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Mairelon The Magician (Mairelon #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  7,627 Ratings  ·  290 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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May 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This book felt so thoroughly mediocre. Which is unusual, I think. Most books have something that make them stand out more (in good or bad ways!), but this felt like just a collection of things that I like well enough, but that never became more than that.

Like, Regency era with magic! Orphan girl falls in with mysterious magician! But it never really sparked for me. There was stuff that was supposed to be all farce-like, but . . . it's not even that it felt flat. It was just THERE. Mediocre.

Oh we
First Second Books
Regency heist capers! This book is amazing -- magic and manners all wrapped up into an amazing package filled with thieves cant and not a single person who is what they seem.

I love this book! It's a perfect winter reread.
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,
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
I'm actually reading the omnibus edition of both books 1 & 2, A Matter of Magic (which has the MOST BEAUTIFUL COVER!!). But something in me bristles at the idea of writing a combined review for two books, so logging separate editions it is!

So, Mairelon the Magician. I LOVED Patricia Wrede's Dealing with Dragons, so I was expecting a sort of similar airy witty writing? It's aimed at an older audience with more complex prose, but that just meant the writing is denser and more convoluted, and
Denae Christine
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'
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
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
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
Eris Vianney
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
An Odd1
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fun
"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
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
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
David Ottenstein
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic, 2016
Давайте я сейчас сразу сделаю аванс на вторую часть (ныне оба романа серии издают под одной обложкой) и скажу, что вот в этой книге я обнаружила примерно всё, чего ждала от "Shades of Milk and Honey".
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
Mar 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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.
Delia Turner
Entertaining fantasy set in a historical England. Too many characters to keep track of but it doesn't really matter for following the plot. Except for a "reveal" chapter near the end of the book that is like a high speed farce, the action is good.
Just plain fun! Sadly, the climax took about 50 pages and wasn't very climactic at all. Still, entertaining on the whole. A quick, fun read.
Matilde Damkier
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, historical
Wow, this book...
Those long, rambling scenes that just got more and more unbelievably ridiculous as they went on. They had me laughing so hard.

Great, great book. I just wished there'd be a little less slang in the speech and writing. The old-fashioned English words were sometimes hard to decipher, and I've read a lot of historical fiction taking place in that time.
It takes a bit of the joy away from a book when you have to re-read sentences to try and figure out what the fudge the main charact
Having just read gay Georgette Heyer with pirates, I moved on to Mairelon the Magician, which is YA Georgette Heyer with magic. Good fun, but not as well-written as Heyer (or as Mackenzi Lee, for that matter) - in particular some of Kim's thieves' cant has a little bit of a "how do you do, fellow kids" effect.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, teen
I chose fantasy as one of the themes since there is some magic involved in the story, not just the showmanship kind, but also the casting spells type. The story line itself took a while to get started and at times characters were thrown in willy-nilly but it turned out pretty good in the end.
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
My rating system:
One star: Complete thumbs down. I may not have even finished it.
Two stars: Ok,
Three stars: A good read but not life changing Most books I read get this rating.
Four stars: Very good, re-reading material.
Five stars: Life changing.
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is really more of a three star book but I'm rounding up because it got very Georgette Heyer for a bit there at the end. And I am in love with Renée.
Jenna D
A bit confusing at times, but a fairly enjoyable, quirky read nonetheless.
Eva Muhlhause
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dash of magic, a touch of comedy, an extremely tangled plot, and Regency England? Well, "Mairelon the Magician" has it. Let's start with the plot...

The Plot: "Mairelon" stars Kim, a young street urchin disguised as a boy who is just looking to make a living when she picks up a job to case the inside of a street magician's wagon. Unfortunately for her, it turns out that Mairelon is more than what he seems, and when he offers her a deal, she agrees and becomes part of his crew and sets out on 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 se ...more
More about Patricia C. Wrede...

Other Books in the Series

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

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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.”
“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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