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Mairelon The Magician (Mairelon #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  5,692 ratings  ·  221 reviews
For use in schools and libraries only. Kim, a streetwise girl who disguises herself as a boy, and Mairelon, an itinerant magician who dresses as a dandy, share adventures in an alternate Regency England that is populated with sorcerers and riddled with magic.
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published April 15th 2002 by Turtleback Books (first published April 15th 1991)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Amy
I saw that someone on my Goodreads list had put this book up and I thought, "Hey, I think I have that on my shelf somewhere." Sure enough, it was there. I don't know where I got it, I've had it for years and never read it. It was either something I inherited from my mom's collection of books when she was downsizing or it was a gift from my aunt who is a librarian and has given me many cool books over the years.

Anyway, one night Seth and I were looking for something to read aloud together. We had...more
Suzanne Vincent
I wish I had a ton of good things to say about Mairelon the Magician, but I don't. In fact, I did something with this book that I have NEVER done with a book before--I gave up on it in the middle of the climax.

*If you aren't interested in scathing reviews, stop here!*

I had just slogged through a cliched 'gather all the usual suspects into one room' scene that was loooooong, boring, and confusing, with a good dozen characters (many of them called by more than one name) running around in the dark,...more
Denae
I was quite disappointed with this book, mostly because I loved PCW's Enchanted Forest Chronicles and this book wasn't nearly as good. It had loads of potential, with Kim going from gutter thief to a crime-solving magician. But it didn't deliver.

1st, it was third person, and I feel the story would have been stronger from inside Kim's head. Do much of the story is about the old guy Mairelon anyway, and I wish the story was actually about the main character instead.
2nd, Mairelon seems like a girl'...more
Donna
When Kim is caught snooping in the wagon of a traveling illusionist, she's shocked that her target reacts by offering her a job. Helping Mairelon on stage sounds like the perfect way of getting out of town for a bit, but it soon becomes clear that the man she's joined up with is no ordinary performer.

This one got off to a promising start with Kim's introduction to Mairelon and her encounters on the streets of a fantasy-world London. It's a little coincidence-heavy and I feel like I've read one t...more
Cassie
Mar 01, 2009 Cassie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Socery and Cecelia
Kim has played the part of a thieving boy for most of her life, hiding her gender being the safer alternative to revealing herself as a girl in the dark underbelly of Regency London. But she knows this career path will soon come to an end, as at seventeen she is quickly outgrowing her disguise. When a job leads her into Mairelon the magician’s wagon, she finds real magic and an opportunity to become someone new.

Following Mairelon as he flees from the city, she quickly finds herself lost in a plo...more
David Ottenstein
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. After the good reviews I thought I might go into it expecting a little much, but it delivered.

The protagonist was sympathetic and developed well during the story. The antagonists were quite dislikable, in a likable sort of way for an antagonist. That may sound strange, but I've read way too many books where the bad guys were just bad and that was all. There was some development here, and I appreciated it.

Not exactly what I was expecting, but well done a...more
An Odd1
"Mairelon the Magician" (1), by Patricia Wrede (already 5* for Dragon series), is a warm witty clever wizard masquerading as a caravan amateur, who plays sculptor Pygmalion to train 17ish boyish pauper Kim. To clear the toff's name, they seek a set of enspelled silver dishes and original London thieves from five years ago. I got a tad annoyed, tangled in names and relationships, shifty and silly shenanigans, lost track who said who did what where. How could interfering Lady Granleigh decide "qui...more
Karen Keyte
Almost 17 (at least as near as she can tell), Kim has spent all of her life on the streets of London, living disguised as a boy and struggling just to survive. An orphan with no other means to support herself, Kim once belonged to a family of thieves but an unfortunate run-in with the law has left her more alone than ever, her taste for 'the cracking lay' utterly destroyed. Now she gets by as best she can, so she doesn't hesitate to take a commission to break into a street magician's wagon just...more
Christina White
Wow, I haven't disliked a book this much in a really long time. There were too many characters and I just had no desire to keep track of them. The dialog was horrible and page after page was filled with what could have been said in less than one. I broke down and decided to skim read and then just started skipping whole pages. I would pick a page and read a few lines here and there to try and catch on what was happening and it was the same for about 50 pages!

"You have the platter??" "No.. I have...more
L (Sniffly Kitty)
I loved the Dragon series by Wrede, and I was hoping the same kind of wit and charm those books had would be brought to this novel. Unfortunately, this is a somewhat forgettable book (as a few days after reading it I can no longer recall much detail.

The main character Kim dresses as a boy and does various odd jobs to earn money. It was somewhat amusing to follow this character albeit only in a somewhat superficial manner. Mairelon, the other "main" character seemed a bit perfect but at least had...more
♥Xeni♥
I read this book on a lark, hoping to finish all I can by this child-hood favorite author. And then I was happily surprised to see some of my favorite plot elements mixed together: street thieves, London in the olden days (no specific dates given, but before industry), street magicians, real occult magic, a gypsy wagon and then a mystery tossed in for fun.

I do wish that there had been more of Kim's former life as a street thief included here, as well as more illusion magic but the rest of the b...more
Monica!
Mairelon starts out strongly, but sort of fizzles towards the end. I felt a bit like I was losing my mind during the Lengthy Grand Reveal, when every single character in the entire book converged on a tiny hunting lodge and proceeded to try and talk one another to death for fifty pages.

But! It's a nice set-up for the sequel, and I find that if I think of it more as the first part of a single book (as it is in the recently-released A Matter of Magic) I'm much less irritated by the pacing and str...more
Eris Becket
I desperately wanted to give this four stars, but the ending happened. By Jove, that was tedious.

The protagonist? FABULOUS. Kim was interesting and fun and didn't take any crap. Mairelon was enjoyable and his character complemented Kim's adorably. I ship it.

The problem was that their relationship was often pushed aside for a wordy, often confusing, and slightly boring mystery plot that culminated in one of the most boring couple of chapters I've ever had the displeasure of reading. For the first...more
Maren
Oh the potential! Regency era from the perspective of a female London street urchin turned magician's apprentice. But then said urchin never does anything. She literally just watches things happen. And I couldn't keep the characters straight because there were about 57 of them, the majority of which seemed to be upper class 20ish white men.
Shdnx
An enjoyable book, but an absolutely horrible finale. It dragged on and on and on, full of pointless scenes and characters. I get it that it's supposed to be entertaining, and I grant it that it was indeed amusing for about the first 5 pages... but I just found myself skipping through pages in an attempt to get to the end.

Nothing particularly interesting about the world. The magic model is also "meh". Character-wise Marielon I really liked - he's very amusing, but still perfectly believable. The...more
Bandita
Jul 26, 2008 Bandita rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bandita by: Amy and Neena!
Alright...more like 3.5-3.8. -shrug- I liked the ending - the last chapter. And it was decidedly entertaining...but...I don't know. I didn't like that Kim still believed that Marielon would't want her around at the end of the book. That bothered me a bit. Among other things that I just...didn't like.
But it was a good book.
Amanda
I have a feeling that if I'd read this book in junior high, I would have been OBSESSED with it. And, as with all of Wrede's books, there IS a lot to like about it--many of the characters (especially Kim, the main character) are vibrant and interesting, the setting is unusual, and as always, the humor is just my pace. However, the plot is convoluted (at best), and the ending fizzles a bit. I think it's hard to know which audience she wrote this for, because it's ultimately a bit immature, and so...more
Qnpoohbear
Kim has lived on the streets her whole life and is sharp and cunning as they come. Disguised as a boy, she lives by her wits, doing what she can to survive. When a wealthy gentleman offers her a large sum of money to case a street magician's wagon, Kim thinks it will be an easy job. She gets more than she bargained for when she becomes involved with Mairelon the Magician. Soon, Kim is on the run with Mairelon as they search for the magical Saltash Set of dinnerware and uncover a plot that could...more
Creativity's Corner
Patricia Wrede has been a favorite of mine ever since I first read the Enchanted Forest series. I have obsessively read pretty much everything else she has written, so I was surprised when I came across one that I hadn't heard of. This one was published before I discovered her, so perhaps that's why I missed it. But, whatever the reason, I was so happy to find out I had one more to read! Anyway, the point of all this is that my absolute favorite thing about any Patricia Wrede book is her style....more
Corinne
Before I finished this book today, I wanted to give it just 2 stars, because it certainly lacks some kind of tension,a detailed descriped world & history of the same and just seems to drag on and on - even though it's a short book. However, then the final climax arrived I really had to laugh a lot, because it's exactly like in a play on stage: all the characters came together and there was swooning of the maid in distress, lovers, spies, thieves, pistols, twists & surprises, a French gen...more
Dee
Grade: B
The story follows a young 15+ orphan who gets by on the streets of pre-mechanical revolution England. I pegged the timeline at around the Regency era. Kim is surviving (just barely) on filching stuff from people, and disguising herself as a ruffian-esque boy. She gets caught in a travelling magician's caravan on a job, and he offers to teach her the trade. This begins the better part of the story, with Kim and Mairelon tracing the trail of a magical platter in order to clear his name of...more
Nan
A young orphan named Kim is hired by a gent to break into a traveling magician's wagon, not to steal anything, but only to confirm that Mairelon the magician has a silver bowl in his possession. Since she's not being asked to steal it, Kim agrees to the task for the price of five pounds. She knows something is wrong from the get-go. This gent should not have known to hire her; she has no idea who recommended her to this man. And five pounds is way to much money . . . Even though the job makes he...more
Kathryn
Regency AND magic - what more needs to be said?

While these two books (Mairelon the Magician and The Magician's Ward, which are together on my Nook in a book called A Matter of Magic) have their flaws, and I do think the Kate & Cecy books are better, I still have a great deal of affection for them.

These books are set in a Regency England in which magic exists. There is a Royal College of Wizards (as seen in the Kate & Cecy books). Magicians have a special rank in society and are consider...more
Misty
I'll try to review this in full later, but for now:

I read this as part of the A Matter of Magic set, which has this and the next book in 1 volume; since I'm not done reading A Matter of Magic, and don't know when I'll get back to it, I'll just talk about this individually for now.

Basically, I love Patricia C Wrede. She writes characters that I just adore, and this - mostly - was no exception. Everything was going along swimmingly until suddenly it WASN'T.

I'm giving this a 4 because I'm setting...more
Oz Barton
M'eh. There were far too many characters — more than necessary, more than I cared to keep track of. All but three failed to say a single interesting or funny thing despite pages upon pages of filler dialogue. I'm pretty sure the author meant many of these scenes to be madcap comedy, but since every character had to say something at every moment, the pace was agonizing and I struggled not to skim. The plot twists were predictable, and the alleged goal was silly and uninspiring (searching for magi...more
Blair Conrad
Less Regency than I was lead to believe, which was okay, since I didn't know what Regency was before I started reading the book. It's not quite a standard "magician takes in an orphan as apprentice" - Kim's sex and background provide a little bit of a twist there, and an interesting one at that. Ultimately, though, I found myself wanting to be through it. The main part of the story was both boring and confusing - the mystery of the silver bowl wasn't that interesting, and there were way too many...more
Meagan
I liked the main character, though she didn't have as much agency as I hoped given Wrede's other novels. I felt like she just kinda followed the plot most of the time, not actually making any of her own. I also got a Sherlock Holmes vibe from the observation without action, but I'm not sure it quite reached Holmes level awesomeness.

My only other complaint about the book is that for such a short book there are a lot of characters. It was sometimes difficult to differentiate all of them (which lea...more
Mary Catelli
In an alternate Regency, Kim is scouting out a wagon where an itinerant magician is performing his tricks. Once she knows how long he is out, she goes inside to check what he's got, a spying mission a real toff sent her on. When she tries to open one chest, a ward explodes, and she thinks she should have asked for more money, since she hit on a real wizard.

When she rouses again, the wizard and his servant have caught her. Whereupon the wizard takes her on, over the servant's objection (there are...more
Mikki
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JSA Lowe
I was so so sad—the first 2-3 chapters were a rattling good Regency story, the male lead even had, I was pleased to see, "gleaming Hessians" because no tale of the ton is complete without those—but then UGH DETERIORATION into just endless expository dialogue and the characters had no descriptions so you couldn't tell them apart, just men and women standing/sitting in a drawing room nattering on and on about I don't know what, for page after page (and not in a witty revelatory Jane Austen or even...more
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  • Wren's War (Wren, #3)
  • A College of Magics (A College of Magics, #1)
  • Deep Secret (Magids, #1)
  • The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf (The Squire's Tales, #3)
  • A Hidden Magic
  • The Sherwood Ring
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Patricia Collins Wrede was born in Chicago, Illinois and is the eldest of five children. She started writing in seventh grade. She attended Carleton College in Minnesota, where she majored in Biology and managed to avoid taking any English courses at all. She began work on her first novel, Shadow Magic, just after graduating from college in 1974. She finished it five years later and started her se...more
More about Patricia C. Wrede...
Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1) Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #2) Calling on Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #3) Talking to Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #4) Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Cecelia and Kate, #1)

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“Well?' Jasper said when Mairelon did not reply. 'Who are you?'
'No, no,' Mairelon said. 'I asked you first. I also, if you recall, asked how you found this place and what you intend to do here, and you haven't told me that, either.'
'We might ask you the same thing,' Jasper retorted.
'You might, but I don't recommend it,' Mairelon said. 'You'll get a reputation as a poor conversationalist if you all can do is repeat what other people say to you.”
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“Master Richard!” Hunch’s voice was not loud, but it expressed volumes of scandalized disapproval.
Mairelon paused and looked up. “What is it?”
“You ain’t going to just—” Hunch stopped and looked at Kim. “Not with ‘er standing there!”
“Oh, is that all that’s bothering you?” Mairelon looked at Kim and grinned. “Turn your back, child; you’re offending Hunch’s proprieties.”
Kim flushed, as much from surprise as embarrassment, and turned away. “I ain’t no child,” she muttered under her breath.
“Under the circumstances, that’s so much the worse,” Mairelon replied cheerfully.”
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