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Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Round-Up: Kate and Cecelia Edition

I continue my quest of rereading books from my childhood so I can catch up with the sequels.

Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer: This is an absolutely delightful book, that takes place in an alternate Regency England filled with wizards, witches, dances, parties, and enchanted chocolate pots.  It's a novel in letters, purporting to be the correspondence between two cousins, Kate and Cecelia, as they get caught up in magical and romantic plots.  It is sweet and funny and sparkly and . . . really, I can't say enough good things about it.

The Grand Tour: Unfortunately, the sequel is not quite as good.  The story is interesting enough, involving a magical plot to turn Europe into an empire, but the telling is not as engaging.  This time around the text is excerpts from Kate's private journal and Cecelia's deposition, but the format does not work as well as the letters did.  As an astute reviewer on noted, the best part of the first book was the relationship between the two friends; this time around, however, we miss out on Kate and Cecelia talking to each other.

The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After: The second sequel, and a return to the letters between the cousins (and their husbands, this time around).  That brought back a lot of the fun of the original.  The story was good, too, and Wrede and Stevermer fleshed out their world a bit more.  I found the ending to be abrupt, but that may be because my Kindle tricked me into thinking I was nowhere near the end of the book.

Although this series predates it, it struck me as a light and fluffy version of Susanna Clarke's excellent Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.  So now that's next to be reread.

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