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A Matter of Magic (Mairelon #1-2)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  3,933 Ratings  ·  366 Reviews
When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks ...more
Paperback, Omnibus, 448 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Orb Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
This book actually contains a duology - "Mairelon the Magician" and "The Magician's Ward".

The first in the set, 'Mairelon the Magician', is more about the mystery aspect and a bit of the social conventions of the time, but not much in the way of romance. It was interesting and a fun, though it was slow to start and, overall, just a touch above average.

My biggest complaint about this part was the number of people involved. The mystery surrounds the disappearance of a magical artifact. Our hero,
Jan 14, 2015 snowplum rated it liked it
This book tried to be one thing too many, and as a consequence, didn't excel at the things it should have been doing. The best parallel I can draw is to some of Georgette Heyer's less successful works -- which are, in my opinion, her most farcical. Heyer could be sophisticated, charming, and romantic -- as can Patricia Wrede; but when she tries to put a dozen characters into a situation with all sorts of absurd things happening and lines that try a little too hard to be hilarious, then the work ...more
Simcha Lazarus
Nov 20, 2010 Simcha Lazarus rated it it was ok
I've been a fan of Wrede's books ever since I discovered her Enchanted Forest Series when I was fourteen. I also recently read her book, Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot which delighted me just as much as her other books. So when I heard about the publication of A Matter of Magic I immediately added it to my wishlist and waited impatiently until I finally got a hold of it. Unfortunately though, A Matter of Magic ended up being rather disappointing and not at all the kind of ...more
Feb 16, 2011 Kingsgrave rated it liked it
While there was nothing actively disappointing to it, the sad fact was that I found not a lot to this book that really excited me, either. The end of the first book was a confusing name salad, with a big load of exposition at the end seriously dragging down the tension of the scene, and the romance of the second book was a bit told-not-shown for my tastes -- a bit too Regency Romance in the bad way. And that's speaking as one who rather enjoys historical fantasy, and the Regency period in ...more
A Matter of Magic is actually two books in one, Mairelon the Magician and The Magician's Ward. I was expecting more of a fantasy when I started this, but it is more of a historical mystery with small elements of historical fantasy and romance. The first book is a mystery surrounding a magical item and while it was a nice read it didn't really pull me in as much as it could have. I found the mystery rather dull and kept waiting for a lot more magic. There is no romance in the first story.

The sec
Lee Anne
Apr 30, 2011 Lee Anne rated it it was amazing
A simple job, that’s all it was supposed to be. Look around some cove’s wagon, and report back; an easy job for a street urchin and thief like Kim. But no one told her his magic was real. Caught by Mairelon, the performer, Kim quickly realizes that not only is he a true wizard, but a toff (a.k.a. a gentleman) as well, and on the run from, well, pretty much everybody. But he offers her a chance to get out of London, and Kim takes it, little knowing what adventures lie ahead.

Wrede does a wonderful
Oct 14, 2016 Telissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Didn't think this book was absolutely terrible, some parts were good but I felt it had so much detail that I was getting bored during chapters and wanted to just skip it. The romance in the book was not heaps as well and it was fine but it only started when it got to the endish of the book
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
So this book is actually two relatively short stories, bound into a single volume. The first one was........not great. It was ridiculously slow, there were about a million named characters all of whom seemed to be fighting over one stupid silver plate, and the back cover reviews kept being all "Regency romance!" and I was just sitting there all "...........okay, a) I'm insanely bored, and b) there is literally no romance in this at all. Ever. Why are you describing it as a romance??".

So the fir
Miss Clark
Mar 02, 2011 Miss Clark rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Wrede and Regency Fantasy
Reissue of Magic & Malice (Mairelon the Magician / The Magician's Ward)

3.5 stars
Dec 12, 2015 Terri rated it liked it
Well I did tell you I’d be back. It says a lot that I fully intended to do other things tonight and the book sucked me back in so thoroughly that I did not do those things.

“A Matter of Magic” is a squashing-together of two of Wrede’s books, “Mairelon the Magician” and “The Magician’s Ward.” It has the added benefit of having beautiful cover art. (See it? See the pretty, pretty cover art?)

In “Mairelon” we meet Kim, a thief who takes a job breaking into a street magician’s wagon on behalf of a mys
Angela James
Aug 14, 2010 Angela James rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-faves, 2010, fantasy, ya
A Matter of Magic is actually an omnibus re-release of two books: Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward. I’m only a third of the way into The Magician’s Ward, but I quite enjoyed Mairelon the Magician. It’s a YA alternate-history fantasy set in Regency England. In this case, magic is a huge part of the culture of England, and magician’s not a secret at all but living as part of society. In fact, if you’re a magician, you can be part of Society (capital S) even if you’ve come from the ...more
Tammy Walquist
Dec 09, 2012 Tammy Walquist rated it liked it
This book was first recommended to me on Amazon a couple years ago, and I've been excited to read it ever since. However, on the whole I just thought it was okay.

Just to explain, A Matter of Magic is two seperate novels (Mairlon the Magician and The Magician's Ward) published together in one volume, which I think is smart.

While the story itself was just fine, I didn't find myself engaged in it as much as I'd like, especially Mairlon the Magician. I didn't connect as well with the characters as I
Hmmmm....I give this 2.5 because while it was fairly entertaining there were some probs.

First off, hate to say it but what started out as a fun adventure turned quickly redundant and trying. The characters sashayed from place to place attempting to investigate/solve a crime. The story itself reminded me vaguely of the Sherlock Holmes movies, because there was all these quick talking British people explaining everything they found out the entire way through.

And it might have worked if they'd cut
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
if you extracted the better elements from the terrible psuedo-genre known as regency romance, ladled on some tamora pierce, and sprinkled the scarlet pimpernell on top-- these two novellas are the probable result.
the plot was fun, original, and certainly better than average. it skims over true development of the characters, who are likable and unique but could use deeper exploration. the prose was too wordy, too convoluted, and a little too self-absorbed for my taste.
i liked the second book be
Katie Grace
Feb 24, 2016 Katie Grace rated it it was ok
I really liked the first 1/4... But then there were too many characters to keep track of and the story didn't click with me. *shrug*
Aug 02, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it
You know what they always say: don't judge a book by its cover. But in this case, they were wrong! This book's absolutely gorgeous cover promises all the best of Patricia C. Wrede's considerable talent at writing lively, intelligent and thoroughly charming magical tales for all ages - and it does not disappoint.

I had not realized how much I had missed reading Patricia Wrede's unique brand of fantasy adventure fiction until I found A Matter of Magic by chance. Here, it's combined with a wonderful
Oct 21, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it
This was one quirky novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The world of this novel is an alternate-type England where it's quite acceptable for people to be wizards, or "frogmakers" as street thief and wizard-in-training, Kim, calls them.

The story in book #1 was slow to start for me. I didn't really understand where it was going, and I definitely wasn't expecting Wrede's use of farce. I've read her Enchanted Forest books, which I remember being quirky & funny, but some of these situations were
Christina White
Book 1: Mairelon the Magician- 1 star

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!
Jul 26, 2010 Danielle rated it liked it
A Matter of Magic was a nice, quick read that fulfilled my desire for both fantasy and historical fiction. Originally published as two separate books, Mairelon the Magician (published in 1991) and The Magician’s Ward (published in 1997), A Matter of Magic gives you both for the price of one.

The stories in both books are not directly related, but it makes sense to offer the reader’s the full tale of Kim and Mairelon in one book. The first part of the book, originally Mairelon the Magician, I fou
Jul 04, 2016 Anali rated it really liked it
A Matter of Magic es una recopilación de dos novelas: Mairelon the Magician y The Magician's Ward. Ambas me han parecido amenas, llenas de magia y con personajes muy interesantes. Cada novela posee su porcentaje de acción, aventura, suspenso y humor. Son muy divertidas y tienen situaciones bastante absurdas pero que te hacen reír.

Hubo un par de ocasiones en que sentí que el libro iba muy despacio, sobre todo, para la primera novela. La segunda mejoro considerablemente, aunque el misterio dismin
Nov 02, 2012 Lindsay rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Since the book is in two parts, so should my review be.

Mairelon the Magician:
3 stars
After finishing Book 1, I am in desperate need for a break. My brain hurts! I am really enjoying the storyline, but I feel like I have just witnessed a parade and am now being forced to remember details of each member.
I am resigned to the knowledge that I will never be able to recall most character's names or the part that they played. My eyes glazed over for most of the final scene, being completely unable to f
Jan 22, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it
A Matter of Magic takes place in a Regency-with-magic world similar to Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Chocolate Pot books with Caroline Stevermer. It's actually two novels, Mairelon the Magician and The Magician's Ward. Both stories involve mysteries that I don't bother to follow - it's the setting and the characters that make the book so enjoyable.

The book is like a Georgette Heyer, complete with earls, reticules and romance, with the addition of magic. Kim is an orphan who has been living disgu
Jul 05, 2010 Kristin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This story reminds me strongly of a Nick and Nora mystery, where clues and leads are followed culminating in a gathering of suspects and riddle solving. Even the interaction between Kim and Mairelon has similarities. The only thing i could have asked for is more: more detail and enhancement. The story is wonderful and the characters shine but it's over too fast. Of course this is a YA novel, but I found the mystery more complex than i would have expected, even in the second reading as an adult ...more
a volume combining "mairelon the magician" and "the magician's ward." i found it to be a bit of a mixed bag from book to book-

mairelon the magician: kim is a street thief who passes as a boy to protect herself. she is hired to break into a street magician's wagon, discover if he owns a particular bowl, and report back. the titular magician, mairelon, catches her in the act and convinces her to work as his apprentice after falsely reporting that he doesn't have the bowl. from there, kim helps him
Mar 15, 2015 Christopher rated it it was amazing
I've read this two-book YA series before, and it's just as good as I remember it. The first book is a straight adventure/mystery story, with a hefty dose of magic thrown in. The plot hits the ground running and steadily continues until everything is neatly tied up at the grand reveal. The second book has a similar mystery element, but it's mixed in with a good amount of general regency "filler" - in comparison, the day-to-day regency subplot wasn't nearly as exciting. The heroine is wonderfully ...more
May 27, 2014 Dawn rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Duology of Mairelon the Magician and Magician's Ward.

I adore The Enchanted Forest Chronicles and so was looking forward to reading this new work from Patricia C. Wrede. I bought it and then forgot about it on my kindle. I started reading it not remembering who the author was, and only finished it after checking who the author was.

The first book is a comedy of errors and way too many characters for no particular reason. Neither Mairelon nor Kim really do much of anything other than be at 'just' t
Oct 05, 2010 S. rated it really liked it
I was disappointed to learn that this is a compilation of two earlier novels by Patricia Wrede. Then I realized that I had not read these in years, and I had a wonderful time reading them again.

The first one is Mairelon the Magician (copyright 1991), in which Kim, the child thief, encounters Mairleon the Magician. They work together to solve a mystery. I like watching Kim grow up as she and Mairelon learn more about each other. Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist certainly inspired this thieves of Lo
Mar 21, 2011 Tracy rated it really liked it
I loved it! Patricia Wrede,The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons / Calling on Dragons / Talking to Dragons series is a well-loved favorite from middle school, writes Regency England with a magical twist. Fun times. This isn't Austen--Wrede writes in a modern voice, except when her characters use street cant--but it is romantic (more in the sense of Keats & Shelley than of bodice-rippers). For the most part it was relatively fluffy, but the main charact ...more
This is an exciting book (well, it is actually a combination of two books, "Mairelon the Magician" and "The Magician's Warde"). It is well set out and easy to read.

The first part (book one) is fun to read as you watch the relationship between Kim, Mairelon (Richard Merrill) and Hunch develop through quite a few interesting situations. All the characters are well described and you get to know them very well.

The second half (book two) was my favourite. This part has a bit of a romance going on,
Feb 15, 2011 Kristen rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-lit, fantasy
The best thing about this book - the cover. I kept waiting for the cover to come to life in the book and was sorely dissapointed. This is made up of two books - if I could cut the first book down by 150 pages that would have been great. The second book was much better, but even it wasn't great. I finished it, I guess that is saying something for it, because usually I don't if they are boring. Very little romance, and I must have romance in the books I read. :o)

Moral Note: Pretty clean, it had a
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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 ...more
More about Patricia C. Wrede...

Other Books in the Series

Mairelon (2 books)
  • Mairelon the Magician (Mairelon, #1)
  • Magician's Ward (Mairelon, #2)

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“Kim was more than a little inclined to snarl at him, but in the past few days she had learned that snarling at Mairelon did little good. He simply smiled and corrected her grammar.” 41 likes
“I see you've decided to take my advice after all, Richard." Lady Wendall's amused voice said from somewhere above and behind him. "Marrying your ward is *exactly* the sort of usual scandal I had in mind: I wonder it didn't occur to me before.” 10 likes
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