Renegade Magic is written by Stephanie Burgis. It was published in 2011 by Atheneum. It is the sequel to Kat, Incorrigible.
Kat Stephenson may have inherited her mother’s magical talents, but not everyone in the Order of the Guardians is ready to accept her. When she is tricked into losing her temper in front of the most powerful Guardian in England, she finds herself expelled without a single magic lesson. After a devastating accusation shatters her sister Angeline’s romance, their stepmama whisks the family away to the fashionable city of Bath and orders Angeline to find a new fiancé. But as Angeline plays a dangerous game with a scandalous rake, their brother, Charles, tumbles headlong into danger…and Bath’s wild magic gets ready to explode. With more than one life at stake, will Kat’s untrained magic be enough to reunite Angeline with her true love, conquer the danger at Bath, and prove she truly has what it takes to be a Guardian?
My main issue with Kat, Incorrigible, was Kat herself, and unfortunately Renegade Magic has the same exact problem. Kat’s independence and breaking of every propriety is still unbelievable and even gets to the “this is annoying” and “does this girl ever learn anything?” stage. There are some moments where Kat begins to realize that she can’t act impulsively all the time and get away with it, but those moments are few and far between and overall do nothing to impact Kat’s development as a character. The one person who could have served as a way to make her grow up a bit is conveniently (and obviously) revealed to be the villain, and the day is saved not by Kat learning from her impulsiveness and actually thinking ahead, but by her throwing away everything she’s learned throughout the course of the book and resorting to the exact attitudes and actions that got her in trouble throughout the first two books. I think I’m even less endeared to Kat as a protagonist now than I was in Kat, Incorrigible.
Despite that, though, I do still like the magical aspect of the world, and the magic is explained a little bit more in this book so even though it’s still a bit confusing how it works, it’s more developed than it was.
I loved how Kat’s father was there for the climax/denouement and how Charles stepped up a bit when Lady Fotherington was insulting Kat. And I still giggled at the romantic bits with Angeline and Frederick, because it was cute (and pretty angsty, for a kid’s book).
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
“It’s only that I was so surprised,” I said to Mrs. Wingate. “I don’t know how Lady Fotherington came to be so mistaken about your house and your good taste. Why, when I told her we would be staying here, she said…well, I don’t think it would be polite to say exactly what she said.” I shot a pointed glance at the butler behind us. “Not in front of the servants.”
Mrs. Wingate’s heavy jaw worked up and down. “Why—”
“I am so glad to see that she was wrong,” I said. “She had been quite concerned that your house wouldn’t be an appropriate place for us to stay, you see, if we wanted to meet really good company in Bath.”