The Mislaid Magician by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years After, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, was published in 2006 by Harcourt. It is the sequel to The Grand Tour. 

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 Cecelia so 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.

Rating: 3/5

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Warnings: None.

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.”

Overall Review:

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.

You can buy this here: The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After

The Grand Tour: Magic & Adventure & A Turkish Slipper

The Grand Tour, or the Purloined Coronation is written by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. It was published in 2004 by Harcourt. It is the sequel to Sorcery & Cecelia.

Shopping in Paris, sightseeing in the Alps, riding gondolas in Venice—the Grand Tour planned by spirited cousins Kate and Cecy and their new husbands, Thomas and James, should be the perfect celebration of their whirlwind courtships. That is, until…The seasickness. The long carriage rides over bumpy roads. The midnight intruder who leaves behind a fashionable Turkish slipper. The tediously educational visits to ancient sites (where they always seem to run into the same peculiar people). And, oh yes, the mysterious parcel that hints at a murderously magical plot of international importance. Now the newlyweds must embark on a daring chase across the Continent. But what with Cecy’s explosive attempts to hone her wizardry, Kate’s alarming propensity for losing gloves, and a trial of misconstrued clues, will they be able to thwart the evil conspiracy in time? Clearly, this isn’t quite the calm and relaxing journey the girls were expecting. Though who cares, because this unconventional Grand Tour is turning out to be the best adventure of their lives!

The Grand Tour continues the fun of Sorcery & Cecelia, with even more intrigue, danger, and adventure. While I’m unsure of how, exactly, magic works in this world, Cecelia and Thomas do and experience some awesome things with it, and Kate has a particularly awesome moment in the end, as well. I also love the concept of knitting letters to other people.

Stevermer and Wrede do a really good job with the plot, building it up with little mysteries and hints and then bringing it all together in the end neatly. I know that in Sorcery & Cecelia they did not know what the other person was doing in terms of plot, and I wonder if it was the same, here. It seemed a bit too unified within the two viewpoints for that, but perhaps they’re just very good.

My one complaint is that the book seemed unbalanced between Kate and Cecelia’s viewpoints. Kate seemed to have much more frequent narrations than Cecelia; no sooner did we get one Cecelia entry than two or three Kate entries followed. In addition, Cecelia’s entries were very technical and focused on magic, whereas Kate’s actually delved into her love for Thomas a little bit. Kate and Thomas were very affectionate and loving, but Cecelia and James may as well not even have been married for all the attention they showed each other during her narrations.

Rating: 4/5

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Warnings: None.

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Mr. Brummell’s face went quite expressionless. He fingered the bottle for a moment, then, holding the stopper carefully in place, he turned it over and made a brief examination of the underside. “Ah,” he said in a satisfied tone, and returned it to Lady Sylvia.

“‘Ah’?” said Thomas. “I could have said that much myself.”

“You just did,” James told him.

Mr. Brummell ignored them both and looked at Lady Sylvia. “I believe the rather blurred mark on the base of the flask is the seal of the Archbishops of Notre-Dame in Paris. As you might reasonably be assumed to be traveling to Paris, I suspect you were meant to take the flask there.” He paused, considering. “Under the present circumstances, I am not at all sure that would be wise.”

Overall Review:

The Grand Tour continues the high fun and adventure of Sorcery & Cecelia on an even grander scale, and the two authors manage the plot really well between the two of them. The book seemed a bit unbalanced between the two viewpoints, however, and Kate was the only one who acted married.

You can buy this here: The Grand Tour

Sorcery & Cecelia: The Perfect Blend of Regency and Fantasy

Sorcery & Cecelia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot is written by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. It was published in 2003 by Harcourt.

There is a great deal happening in London this season. For starters, there’s the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. (Since when does hot chocolate burn a hole straight through one’s dress!?) Then there’s the strange spell that’s made Dorothea the toast of the town. (Could it possibly have something to do with the charm-bag under Oliver’s bed?) And speaking of Oliver, just how long can Cecelia and Kate make excuses for him? Ever since he was turned into a tree he hasn’t bothered to tell anyone where he is! Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. And the girls might be in fear for their lives…if only they weren’t having so much fun!

I had a big fat grin on my face the whole time I was reading this book. Sorcery & Cecelia is pretty much Jane Austen plus magic, which means it’s awesome. I love Regency-era period pieces, and the wonderful thing is that magic just fits so well in that setting for some reason. The inclusion of magic didn’t seem awkward at all, and I absolutely loved how the first two pages read like a normal Edwardian England setting, and then that mention of “The Royal College of Wizards” was just casually slipped in. Just lovely.

It’s pretty obvious who Kate and Cecelia end up with, but the best part, for me, was watching those relationships progress as the book went along. I go into pretty much rhapsodic bliss with these sorts of romances, and like I mentioned before, I could not stop grinning throughout the entire book. There may have been some giggling, too, both at the romances and because this book is quite funny overall.

This book gave me a ton of Pride & Prejudice vibes, which is probably why I loved it so much. Honestly, the best part of the whole thing was finishing this book and then realizing that there was another one. Onward to the further adventures of Kate, Cecelia, and their significant others!

Rating: 5/5

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Warnings: None.

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Cecy, I do think it is unfair. People in novels are fainting all the time, and I never can, no matter how badly I need to. Instead, I stared at him for what seemed like years, with the stupidest expression on my face, I’m sure, because I felt stupid. For I couldn’t imagine why he should say such an extraordinary thing. Finally I realized he was waiting for me to say something.
I said, “I can’t imagine why you should say such an extraordinary thing.”

Overall Review:

Gosh, I loved this book. I giggled and grinned my way through it and had a blast the whole time. I love Jane Austen and I love fantasy, and this book was the perfect mix of both.

You can buy this here: Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot