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Mairelon the Magician (1991)

by Patricia C. Wrede

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mairelon the Magician (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0902613,894 (3.86)107
Kim, a young street waif disguised as a boy, takes up with traveling magician Mairelon and his coachman Hunch after she is paid to search Mairelon's wagon and is caught in the act. She agrees to travel with Mairelon, help with his staging, learn some real magic, and eventually assist in unravelling the story of the Saltesh Set, a magical array of silverware that Mairelon has been falsely accused of stealing.… (more)
  1. 71
    Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede (Caramellunacy, infiniteletters)
    Caramellunacy: Both of these novels have a similar 'fantasy of manners' tone about them with magic integrated into a historical world. I also enjoyed the adventure and the light romantic storyline in both novels.
  2. 40
    Magician's Ward by Patricia C. Wrede (bostonian71)
  3. 10
    Magic Below Stairs by Caroline Stevermer (foggidawn)
  4. 21
    A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer (infiniteletters)
  5. 00
    The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (MyriadBooks)
  6. 11
    Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For heroines who are nobody's fool and who want more than the norm from their life.
  7. 11
    Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones (SockMonkeyGirl)
  8. 02
    Lythande by Marion Zimmer Bradley (kerravonsen)
    kerravonsen: Both books feature a female pretending to be a male in a society which has very limited roles for women.
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» See also 107 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
A lovely read. ( )
  wetdryvac | Mar 2, 2021 |
I absolutely loved this book! It has the perfect semi-historical London setting, lots of magic and intrugue, and tonnes of plot complexity. We also get a nice dose of British time-period slang, which is always good for a laugh since the Brits have some of the most inventive slang terms. Add in the clever charactertization, and this novel is set squarely in the same genre as Diana Wynne Jones' Chrestomanci series, if for slightly older readers based on the teenaged protagonist Kim. She is definitely an interesting person - as are her new magician companions - so I am very much looking forward to reading more of her adventures. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Mairelon the Magician
Series: Magic and Malice #1
Author: Patricia Wrede
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 185
Words: 80K

Synopsis:


Kim, a 16 year old street rat is realizing she can no longer hide the fact that she's a girl. She takes on a final job of spying on a market magician to earn enough money to give her time to figure out what she can do. She is caught but instead of being punished, Mairelon offers her a job of being his apprentice, as he is a real magician and not a street performer.

It becomes obvious to Kim that Mairelon is MUCH more than just a magician though. His references to his time abroad, his connections to various muckety-mucks make Kim aware that Mairelon has been working for the government on the highest levels. And he's some sort of lord as well.

The story centers around the recovery of the Saltash dinner ware. A platter, a bowl and 4 balls, which when combined, give the user the ability to compel their victims to tell the absolute truth. The British government wants it but will settle for it not falling into French hands. Kim and Mairelon are chasing down the platter in this story and have lots of adventures.

In the end, it is revealed that Kim has a natural affinity for magic and Mairelon adopts her as his ward so he can live in the same house to teach her magic without scandalizing “Society”.

My Thoughts:

I originally read the Mairelon duology (I'll be reading book 2 in a month or so) back in the 90's when the Science Fiction Book Club released a hardcover omnibus edition. I still own that baby. I then re-read the duology in 2000 when I was beginning my record keeping. I won't be bothering to include a link, as it consists of just naming what genre the book was in :-D

This is that elusive middle grade book that is written well enough to still be read and enjoyed by adults. Wrede seems to excel at that particular skill.

Fun, enjoyable, easy on the brain (well, except when Mairelon or somebody else starts monologuing and connecting all the dots) and a sure fire pleasure for fans of Regency Era England. My guess is that Wrede was aiming for “Jane Austen with Magic for Kids”. She hit the mark, that is for sure. Since I'm a big Austen fan, this worked fantastic.

Unfortunately, the one downside to this book, which isn't really a big thing, is the cover. That is supposed to be Kim on the cover, in her “street urchin boy” disguise. While it is tough to see in the small picture I include here, when I look at it in a larger format, it becomes really horrible. Kim has this squinty, “something” look where her eyes are just messed up. It's unpleasant to look at. Plus, the byline of “Is it possible? Could his magic …. be real?” is just so wrong. Magicians are a part of the fabric of society in this book, so it would surprise anyone that Mairelon was a real magician.

Those are just quibbles though, because I feel like complaining about something. If you're a fan of Austen, Regency Era England or Middle Grade Fantasy, go try this book.

★★★★☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 15, 2020 |
Entertaining fantasy set in a historical England. Too many characters to keep track of but it doesn't really matter for following the plot. Except for a "reveal" chapter near the end of the book that is like a high speed farce, the action is good. ( )
  dmturner | Jun 29, 2020 |
Kim has grown up on the London streets. Dressing as a boy for protection, she does a little stealing to provide funds to live on.

A gent hires her to break into a travelling magician's wagon to steal a particular item. When she is caught in the act by the magician, she figures all is lost. Instead, she finds herself involved in helping the magician find a magical item, and also becomes his apprentice.

Learning spells and how to speak to people in proper English are not easy, but neither are the things she does to help Mairelon, the magician, in his search for the messing items. She also must stay clear of some shady men who have other plans for Kim, should they were to find out she isn't the boy she is dressed to be.

The characters in the book are enjoyable and varied. The shady ones, the bumbling ones, the pompus and the grumbling. There is tensions in some situations and humour in others.

It may be a children's book but it is a good read for adults too. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Oct 26, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia C. Wredeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nolan, DennisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Kim walked slowly through the crowd, slipping in and out of the traffic almost without thinking.
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Kim, a young street waif disguised as a boy, takes up with traveling magician Mairelon and his coachman Hunch after she is paid to search Mairelon's wagon and is caught in the act. She agrees to travel with Mairelon, help with his staging, learn some real magic, and eventually assist in unravelling the story of the Saltesh Set, a magical array of silverware that Mairelon has been falsely accused of stealing.

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