her marriage machinations kicked off a lot of the action in the first book, with her attempts to snap up Lord "Please Ignore The Rumors About My First Wife's Mysterious Death" Neville for Elissa. I don't think it's much of a spoiler if I tell you that everything worked out in the end, and neither will you be surprised, I think, if I tell you that Stepmama's marriage plots jumpstart a lot of the action in Renegade as well. You see, Stepmama doesn't exactly react well to the Angeline/Frederick drama at Elissa's wedding. She and Angeline have a nasty habit of setting each other off, actually, and Stepmama reacts to Angeline's less-than-stellar behavior and her canceled 'understanding' with Frederick by dragging everyone to Bath to stay with her cousins. The plan is to foist Angeline on Bath society so that she can find a husband — any husband — under threat of not being ejected from the Stephenson family if she doesn't. Angeline, who has a bit of a temper and, like Kat, a tendency for mad schemes, immediately concocts a plan to set up a scandalous flirtation with the most scandalous man she can find (in this case it's one Lord Scarwood), and make herself so notorious that nobody will want to marry her — thereby buying herself and Frederick some time to deal with his insane mother. Of course, she doesn't actually tell Frederick about these plans... This, obviously, causes problems. Well, both the the Scarwood thing and the witchcraft thing causes problems, particularly between Kat's Stepmama and her cousins. Which leads to a truly awesome moment, because no matter how much antagonism there may be between the second Mrs. Stephenson and her step-daughters, when it comes down to it, their Stepmama will go to the wall for them. We see this a bit in Kat, Incorrigible, but even more so and more awesomely in Renegade. when Stepmama's cousin starts laying into Kat for getting her dear, sweet baby girl involved in magic. Stepmama steps up and totally throws down. And it is Awesome. 4) Charles. You know who we haven't seen much of? Charles. That's right, Kat's brother, who was sent down from school and who spent most of the first book sleeping. One nice thing Stephanie does is focus on different Stephenson siblings; it gives Renegade Magic a nice balance between old and new, as these are characters we've seen before, but not this much or in this way. Incorrigible was mostly about the problem of Elissa's marriage (namely whether or not there would be one, and who exactly it would be to), with quite a lot of Angeline as well. Now, in Renegade, there's a good deal of Angeline, with Charles thrown in for good measure. There's a really nice Charles moment (right after Stepmama's Moment of Awesome, as a matter of fact) when he faces down Lady Fotherington, who is once again demonstrating the many and various ways she can insult the Stephenson women, and more or less shows her to the door. Charles also stumbles into quite a bit of trouble while they're in Bath and Kat has to extricate him. You see, the Angeline/Frederick drama is only part of the story. The other part? Well, it seems there are some nefarious magical doings going down in Bath. Fortunately, Kat is there to find out what's happening and fix things. (As with the previous book, Kat Does Things, and it is still awesome.) Unfortunately, Kat's not in the ideal situation to do anything as she's been kicked out of the Guardians. You know, those select ultra-magical people who are charged with the protection and care of England? The very important position and power that Kat inherited from her Mama? Yeah, that's gone now. You see, shortly after the circus that was Elissa's wedding, Kat had a bit of a face-to-face with the ever-delightful Lady Fotherington about 1) ruining her sister's wedding, 2) ruining her other sister's unofficial engagement, and 3) continuing with the insults to her dead mother. (You'd think among the many, many rules of conduct governing one's behavior, not insulting someone's dead parent would be right at the top of the list.) Unfortunately, Kat has this confrontation right in front of Lord Ravenscroft, the head of the Guardians, who has the ability to boot her out of the Guardians, and who carries around canary yellow handkerchiefs, which should tell you a lot about him right there. Plus he's not above tormenting a little girl. So there's that. Kat's eviction means she can no longer access Guardian HQ, nor be tutored by the kindly if slightly stuffy Mr. Gregson. Without proper instruction, she's never going to be able to develop her powers, which means all she has to help her find out what, exactly, is up with all those strange things going on in the Roman Baths are the few spells she's already learned, and Lucy. Oh, that's right. 5) Lucy. As in Lucy Wingate, second and youngest daughter of Mrs. Wingate, Stepmama's cousin. Mrs. Wingate and her older daughter, Maria, are rather nasty pieces, but Lucy is so completely adorable. She latches onto Kat almost from the first, and Kat does find this a little frustrating, because, well, Lucy can be a little silly, and she's a bit of a chatterbox. But she quickly turns out to be really sweet and a lot of fun, a girl who manages to be a good person and a good friend in spite of her constantly critical big sister telling her what a doofus she is, and the type of girl who will rush out to help said awful sister even if she doesn't understand what she's doing or why she's doing it. Even if it's dangerous. For example, Kat decides to sneak out to the Roman Baths to see if she can find out more about what's going on. She can't tell anyone what she's up to, so she can't ask anyone to go with her, and she's a little young to be heading off on her own, so she disguises herself as the older Miss Wingate. Lucy sees what she thinks is her sister sneaking out of the house, and hurries after her — and almost immediately gets harassed by a group of guys and Kat has to come to her rescue. It's a moment I like, both because it shows us a little more about who Lucy is, and also because — see, all you feisty Regency romance heroines who buck tradition and go galavanting around London or Bath or Brighton or wherever without a proper chaperone? There's a reason why everyone gets so grumpy when you do that. The moment also forces Kat to reveal her magical abilities to Lucy, who reacts with instant and unblinking enthusiasm. Which is refreshing in an England where magic is seen as something that no proper family should associate with. And it's good that Lucy's gung-ho, because she turns out to be unexpectedly very sensitive to magic... In case I've been too subtle here, let me assure you that I really, really enjoyed Renegade Magic, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for fun, zany read that also regularly manages to hit you in the feels.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aqua

    Well I went into the first book in this series with high expectations and was highly disappointed, and thus went into this book with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was! In this book, Kat and her sister Angeline go to Bath (thus this book is heavily influenced by Austen's Persuasion) and encounter a dastardly rogue bent on tricking women into running away with him, dangerous wild magic, and a plot to discredit Kat. There is more magic this time and most importantly, Well I went into the first book in this series with high expectations and was highly disappointed, and thus went into this book with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was! In this book, Kat and her sister Angeline go to Bath (thus this book is heavily influenced by Austen's Persuasion) and encounter a dastardly rogue bent on tricking women into running away with him, dangerous wild magic, and a plot to discredit Kat. There is more magic this time and most importantly, there is actually some danger involved. One of my big issues with the first book is the fact that there wasn't really anything for Kat to overcome. There was no (good) villain, no real tension. Most of the book she's just running away from having an unpleasant conversation with Mr. Gregson, and the only tension in the book (the highwayman plot) doesn't last very long and doesn't pose much real danger to Kat. The "villain" of the book isn't even all that concerned with Kat herself. This time there is some real dangerous magic and bad people trying to use it for their own ends. Kat faces some real consequences for her actions and has to use her powers and her wits to set things right. Although her relationship with Angeline continues to be unpleasant to read about (why are they always fighting and willfully misunderstanding each other?!), Kat makes a new friend, Lucy, who is a fun new character. Kat's relationship with her father and brother are also explored in more detail here, and they are much more interesting to read about than her constant squabbling with Angeline. The only other issue I had with the book is I was getting sick and tired of reading about people either willfully misunderstanding or not believing Kat. It makes sense plot-wise, but it annoys Kat to no end and thus annoys the reader as well. I had no trouble getting through this book. After things got going at around 30% it is exciting until the end and I couldn't put it down. So I would recommend this book even if the first book was a little disappointing to you. I'm looking forward to reading the next book now. I appreciate all the references to Jane Austen (the pump room from Persuasion, the scandal of a woman running away from Pride & Prejudice).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)

    *Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Regency Magic (March & April 2015) After Kat's sister Angeline loses her true love Fredrick during their older sister's wedding thanks to the interference of Lady Fotherington, the girls stepmother whisks them away to Bath to avoid scandal. With the public renouncing of Angeline as a witch their stepmother hopes that by going to Bath Angeline can get herself an eligible bachelor before the gossip reaches the resort town. But *Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Regency Magic (March & April 2015) After Kat's sister Angeline loses her true love Fredrick during their older sister's wedding thanks to the interference of Lady Fotherington, the girls stepmother whisks them away to Bath to avoid scandal. With the public renouncing of Angeline as a witch their stepmother hopes that by going to Bath Angeline can get herself an eligible bachelor before the gossip reaches the resort town. But their stepmother isn't counting on the fact that Fredrick is Angeline's true love and she's not about to just give up on him because of his family's objections. Angeline has a plan, a plan put into place by the accidental meeting of the rake and reprobate, the Viscount Scarwood. He is a totally unsuitable match, so perfect for Angeline's purposes. But Angeline's future happiness isn't the only future in jeopardy. The head of the Order of Guardians, Lord Ravenscroft, with Lady Fotherington's interference, has taken away all Kat's hopes of being trained as a Guardian. They insist she is too headstrong and has violent tendencies. She only broke Lady Fotherington's nose the once, are they going to hold that against her forever? Her tutor, Mr. Gregson, insists that he will champion her if she just lays low. Sadly when Kat and her family show up in Bath there's a mysterious magical happening that the Guardians are investigating and her enemies are quick to point the finger at Kat. How can she lay low when she needs to help her family and help the Order? Just because they don't want her as a Guardian doesn't mean it's not in her blood. But they might not see her actions as altruistic but opportunistic. Bath! What could be more Austenesque then Bath? Not only did Austen live (and hating living) in Bath for five years, but two of her scant six novels have action set there. The Jane Austen Centre is located in Bath and each year the town plays host to the Jane Austen Festival with people coming from around the globe to take part in honoring one of the greatest writers the world has known. But just setting a story in Bath, while a touchstone to Austen, isn't enough, in my mind; there has to be something more. A little adventure, a little spice, a little history. While there is adventure and spice, it's the history that Burgis infuses into the story that she then manipulates to her narrative that is so arresting. I am referring to the hot springs that are the source of the towns fame. The Assembly Rooms and the Roman Baths became the go to place in the Georgian era for a restorative cure in this spa town. The Romans themselves actually built the baths and a temple, hence the Georgian moniker the "Roman Baths." Burgis was able to give more of a connection to these springs and the customs surrounding them by having Kat give her visceral reaction to "taking the waters" at the assembly room. One would think of dainty women circling the Assembly Rooms and having a nice gossip, but in reality they were jammed with people and that cool refreshing glass of restorative water was anything but. It was straight from the hot springs, hot being key. So the water was warm and sulfurous, therefore having that lovely odour of rotten eggs. One doesn't often think of the gentility of this time in realistic ways, but Burgis has this knack to show the truth while giving us a romping good time. Burgis also expands on the history of the springs, and the goddess that the Romans worshiped. Because this book has magic, anything can happen with an incantation to a diety, and anything does. The combining of the real history and the magical possibilities is such a good fusion that it doesn't leave you questioning why something happens, it just makes sense. But my favorite part of all has to be the fact that it's book knowledge that bests magic in the end. It's not some old incantation or a secret spell that's unearthed, it's knowing that prior to the Romans's worshiping their goddess, there was another goddess that ruled. I just love the bookish guy being the victor in the end. Books for life! The magic of the spring brings another interesting twist to the worldbuilding that Burgis has done. Instead of being either witchcraft or Guardian magic there is a third, more dangerous magic, wild magic. I love that there's this magic that existed before the other harnessed magics that is still thrumming through Britain and can trump the rest. Witchcraft is the easier for using spells and drawing little power, Guardian magic is more refined, it's inborn and therefore a part of you and just flows out, therefore able to easily squash witchcraft. But now there's wild magic! Magic that has the power of the Gods behind it. Magic that can not be contained and makes all other magic insignificant. I love that this world Burgis has built is expanding and evolving to encompass more instead of being formulaic and the same story told in a different way over and over again. What I can't wait for is the further expansion of this world. While the war with France had previously been mentioned, I'm glad to see that Burgis isn't discounting the power that magic could have in that war, just look what two magician's did in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell! The British Government obviously has some sort of connection with the Guardians, but how much is the secrecy of magic tied to the Government's wishes? Is the hatred of magic and it's place in society a kind of propaganda done by the Government so they can keep it in control and on their side? Because near the end of the book I started to wonder if perhaps the French Government maybe had a different view on magic. There's no denying that Britain and France have often been at two very opposite ends of the spectrum, so maybe in France magic isn't disreputable? Maybe in France a Guardian would be worshipped publicly as a hero? One thing is sure, I'm grabbing the next book to see how this all plays out!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Bayless

    This book felt much more rushed then the first. The characters were less developed as well. The oldest sister was non-existent since she got married, and in her place we get the brother (whom we never met in the first book, but did know about). The brother is a popsicle stick of a character with no idea of drive for the character or why the family puts up with his horrible gambling habits. We also get the father as a character, but again, he was very shallow for the most part. The plot is suppos This book felt much more rushed then the first. The characters were less developed as well. The oldest sister was non-existent since she got married, and in her place we get the brother (whom we never met in the first book, but did know about). The brother is a popsicle stick of a character with no idea of drive for the character or why the family puts up with his horrible gambling habits. We also get the father as a character, but again, he was very shallow for the most part. The plot is supposed to be fast paced and driven, but ends up just feeling rushed and jumbled. What really annoyed me in reading the book was the amount of times the author chose to use the words "She ground her teeth". I almost wanted to go back and just keep a running count. If we paired it with "She gritted her teeth" it would be a very high count indeed. I wanted to love it like I did the first, but it really fell short of the magic in the first novel.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tirzah

    I may be in the minority here, but I liked this book better than the first one. For one thing, there are less words (though there are still too many present for my liking and the target audience). Much of the plot revolves around the Roman Baths and it was interesting to learn the history behind that site. I enjoyed Stephanie Burgis mixing Roman/Celtic mythology with her own twist of magical elements. Kat continues to annoy me in certain ways, yet it was nice to see some relationship development I may be in the minority here, but I liked this book better than the first one. For one thing, there are less words (though there are still too many present for my liking and the target audience). Much of the plot revolves around the Roman Baths and it was interesting to learn the history behind that site. I enjoyed Stephanie Burgis mixing Roman/Celtic mythology with her own twist of magical elements. Kat continues to annoy me in certain ways, yet it was nice to see some relationship development between her and Papa Stephenson. Even Charles and Stepmama have potential to redeem their unpleasant qualities and perhaps they will pull through in the third book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sand-Witch

    I decided to read this book because it is the second book in a series which the first book I love a lot. Also, because the cover looked really pretty. I really liked this book because of the humor and action in it. The book is fast paced and full of twists and turns. Every page was exciting and magical and really fun to read. I really enjoyed reading this book because of how different it is to probably all the books I normally read. The style the author writes in is really unique. It kept making I decided to read this book because it is the second book in a series which the first book I love a lot. Also, because the cover looked really pretty. I really liked this book because of the humor and action in it. The book is fast paced and full of twists and turns. Every page was exciting and magical and really fun to read. I really enjoyed reading this book because of how different it is to probably all the books I normally read. The style the author writes in is really unique. It kept making me want to read more. What I learned from the book is to fight for yourself and to not make others put you down. When evil old ladies try to make you feel bad, try punch them with your fists. I really found the main character, Kat, really interesting because of how she acted and how she talked. It was really funny to watch her do things without thinking and how everything always worked out for her. Her lying skills are incredible and I want to be as good as lying as her. She isn't a bad person by the way, she just needed to lie for a good reason. Read the book and you'll understand. Anyway, over all I loved the entire book through and through. The characters are really adorable and I can't wait to read the last two books. I recommend this book to all readers that read too much YA and need a break. 10+ yrs will love it. What you waiting for kids? Go read it. Thank you

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