Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

A Matter of Magic

Thursday, January 19, 2023

A Matter of Magic (1994) Patricia C. Wrede

A Matter of MagicAn orphan living on the streets of London, breaks into a caravan and is discovered not just to be breaking and entering, but also a girl masquerading as a boy!

Girl eventually becomes the ward of her rescuer and falls in love with him!

Now we have the tropes out of the way, this story is much more than those tropes.

It’s made clear that the reason Kim is masquerading as a boy is so she doesn’t end up as a prostitute (although the words rape and prostitute aren’t used, it’s clear to an adult reader).

Also, magic is real, and magicians are slangly referred to as frog-makers (as in, don’t anger me or I’ll turn you into a frog) and I find the magic in this world fascinating.

“(T)hey’re mixing magic at random, from the sound of it. Half of it’s Welsh, half of it’s Scottish, and half of it’s cribbed from someone’s classical education, with a few things that are entirely out of someone’s imagination thrown in for good measure. They’ll never get anywhere if that’s the tack they’re taking.”

“That’s too many halves,” Kim said, frowning.

Plus, Kim is fun. Plucky (as all poor orphans are in these types of stories) but also not a fool.

“That was a pistol,” he said, and started running in the direction of the noise.

Kim choked back a shout of dismay and ran after him while her mind listed in a remarkably clear fashion all the reasons why this was intensely foolish. Shots were something you ran away from, not toward.

In the second story, Kim is an apprentice and is being forced to learn manners by Mairelon’s unpleasant aunt.

“In another week, the Season will be upon us, and as you have chosen to come to Town for once, I shall expect you to find a little more time for your social and family obligations.”

“Oh, you may expect whatever you like, Aunt.”

Luckily, Kim doesn’t have to suffer to long before Mairelon steps in.

“Three mistakes in one speech. First, Kim’s, er, antecedents aren’t dubious, they’re completely unknown. That is, if you’re referring to her parents. Second, her behavior is entirely dependable and shows a great deal of good sense.”

“If you call using vulgar cant phrases in Mrs. Hardcastle’s drawing room showing good sense—”

“And third,” Mairelon went on implacably, “I am quite capable of introducing my ward to Polite Society— though judging by this afternoon, I’d say the adjective is extremely ill-chosen.”

It’s a lovely and comforting story, and it was good to return to it.

Publisher: Orb Books

Rating: 9/10


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