Stolen Magic, by Stephanie Burgis, was published in 2013 by Atheneum. It is the sequel to Renegade Magic.
With just days to go before her sister Angeline’s long-delayed wedding to Frederick Carlyle, the impetuous Kat Stephenson has resigned herself to good behavior. But Kat’s initiation into the magical Order of the Guardians is fast approaching, and trouble seems to follow her everywhere. First, Kat must contend with the wretched Mrs. Carlyle’s attempts to humiliate her sister; the arrival of the mysterious Marquise de Valmont, who bears suspicious resemblance to Kat’s later mother; and Frederik’s bewitching cousin Jane, who has Charles Stephenson tripping over his feet. But when a menacing boy with powerful magic starts hunting Kat, a dastardly villain tries to kill Angeline, and the guardians face a magical robbery that could spell the end of their Order, propriety becomes the least of Kat’s concerns. Can Kat save her sister’s life, the Order of the Guardians, and England itself before it’s too late?
Despite my dislike of Kat in Kat, Incorrigible and Renegade Magic, I was holding out hope that she would start to mature a little in Stolen Magic. There were signs in Renegade Magic that she was, so despite my overall dislike of that book, I still looked forward to this one. However, I was sorely disappointed, because Kat continues to be the annoying, irresponsible and rash protagonist that she was in the first two books. If you like that about her, then great, you’ll love this book. I, however, do not, so I didn’t.
Once again, Burgis completely eliminates potential development and maturation of Kat by throwing the option into Kat’s face and then having Kat refuse it. In addition, other characters point out her flaws and she continues to ignore them and acts in the same way, and it’s very frustrating to read. Throughout all three books, Kat continues to jump to conclusions in the exact same manner, and I just do not like characters who are stuck in their development like that.
I didn’t comment much on it in the past two books, but the attitude of adults towards Kat also does not make any sense to me. Lady Fotherington’s intense hatred of a thirteen-year-old just does not seem plausible, and neither do her attempts at sabotaging said thirteen-year-old. Also implausible was Elissa refusing to tell people that she was pregnant merely because Burgis wanted some further scandal angst to throw at her characters.
Also, this book was really dark for a children’s book. I was actually shocked by how dark it got.
Some positives: I did like the character of Alexander and the hints of what will happen in the future (probably to be confirmed in Courting Magic, a novella sequel to this book). I also really like Angeline and Frederick together, and Charles is another good character that slightly lessened my irritation of Kat.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: Domestic violence, gun violence.
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
“Oh, Cousin,” Jane Carlyle said. She was wiping her eyes with her handkerchief, which was small and dainty and pink, and perfectly embroidered with the letters JC. “You cannot be any more horrified by the idea than I am, I promise you. When I think of your notoriously murderous tendencies—”
“His what?” growled Charles. It was the first time he’d managed a coherent phrase since her arrival, and his tone was so full of menace that she blinked rapidly and took a step away from him.
Frederick Carlyle only grinned. “Never fear, Stephenson,” he said. “My murderous tendencies, as my cousin likes to call them, began and ended with her favorite doll, and only when she’d aggravated me past bearing by throwing my best pair of Hessian boots into the sea…and purely because she found that I’d been playing cards regularly at Eton, just like every other fellow there. My cousin has a bit of a fixation, you know.”