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Flora Segunda

(Flora Trilogy #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  4,240 ratings  ·  563 reviews
Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall--the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler--and into a ...more
Hardcover, 431 pages
Published July 2nd 2007 by Harcourt
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Edith Hope Beautifully. I recommend the trilogy, but the first book is plenty on its own.

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  4,240 ratings  ·  563 reviews

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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
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. ...more
Alethea A
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kaethe Douglas
Very satisfying. Can't wait to read the sequel.


2009 September 20

I don't think the Possum loved this as much as I have, but oh, my, how I love this.

A steampunk world without rigid gender roles but with magick. A book about a girl turning 14 who doesn't want to join the army like her perfect elder sister, and who is sick of holding together the crumbling 11,000-room family home.
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fiction Readers
Flora Nemain Fydraaca ov Fydraaca was the second Flora - Flora Segunda - born to her illustrious family, one of the most powerful in the city of Califa. The legacy of that other, earlier Flora - the one whose loss in the War had driven her father, Poppy, mad - hung over the great Fydraaca household, Crackpot Hall, with its eleven thousand rooms, all falling into disrepair in the absence of its magical Butler. As Flora (Segunda) reluctantly prepares for her upcoming Catorcena, or fourteenth birth ...more
Melissa McShane
8/27/19: Listening to this as an audiobook, I was more aware of how slowly it starts. Some of that is that Wilce gives very few clues as to what the book is "really" about (as I say below), making things that turn out to be important seem initially kind of random. But when it gets going, it really moves. I also had forgotten which things happen in this one and which in the sequel, Flora's Dare. It was fun and sad catching hints of what gets revealed later. It's still a fantastic book.

5/7/12: I l
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
May 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This felt like something I should have really liked, but didn’t. It’s fantastical, but unsure of its direction; whimsical, but that whimsy papers over a poorly paced plot; swaggering and uneven; predictable and unconventional both. I don’t like any of the characters and I’m not sure any of them have journeys in this book. Other than physical ones, of course, and those are so outrageous in scope I wasn’t sure what story this book was supposed to be telling.
Kara Babcock
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
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
Shelves: sff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
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:
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Second read. Still not sure how I feel, because I want so very much to love it and I just can't. Too much missing, too much added. I believe there should have been more about the house. More about the world and how the magic worked (hello, first in a trilogy, do at least some coherent world-building). Less about the random adventures & asides that have nothing to do with plot or character development.

And the main character, well, she acted like a younger child, heedless & whiny, but apparently s
Snarktastic Sonja
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
Heather Turner
Apr 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 25, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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
Dec 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I requested this book from the library at Lila's suggestion and when I got it I was skeptical because it came in a really juvenile cover. I haven't read a children's book in a long time but it's actually really good! I've definitely missed the period where this could have imprinted on me, but it's still fun and soothing reading, and has good morals. Seriously, some of the adults in my life (being intentionally vague here) could take a lesson from Flora.

My edition came with the first and second b
In Aztec-inspired and magickal land, Flora has to find her own Will, deal with her family and her House, and her own wishes and dreams - all before her 14th birthday.

This delightful novel filled me with glee, its colorful characters and interesting world making this a quick and enjoyable read.
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
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
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012, favourites
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
N. Anderson
Feb 21, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Elinor  Loredan
Oct 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I've wanted to read this one for years and overall was disappointed. Particularly during the first half of the book, the atmosphere is so bleak I almost wanted to stop reading, but I continued to find out what would happen. The second half picked up and I enjoyed Flora's insight into Poppy's past and the parts with Paimon. I also appreciated the quotes of Flora's idol ranger and the relationship between Udo and Flora. They often fought, but in the end they always were there for each other. But, ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
While I enjoyed some aspects of the story, overall it was lacking in refinement. Udo and Poppy were the most interesting and compelling characters to me, despite their positions as “side characters “. The political elements created potential for a complex story. And the magic system had a good base that could potentially be developed into something really interesting.

However, everything was lacking in the end. Flora, our heroine, was annoying and I did not find her development to be interesting
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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

Other books in the series

Flora Trilogy (3 books)
  • Flora's Dare (Flora Trilogy #2)
  • Flora's Fury (Flora Trilogy, #3)

News & Interviews

Nature, in Her infinite awesomeness, can provide solace even when you’re stuck in the house. As a matter of fact, the numbers suggest that...
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“Most courage comes from being too tired and hungry to be afraid anymore.” 32 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…