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Flora Segunda of Crackpot Hall (Flora Trilogy #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  3,789 Ratings  ·  511 Reviews
In her home of Crackpot Hall, her mother banished the butler so eleven thousand rooms roam at random. Flora, as youngest child at home, does all the housework, mucks out the stables, and tries to contain her drunken crazed Poppy. Late for school, Flora rides the elevator - to the lost library, where whining decrepit butler Valefor sucks her anima and both start to fade out ...more
Paperback, 419 pages
Published 2007 by Scholastic
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Edith Hope Beautifully. I recommend the trilogy, but the first book is plenty on its own.
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Isa Lavinia
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE, seriously go read this!
Recommended to Isa by: Sarah
Originally posted at Paperback Wonderland.

I've re-read this book (and the others in this series) so many times my paperbacks are starting to look pitiful.

Honestly, I don't understand how this book isn't topping all bestseller's lists, is it lack of promotion? I really don't know and it bothers me because the universe Ysabeau S. Wilce created is so amazing, so flawless, so addictive... Her characters are just perfect, her plots -- look I'm a picky bitch and I cannot find a fault!

For the love of
Mar 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fun and surprisingly harsh YA fantasy novel, that takes place in a world unlike any other YA fantasy novel I've ever read. plus, the main character fucks up a lot and everything does not all work out all happy for her, which is kind of refreshing for a change.
Alethea A
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes a complex story with lots of description
Recommended to Alethea by: Becci
If you can get past some of the cutesy language (like "choco sandwies" and other things that end in -ie that eventually I got sick of encountering) you'll find a fun adventure with a little (well, rather plump actually) girl who's on her way to finding her place in the world.

Flora Segunda (a "replacement" daughter, as the first Flora in the family was lost in the War) is getting ready for her Catorcena--and not doing a great job of it, what with having to do all the chores and look after crazy
Dec 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommended to JM by: Sarah Rees Brennan
This is either YA or children's fantasy, but I can't really make up my mind which. Flora, called Segunda because there was another Flora, who was a good deal more perfect but died, lives in Crackpot Hall, one of the four magickal Great Houses in the city. She struggles to keep the decrepit house from falling apart, to keep her messed up father from destroying the kitchen, and to write the speech for her Catorcena - her all-important fourteenth birthday, when she becomes legally an adult. Mostly, ...more
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
I'm not sure why I wasn't in love with this book the way everyone else seems to be. The setting was pretty imaginative and I did want to find out what was going on with the backstory and current political events etc, but somehow I couldn't get into it. One problem may have been that it is written with a sort of preciousness that I have noted as increasingly common in tween fastasy, which may be an attempt to emulate the tone of some Edwardian and Late Victorian children's literature; however, th ...more
As the book opens, Flora Fyrdraaca is supposed to be writing a speech for her fourteenth birthday party, wherein she will celebrate her wonderful family, house, and future. The problem is, she doesn't think any of them are all that wonderful. Her house used to be a Great House, until her mother banished the magickal Butler; now it has eleven thousand rooms and only one bathroom. There are only four Fyrdraacas left: Flora herself, her crazy father, her military mother, who's never home, and her s ...more
Jun 21, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I don't think this is quite like anything I've read for a while. It's got wonderfully bizarre worldbuilding and great prose: I'd rec this to anyone who enjoyed Mary Poppins or Peter Pan (the books! not the movies!).

Full review:
Ben Babcock
Aug 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
What a seriously impressive and original young adult fantasy novel. The name alone, Flora Segunda of Crackpot Hall, promises a whimsical adventure. But it’s hard to describe just how quickly Ysabeau Wilce pulls the rug from beneath the reader, removing any possibility of normality and dragging us into a fantastic world where anything can happen—but that doesn’t mean it will.

Flora’s world is one where magic is real and a part of daily life, but it’s rather unfashionable. She lives in a house—Crac
Snarktastic Sonja
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've postponed writing this review because I wasn't sure what to rate it. Since it inspired me to read a different book and I liked this one more and rated that one 3, I settled on 4 for this one.

This book reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time. Not sure why - probably the age range of the protagonist. This is also what threw off my rating. I was just not really sure how much I enjoyed reading a book about a 13 year old. Evidently, more than I realized. I do keep thinking about this one and will very
Heather Turner
Apr 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
This was amazing....there are not enough words to tell of the awesomeness of this title. Although others find it muddled and a bit schizophrenic..I did not find it to be the case. I do not know if everyone can appreciate the nature of the tale. But I found it to be unique in a world of YA literature that just all feels the same. Flora is strong and NOT ANGSTY...which is rare. Her sidekick is amusing and full of life. Characterizations...amazing. Plot is good and surprising. Characters are multi- ...more
I couldn't wait to be done with this book but it kept going and going. Flora Segunda was around 400 pages long, and I'm not sure it really needed to be that long. Not much happened. I was intrigued with all the talk of Flora wanting to be a Ranger and then stumbling upon a Ranger. And that particular story-line, at least in this first book, fell flat. Instead the book focused on her loss of Will. Also interesting, but not what I was expecting or hoping for. It seems like maybe this book was just ...more
I fell in love with the description - it sounds like a magical world, full of wonder, where you always find something new with the thousand rooms. But then the story really doesn't talk about that much. More like the mundane life of the girl who lives there, then how she takes on a problem. There is not nearly enough magic in it for my taste, especially in a world so situated in magic! Does she never wonder how or why she can wield magic? That's what would be the most interesting to me.

The world
Dec 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Chrestomanci
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: mistful
Shelves: fantasy, ya
Flora lives in a huge, crumbling house with her dogs, horses, and the mad Poppy. Her fourteenth birthday is coming up, when she'll become an adult and join the army, as all of her family has done before her. But Flora is round as a dumpling and likes reading adventure stories more than fighting, and she'd rather learn to be a sneaky spy than a magic-less soldier. When she stumbles upon the secret to her house's decrepitude, she embarks upon an adventure that will forever alter the state of her f ...more
This book has such potential to be a fun, magical story for young adults, but the racism and ableism really ruined the experience for me.

Book content warnings:

Flora's world is a parallel universe set in what's probably California, USA (Califa). World building relies heavily on the author's past training as a military historian, and although that's very admirable, I'm still a bit side-eying the decision to fill a fictional world, where an author has total power over, with cultures
Melissa McShane
I love this book so much--it's got a quirky, interesting main character, a unique style, great alternate history, and Wilce knows how to end a book with a zinger that's half cliffhanger and half electric shock.

The Republic of Califa, Flora's home, recently lost a war with the Huitzil Empire--officially they're a "client state," but their independence is a fragile thing--in which Flora's father was captured, convicted of war crimes, and tortured into madness. It's Flora's job to watch over him, d
I liked the book; the good stuff were pretty good and the bad stuff pretty bad. It started out great; I thought I was going to love it, but slowly it went downhill.

"Yes" to:

- Magical. The world created had enough magic for me to be very satisfied. I love the butlers (the detizens). Valefor was the kind of character that I enjoy to meet in Fantasy books. He was kind of a Califer: attached magically to the house. He could do anything and be the perfect butler; he was a bit of a complainer but he w
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, read-2012
I’ve been meaning to write a review for this for ages. Flora Segunda is a middle grade/early teen novel that takes on surprisingly complex themes in a deliberately light manner that serves to delineate the importance of the themes under discussion. Flora lives in a world where there are Great Houses whose sentient form manifests itself in the form of a butler. There is a dual world, magic and predetermined destiny – of Flora’s mother has anything to say about it. Flora is one of those characters ...more
Check it out, it’s fantasy not Europe! As opposed to fantasy not!Europe, I mean. Young adult story of thirteen-year-old Flora’s magical exploits in alternate, militarized California.

You know how sometimes a young adult book can surprise you with its subtlety, its emotional complexity and maturity springing from a simple story? Yeah, this one went exactly the opposite direction: from a rich, textured, fascinating background world, and a well-drawn familial mess, and a lot of interesting political
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

A fun and charming story with a young girl protagonist (13, going 14) who is a strong and likable character. She suffers from the plague that such characters tend to have - generally neglectful but loving parents - but the parents in this one are at least present to an extent and not entirely useless as in some other series of the same ilk.

The other characters are interesting and generally likable, and the world itself is both strange and familiar, being loosely based on 18th Century traits a
N. Anderson
I, while reading this book, enjoyed it, although I would not, unless someone was looking for such a book, recommend it. It was not predictable, which is found all to often in books, and even though it did have a little of the main character making stupid mistakes, it did not remove from the experience. I seemed not to look forward to picking it up, but once I had started to read, found myself not wanting to put it down. Altogether it was very odd, and even though the writing style was also diffe ...more
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like YA fantasy
Recommended to Ealaindraoi by: Julie Carter
Shelves: ya, 2008
This is an amazing first novel, and I hope the first of many set in this world. One often hears of young adult fantasy novels touted as the "Next Harry Potter", this is the first novel I've read in a long time that truly could be. The world of the Republic of Califa is so positively dense with a fully realized society with
political structure and intrigue, wars and religion, different cultures, races and magical creatures with complicated alliances to humans. All this and wonderfully quirky chara
Nicole Pramik
I wanted badly to enjoy this novel as it seemed to be chocked full of interesting characters and environments. Likewise, I've always had a liking for stories set chiefly in houses, especially with the promise of discovering something magical or even dangerous behind every door. Granted, Flora Segunda held a great deal of promise for me but, ultimately, fell a bit flat and caused me to lose interest.

Based on its story description, I had envisioned some sort of crossover between Alice's Adventures
I really loved the world-building here, but it took me a while to warm to the characters. In fact, I appreciate Flora in this book more as the starting point of a series heroine than as the protagonist of this book alone; I had the first and second books in hand together and read them back-to-back, which definitely helped the first book.

A couple of nice points:
* I do love fantasy worlds which actually have gender equality in careers.
* Women wear stays instead of bras! And nobody at all wears pan
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful book! I almost give it 5 stars...maybe it's more like 4.5. Flora was a spunky, sturdy girl who cared more about adventure than her appearance, who loved her family despite their brokenness and selfishness, and who cared for the animals and home she lived in almost by herself, and mostly without complaining. Meeting Valefore the butler puts her finally on an adventure all of her own, a fun, interesting, exciting one. There was even a touch of time travel to the story line, and I ...more
Aug 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kitri
Shelves: juv, young-adult, fantasy
I really really wanted to love Flora Segunda. It's got a lot of things going for it. There's the setting: a fantasy world that seems to be a strange version of California with an old-world feel, where magical butlers that run the great houses of the city (and who doesn't love a magical butler?) There's a lot of atmosphere, and a sense of more history and past intrigue than has been uncovered yet. Then there are the characters - Flora Segunda (we never find out quite what happened to the first Fl ...more
I am seriously stumped as to how to summarize this book. Flora is just short of 14 and provides rollicking narration as she describes the adventures that take place during the two or so weeks preceding her Catorcena -- her fourteenth birthday, when she will be recognized as an adult, and will have to choose a direction in life. She does indeed live in an eleven-thousand room house (they don't all seem to be in the same dimension at the same time), with a spirit "denizen" or Butler, as do many of ...more
Oct 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fromthelibrary, ya
In the Republic of Califa, where war lords rule and boys in kilts is the height of fashion, Flora Nemain Fyrdaaca ov Fyrdaaca, nearing her 14th birthday, is besieged by overwhelming problems. With her Catorcena celebration approaching, she must make many preparations including making tamales, writing a speech and finishing her dress while keeping her mentally unstable father in line and get to the bottom of what caused her mother, the Commanding General and Rock of Califa, to banish their butler ...more
What an impressively mediocre book.

The description is a little misleading--it sounds as if Flora is somehow trapped in her mysterious house and needs to find her way out, which really isn't the case at all. It's hard to pin down what the main plot thread is, because it's almost like there are two or three episodes here that are tied together with "before we do X, what about Y?" and "I know I should be doing X, but Y is my priority right now." The bits where Flora performs magic seem like afterth
Flora Nemain Fyrdraaca ov Fyrdraaca is a young girl about to enter into adulthood. Her mother, Juliet the General, will arrive back from her travels just in time for Flora's Catorcena. But, Flora does not want to enter the Barracks, as all Fyrdaacas have traditionally done, but wants to be a ranger like her hero, Nini Mo.

Days before the Catorcena, Flora meets Valefor, an abrogated butler who has been banished by The General and is fading...FAST. Flora allows him to siphen off a little of her Wi
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Ysabeau S. Wilce was born in the City of Califa at the age of one. While her parents were on a diplomatic mission to the Huitzil Empire, she was cared for by an uncle what brought her up by hand. She attended Sanctuary School as a scholarship girl and then spent three years at the University of Califa where she took a double degree in Apotropaic Philosophy and Confabulation.

She then became laundre
More about Ysabeau S. Wilce...

Other Books in the Series

Flora Trilogy (3 books)
  • Flora's Dare (Flora Trilogy, #2)
  • Flora's Fury (Flora Trilogy, #3)
“Most courage comes from being too tired and hungry to be afraid anymore.” 28 likes
“You know that if ever the Fyrdraaca family is in true trouble, Barbizon is supposed to come to life and to our rescue, just as she did for Azucar.'
'Ayah, Poppy, I've heard the story.'
'Well, I often consider that I've sat here many times, and often felt in true trouble, and yet Barbizon has never leaped to my aid. So you know what that makes me think?'
'That it's just a story?'
'No, no. That my trouble is never true trouble. And things, though I think them bad, are not really so.”
More quotes…