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A Question of Magic by E. D. Baker

A Question of Magic

by E. D. Baker

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Thanks to Netgalley.com for allowing me access to this title.

A wonderfully fun magical retelling of Baba Yaga. The story had a nice flow and the characters had personality. Great for those who are already fans of E.D. Baker and recommended for fans of Patrica Wrede and Vivian Vande Velde. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
About: After receiving a note telling her to come visit her great Aunt b/c she has inherited something Serafina must decide whether to go or not. She has a good life back at home, a loving family and a boyfriend. Finally though she decides to go, but little does she know what she has truly inherited.... and it's something she can't back out of.
Review: I really enjoy reading books by E.D. Baker. The author really knows how to write a good fantasy story. Full of an awesome storyline, memorable characters and enough action, magic and adventure to see a reader to the end of the story. "A Question of Magic was one of these stories. It had a cute storyline, one that wasn't too predictable and a fun little read. It can definitaly be very strange at times though, and even though it sounds weird it's the talking cat and talking skulls that make the story worth it. Who knew talking skulls could be so funny.
The bad: I guess the only parts that disappointed me about this story was Serafina's changing age, and the ending. I just find it annoying how she kept getting younger and older. I suppose it made sense, but it's just annoying trying to picture a 14 or 15 year old as a 80 or 90 year old! Also ( and SKIP this next part if you don't like Spoilers!)

I guess I worded that wrong b/c it really was a good ending it was just part of the ending that I didn't like. I didn't like who the new Baba Yaga was. She seemed willing and all but it just wasn't right. She asked how to make her mom better, and Serafina ( or Baby Yaga) gave her answer....but she was wrong. I guess this part may make more sense to you if you read the book.

All in all this a cute story and worth the read. What will Serafina inherit? Will she ever be able to return home and to the people she loves? And if she does will they still accept her? Read "A Question of Magic" to find out. ( )
  adventures2 | Jun 9, 2014 |
A Question of Magic by E.D. Baker a retelling of the Baba Yaga folktale. Serafina, soon to be engaged, inherits her distant is aunt's home, only to discover it comes with a curse. Now she is to be the next Baba Yaga, whether or not she wants to.

The rules for being Baba Yaga are simple. Serafina can't leave the house until she proves she has embraced her new role in life. She can only answer one question from each person as Baba Yaga. All other questions will be just as herself. She can only go where the house takes her, though she can request certain stops. For each question she answers, she becomes noticeably older.

The book has three acts: the application of the curse, learning to live with it, breaking the curse. It's a quick and satisfying read. Knowing about the Russian folktale isn't necessary to fully enjoy the book; Baker does a good job of weaving in what you need to know. ( )
  pussreboots | May 13, 2014 |
Review to come, sweet and interesting spin on Baba Yaga! ( )
  anyaejo | Sep 23, 2013 |
E. D. Baker is the queen of fractured fairy tale fantasies, in my opinion. Her books are always funny and if they sometimes have anachronistic language or thoughts, that's ok. This is her best book yet and I was completely enthralled with it.

Twelve-year-old Serafina lives in a fantasy medieval world. She's pretty satisfied with her life; she knows that in a few years she'll marry her childhood friend, Alek, she loves her family, and she's happy in their simple home in the town. Then she receives a mysterious letter from a great-aunt she never knew she had and travels to a nearby village to find out what her hinted-at inheritance is.

Turns out, she's the new Baba Yaga. Serafina is at turns terrified, angry and bewildered. Eventually, she figures out some of how the magic works. As the new Baba Yaga, she must answer the first question of anyone who asks. The magic lets her always give the right answer, but she can't choose the question and she can never answer more than one. Every question makes her older. Serafina starts to see that there's a wider world than she ever knew. She meets magical creatures and powerful people, makes new friends, and flees from dangerous enemies. Through it all, however, she never stops trying to get back to Alek and her home.

There are so many things I love about this story...Serafina is a practical, do-it-yourself kind of girl. When she realizes she's trapped, she does everything she can to find a solution and get back to her home, but she also enjoys the new things she's learning, seeing, and doing. When she finally runs out of resources, she's not afraid to ask for help and depend on her family. Her romance with Alek is just perfect. Although her age may put some people off, it's appropriate for the medieval-type world she lives in. Her interactions with Alek are perfect for the middle grade crowd, focusing on their friendship and strong love for each other. There's enough to give readers a little dreamy thrill, but nothing inappropriate and I loved the way Serafina realizes that her tribulations and experiences have given her a new appreciation for Alek and her home. I also loved that Serafina, while she did her best in her job to help people, never succumbed to "I am the chosen one who must save the world" fantasy tropes. War is shown as a messy, painful thing where everyone suffers and there aren't always good people just waiting to help out Serafina when she gets into trouble. People are just...people. Weird, good, bad, and sometimes upset at what she says, even when it's the Baba Yaga and not herself talking. As always, E. D. Baker is funny, thoughtful, and writes a story that hangs together well and is will catch the attention of the average middle grade reader.

Verdict: Hand this to all your fantasy-loving kids who like adventure, magical creatures, a spunky heroine and a little romance. Definitely recommend.

ISBN: 9781599908557; Published October 2013 by Bloomsbury; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Annual 2013; Added to the library's order list
  JeanLittleLibrary | Sep 15, 2013 |
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Serafina is summoned from her village to the magical cottage of a great aunt she has never heard of and learns that she is meant to become the new Baba Yaga, whose magical role is answering the first question any stranger might ask her with the truth.… (more)

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