Monday 23 January 2012

Monday Musings: Book Review of A Tangle of Magicks by Stephanie Burgis

A Tangle of Magicks is the second in the Kat Stephenson series, spoilers for book 1 - published as A Most Improper Magick in the UK and as Kat, Incorrigible in the US - below.

As the Stephenson family flee scandalous rumours being spread by Kat's nemesis Lady Fotherington, they head to Bath to stay with snooty relatives of Stepmama - without eldest sister Elissa and her new husband, but with brother Charles, a chronic gambler, in tow. As bad as the family's problems in society are, though, they pale into comparison to Kat's magical misery, as the leader of the Order of Guardians banishes her when Lady Fotherington provokes her into losing her temper. With the Roman baths sizzling with wild magic, and danger seeming to lurk at nearly every turn, can Kat save the day?

I described the first of these Georgian adventures as spellbinding; if anything that would be rather understating it for this one. With a little over eleven months of the year to go, it's hard to imagine I'll read another book with a central character as loyal, feisty, clever and altogether wonderful as Kat is, while the supporting cast is perhaps even more superb than first time around. Stepmama is becoming a favourite of mine - she's definitely not likeable, but she's some way away from being a typical 'wicked stepmother' figure. There's also real character development here, and the stunning climax, in which an unexpected character steps up to help Kat try to save the day, brought me close to tears it was so powerful.

Special mention for just how brilliant the writing is; I particularly love the dialogue but Burgis also does an outstanding job of bringing Georgian England to life – I could picture Bath perfectly as I read through this one.

Earth shatteringly amazing, and without doubt a massive recommendation. Book 3 is fixed rather firmly to the top of my 'most anticipated' list!

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