Ten years after the adventures they shared in Sorcery and Cecelia and The Grand Tour, cousins Kate and Cecy are at it again. To untangle a plot that threatens the very unity of the kingdom, they must learn the secret shared by a night prowler, a mute girl, and a missing magician. On orders from Lord Wellington himself, Cecy and her husband, James, are sent north to investigate. Kate and her husband, Thomas, stay home, minding James and Cecy’s brood as well as their own. Childcare takes on a whole new dimension when all five children begin to cast spells themselves. While Cecy and James are off learning the perils of steam engines and stone circles, the questions in the letters between the two couples multiply: What’s causing the eruptions at Halliwar Tower? Who put the grass snake in the nursery? What has prompted Kate’s sister to make an unannounced visit to the country at the height of the social season? And will the mysterious rescued girl ever speak?
I am incredibly torn in my thoughts about The Mislaid Magician. On the one hand, I loved Sorcery and Ceceliaso much that I cannot help but like this one, the last in the trilogy. On the other hand, I felt that Sorcery and Cecelia had something that was missing in the next two books, which was a subtle sort of cheekiness and fun. The fun was missing for me, especially in this book, as the plots got more complicated. Sure, there are fun moments, but it’s not underriding the whole novel as with S & C. Frankly, this book was, unfortunately, a little boring.
In The Grand Tour, I mentioned the imbalance that I felt between Kate and Cecelia, and I felt it again in this book. This time, it wasn’t so much of quantity of viewpoints than quality. Kate, I felt, got a little bit pushed to the side as Cecelia was investigating the main bulk of the plot. About the middle of the book is a letter from Kate to Cecelia, where Kate basically says that she has nothing to talk about. That summarizes perfectly how I felt about Kate’s activities throughout the book. Compared to Cecelia and James, she just didn’t have as much to do.
Kate’s lack of involvement with a majority of the plot means that at the end I felt highly dissatisfied with the conclusion. In The Grand Tour, Kate gets a really awesome moment when everyone else has been obstructed by the villain. In this book, she gets another awesome moment, but my problem with this awesome moment is that it means that, for another book, Cecelia does absolutely nothing awesome at all even though she and James had to deal with the main plot line. In fact, in her and James’s part of the plot, it’s James who gets to be awesome, not Cecelia. And I really wish Cecelia got an awesome moment in this book because her awesome moment in Sorcery & Cecelia was very awesome, and I feel that awesome Cecelia was lost after the first book.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
I threw myself at him, and his hat fell off as he gathered me to him. I couldn’t speak at first, and when I could, it was to utter pure idiocy. “You’ve come.”
“Of course I have,” Thomas said gently. “I was almost here when you called me. Shouting down a rain barrel ain’t in it, my darling. You’ve half deafened me.”
“My calling spell worked?”
“Not that it needed to. I was only half a mile away,” said Thomas. “It worked a treat. And you’ve cast a finding spell to match it. If you cast any more spells of that caliber, my head may come clean off.”
I did enjoy The Mislaid Magician because it is Regency fantasy, after all, but I felt that the book was missing the fun that I loved so much in Sorcery and Cecelia. Also, I was disappointed that once again Cecelia got pushed aside in favor of Kate in terms of awesome moments, because I really wanted Cecelia to show her awesomeness, too.