Title: A Most Improper Magick
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Series: The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson #1
Genre: Children’s Historical Fantasy
“I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save my family from impending ruin. I made it almost to the end of my front garden…”
Magic may be the greatest scandal in Regency England. But that’s not going to stop Kat Stephenson when there are highwaymen to foil, sinister aristocrats to defeat…and true loves to capture for her two older sisters.
Source: Bought it
This was a surprisingly fun Regency adventure, featuring a twelve-year-old girl, her two older sisters, a snooty stepmama, and all the fun that can be hard when magic makes an unexpected appearance. There are also a few love-sick swains, a highwayman, and enough charm to enchant all readers.
Kat is quite the heroine. The youngest of four, she’s fed up of being left out of her sisters’ secrets, especially when she’s absolutely certain she can save them all (from the problems caused by her brother’s gambling debts) – as long as someone lets her know when they need saving, of course. She’s a touch impetuous, more than a little tomboyish and has a fair few surprises in store for her throughout this book. Most of which she takes in her bold stride.
Much as I liked Kat, however, it’s her relationship with her sisters that I really enjoyed. Elissa is the oldest and best behaved, the sweet and proper one who will do anything for the good of her family. She’s also read rather a lot of Gothic novel and I loved the way both Kat and her other sister, Angeline, frequently roll their eyes at her sighing-swooning ways. Angeline is the bossy one, who isn’t afraid to take control of her life to save her from suffering the same languishing fate as Elissa. She and Kat are rather alike, and don’t always get along, both being sneaky and underhand and full of temper. There are times when all three are at odds with each other, but when it really matters they love and care and support each other no matter what, and I loved that about them.
True, there were moments when I wished Kat would actually talk to her sisters, especially when it was something Angeline really needed to know. But since she’s used to being shut out of their close friendship, I could also understand why she wanted an adventure to herself at times. Especially one like this that linked back to her deceased mother – and so nicely undermined her less-than-charming stepmama.
The plot itself romps along, gaining speed as it goes, dragging in characters from all over and bouncing from farcical to fun to slightly creepy to full peril. The historical details are very nicely done, although there is the occasional term that might confuse younger readers. On the whole, though, this is great, enjoyable fun that kept me hooked to the very last page. I can’t wait to get started on the next one.
A Most Improper Magick is Out Now!
(Also known as Kat, Incorrigible)
Visit Stephanie Burgis for more details.