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A Matter of Magic

(Mairelon #1-2)

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  4,867 ratings  ·  428 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 sh ...more
Paperback, Omnibus, 448 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Orb Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  4,867 ratings  ·  428 reviews


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colleen the convivial curmudgeon
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,
...more
snowplum
Jan 14, 2015 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
Lee Anne
Apr 28, 2011 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
...more
Simcha Lazarus
Nov 20, 2010 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 book ...more
Tammie
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
...more
Kingsgrave
Feb 16, 2011 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 partic ...more
Telissa
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
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 ...more
K.
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
...more
Elevetha
Mairelon The Magician - 2.5 stars

The Magicians Ward - 3.5 stars
Miss Clark
Feb 08, 2010 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
...more
Terri
Aug 22, 2010 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
...more
Angela James
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, my-faves, 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 gut ...more
Tammy Walquist
Dec 09, 2012 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
...more
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
...more
Becky
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
...more
Katie Grace
Dec 20, 2015 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* ...more
Hayden
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

This book had some good points, but it generally focused on the less interesting things rather than what I wanted to read about. (that is, the characters got shortchanged in order to focus on the convoluted plot.) I feel really disappointed about that, because the characters and their relationships had huge amounts of potential, but that was never fulfilled.

The second book in the collection -The Magician's Ward- was definitely the stronger of the two books. The first was just too compl
...more
Karissa
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it

I have read and enjoyed a lot of Wrede books but this just wasn’t one of them. I struggled with this book right from the first chapter. I just could not stay engaged in the story and really had to focus to pay attention and follow what was happening. I read to around page 150 and then stopped because I realized I was finding excuses to not sit down and read this book.

I think part of my issue with this book was the main heroine. Kim is supposed to be sixteen years old; but she sounds and acts m
...more
Alyssa Snow
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another marvelous set of characters from Wrede! Making magic commonplace in Regency England comes naturally for her. And although the story itself did not present surprisingly, the genre never tires of spunky, independent and feminine heroines. Kim and Mairelon are worth rooting for, as is the intertwining of wizardry and waltzes in the ever-judgemental ballrooms of the ton. Thouroughly enjoyable read.
Julie Nichol
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is an amazing series. I love the characters and it has a good plot. The only issue is that in the first book I couldn't understand everything that Kim says. I mean, she was raised in the streets in the bad part of London, and as such she has an accent and talks like a street thief, but I still don't know what she is talking about an eighth of the time. These books are great and I have read them about five times and recommend them really highly. ...more
Scott
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I especially found the end of it hard to put down. I was disappointed that there are no more books featuring these two characters, as I would happily read more.
Babinka
I need to re-read this. I remember liking it?
Hannah
Jul 31, 2012 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
...more
Beth
Aug 27, 2012 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 so o
...more
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!
...more
Danielle
Jul 22, 2010 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
...more
Lindsay
Sep 04, 2012 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
...more
Kristin
Jul 05, 2010 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
Kricket
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
...more
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3,428 followers
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

Other books in the series

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

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