keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
A College of Magics
by Caroline Stevermer
468 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/YA

In alternate 1800s Europe, with the British Empire and Austria meddling in political affairs of small nations like Ruritania, Faris Nallaneen is the Duchess of snowy northern Galazon, currently ruled by her conniving-but-not-really-wicked Uncle Brinkar. He sends her to Greenlaw College (where the graduates are called witches behind their backs) to await the turning of her majority. What follows is a prototypical school-of-magic story, clearly modeled off the modern-day university rather than boarding school. Faris befriends various interesting people, Jane Brailsford in particular, and makes one significant enemy: Menary of Aravill, whose involvement I can't describe further without spoilers.

I picked this up as a light read, and finished it satisfyingly in one sitting; in that respect, and in the "neatness" of the plot, it's a classic YA novel. But this is very mature YA, in all respects save explicit romantic development; the political intrigue that I love so much in adult fantasy novels is not dumbed down. The ending is almost deus ex machina, but at that point I was too carried away emotionally to mind.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
I had a veritable reading marathon this weekend! Two whole books. I actually wrote up three, but one of them isn't fit for posting... ahem.

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (284 pages, hardcover): B+
A YA novel, but one that came highly recommended by an adult acquantaince. The story concerns a girl named Cammie Morgan, sophomore at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women--a spy school. Nothing exceptional as far as plot/character/setting, but for the YA genre it works. At what looks like 12-point 1.5-spaced serif font and under 300 pages, it's also a fast read. Recommended for readers of all ages who ever wanted to be a spy.

The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years After by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (328 pages, hardcover): A
This is the third book in a series of epistolary novels about Cecy and Kate. I can't quite classify the genre--the themes are YA, library catagorizes as SF, I personally like the elements of historical fiction with fantasy (magic). I tend to confuse it with A College of Magics (or maybe the sequel to that). Anyway, this collaborative work was written through the Letter Game, and as a result, the voices of Kate and Cecy couldn't be more different. I love the letter format and the period touches like the creative and varied closings. Cover design is also excellent, and I've always held Patricia Wrede in high regard for her Enchanted Forest Chronicles. As a super-special bonus, I totally understood the talk about Faraday and magnetism! But not the laid couching, alas. So to conclude my ramblings, The Mislaid Magician earns the same rating as Ysabel, for very different reasons.


keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)

January 2011



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