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Kat, apprentie magicienne

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En 1803, les jeunes filles de bonne famille apprennent à faire des révérences. Mais, à 12 ans, Kat est bien trop espiègle pour cela... Afin de protéger sa soeur Elissa d'un mariage arrangé par sa belle-mère avec l'inquiétant Sir Neville, Kat récupère les livres de magie interdits de sa défunte mère. Et joue à l'apprentie sorcière. Ses pouvoirs naissants font des envieux et En 1803, les jeunes filles de bonne famille apprennent à faire des révérences. Mais, à 12 ans, Kat est bien trop espiègle pour cela... Afin de protéger sa soeur Elissa d'un mariage arrangé par sa belle-mère avec l'inquiétant Sir Neville, Kat récupère les livres de magie interdits de sa défunte mère. Et joue à l'apprentie sorcière. Ses pouvoirs naissants font des envieux et la mettent en danger ? Peu importe, Kat sera magicienne, comme sa mère, et sauvera sa soeur. Même si elle doit, au passage, provoquer quelques... catastrophes.


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En 1803, les jeunes filles de bonne famille apprennent à faire des révérences. Mais, à 12 ans, Kat est bien trop espiègle pour cela... Afin de protéger sa soeur Elissa d'un mariage arrangé par sa belle-mère avec l'inquiétant Sir Neville, Kat récupère les livres de magie interdits de sa défunte mère. Et joue à l'apprentie sorcière. Ses pouvoirs naissants font des envieux et En 1803, les jeunes filles de bonne famille apprennent à faire des révérences. Mais, à 12 ans, Kat est bien trop espiègle pour cela... Afin de protéger sa soeur Elissa d'un mariage arrangé par sa belle-mère avec l'inquiétant Sir Neville, Kat récupère les livres de magie interdits de sa défunte mère. Et joue à l'apprentie sorcière. Ses pouvoirs naissants font des envieux et la mettent en danger ? Peu importe, Kat sera magicienne, comme sa mère, et sauvera sa soeur. Même si elle doit, au passage, provoquer quelques... catastrophes.

30 review for Kat, apprentie magicienne

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I’m going to try and keep this review short and sweet*, like our heroine Kat Stephenson. Whenever I read a book set in this era, I always get a bit of an uneasy feeling because I know it’s going to inevitably lead to my most dreaded confession: I don’t like Jane Austen. The first thing you think of when it’s books from this period is her so I feel like, when reading a book set in this time, that I’m gate crashing a party that no one wants me at. But whatever, because I loved this book and I’m glad I’m going to try and keep this review short and sweet*, like our heroine Kat Stephenson. Whenever I read a book set in this era, I always get a bit of an uneasy feeling because I know it’s going to inevitably lead to my most dreaded confession: I don’t like Jane Austen. The first thing you think of when it’s books from this period is her so I feel like, when reading a book set in this time, that I’m gate crashing a party that no one wants me at. But whatever, because I loved this book and I’m glad I went to the party and ate all the cake before all you Austen fans got any. Um…. This book was so charming. It’s the kind of book you should read on a dewy Saturday morning before any one is up with a steaming mug of tea in front of you. Or, well, coffee if you’re that kind of person. I simply adored Kat. She was such a perfect narrator; fun, observant, clever and just a little oblivious to the things going on around her. But it was the sisters and their interactions that stole my heart. I know I’m always chattin’ on about how I wish that YA books focussed on familial relationships, especially those of the sibling variety, but it’s true. It’s such a minefield for love and humour and, on the whole, it’s completely untapped. It took me a while to put my finger on why I loved these sisters so much. Sure they were hilarious, realistic, sassy and their interactions were simply wonderful. But it was something more than that. And then I realised what it was. Basically, the Stephenson sisters are the slightly sassier British cousins of the March sisters. And, even better, they don’t even have an Amy counterpart! I know I’ve just opened a can of worms because all the Amy March fans will come crawling out of the woodwork and pelt me with limes as they cackle over the embers of my burning manuscript. My Amy March rant is almost as long as my Mockingjay rant, and this review is neither the time or place for such a rant but I have to say: I wish Laurie and Jo had carried on skating as Amy floundered in the icy water. Sorry, sore subject. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes! The Stephensons. I loved them. My favourite of the sisters was, naturally, the snarky difficult Angeline because she was… well, snarky and difficult. I am a bit jealous of her because of a certain dashing gentlemen with sideburns. Actually, he might not have sideburns but I’m pretending he does. She was simply brilliant. And I loved how Ms Burgis portrayed Elissa through the cynical and constant-rolling eyes of Kat and Angeline. The part at the end… with the masked man? Pahahaha. It made me think of all the simpering heroines that I (wrongly, before you all SHOUT at me) that I associate with Austen-esque books and the way that Elissa was poked fun at (in a nice way, of course) made me feel like Ms Burgis was giving me a secret wink. Though she probably wasn’t. I also adored the setting. As much as it’s going to pain my Cheshire heart, Yorkshire does provide the best background for books. What with ramshackled abbeys and sprawling moors, the atmosphere was brilliant and perfectly complimented the magic that Ms Burgis weaved through her story. As much as I know and appreciate the readers who love their urban fantasy, I always think that magic is more suited to take place in the middle of the countryside, where secrets dwell in the dark corners of wild forests and dilapidated buildings. “In our house, and in our comfortable little village, despite how hilly it was, you could almost forget we lived in Yorkshire. But the Dales were different. Wild. Dangerous. As massive, craggy hills rose high before us and a rock chasm opened up beside the road.... a hawk soared over our carriage, letting out a high, piercing cry of defiance, and I wanted to jump out of the window and fly with it.” This is what I was imagining. Actually, that picture was taken when I went searching for my other favourite book set in Yorkshire. Can you guess which one? This book was glorious and a wonderful surprise. A really promising start to what looks to be a fantastic and unique serious with a spirited heroine and men with delicious sideburns. Wait, ok… the men might not actually have sideburns, delicious or not. Please don’t just read this book for the sideburns, because you may be disappointed. Please read it because of the story and the characters, because then I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. *Don’t tell her I said that because she’ll boot me in the shins. You can read this review and lots of other exciting things on my blog, Wear the Old Coat.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    A beautiful and bizarre story of magical powers and the value of family reigning supreme, Kat, Incorrigible is a fun, exciting and mysterious story of fantasy and mystery colliding.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ~Tina~

    Cute, cute, cute! Kat, Incorrigible is a charming and delightful read that will amuse any reader looking for a fun book filled with sisterly devotion, scandalous adventure and enchanting magic. I totally agree with other reviews when they said they wished this book was around when they were younger, it would have been one of my favorites as well. It's been a long time since I enjoyed a book like this and even though it's aimed for younger readers it didn't stop me from being absolutely bewitched. Cute, cute, cute! Kat, Incorrigible is a charming and delightful read that will amuse any reader looking for a fun book filled with sisterly devotion, scandalous adventure and enchanting magic. I totally agree with other reviews when they said they wished this book was around when they were younger, it would have been one of my favorites as well. It's been a long time since I enjoyed a book like this and even though it's aimed for younger readers it didn't stop me from being absolutely bewitched. I simply adored every single one of these characters but I have to say that Kat's voice really owned this one. She has the most wonderful zest for life, living in such a proper lady-like society. She's hopeless, troublesome and stubborn and those are the qualities I loved the best. Stephanie Burgis pens this debut like a born classic. She brings a smooth and fierce voice to her historical characters and adds mischief and magic so effortlessly into the plot, making this extremely easy to lose yourself within this time period. Bottom line, I loved this book. It's darling and adorable and truly a treasured debut! I can't wait to see what Burgis will bring in the next book of the series; Renegade Magic. (Arc provided by Simon & Schuster Galley Grab)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    Kat Stephenson, youngest of three sisters in Regency England, is determined to keep her oldest sister from marrying horrible Sir Neville. When her first, failed, attempt leads her to discover a family secret about her long-dead mother, Kat realizes she may be onto a different way to save her sister, and discover some exciting, if not necessarily welcome, possibilities for herself. It also exposes her to just how horrible -- and dangerous -- Sir Neville truly is. Then it's up to Kat to save her s Kat Stephenson, youngest of three sisters in Regency England, is determined to keep her oldest sister from marrying horrible Sir Neville. When her first, failed, attempt leads her to discover a family secret about her long-dead mother, Kat realizes she may be onto a different way to save her sister, and discover some exciting, if not necessarily welcome, possibilities for herself. It also exposes her to just how horrible -- and dangerous -- Sir Neville truly is. Then it's up to Kat to save her sisters, and herself. The UK title for this book is A Most Improper Magick, which is much more accurate and catchy than the US title (IMO). I really enjoyed this. Kat has a great, pragmatic, and very-much 12-or-so voice as she makes her discoveries and faces unexpected twists, turns, and challenges. The tension is constant, the stakes high, and the pacing excellent. All possible outcomes are up in the air until the very last second. I'm not usually an ideal middle-grade book reader, but I'll probably look for the next books in this series. This was just so much fun.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    3.5 STARS "You can't tell a book by its cover" but I was absolutely charmed and captivated by the whole design of this cover, from the adorable illustrations to the elegant-but-quirky handwriting to the shimmery sparkles. I am, as ever, grateful for GoodReads as the numerous positive reviews of this book kept me reading even though I was underwhelmed by the first 1/3 of the book. At age twelve Katherine (Kat) Stephenson is the youngest of three daughters of a country minister, respected enough to 3.5 STARS "You can't tell a book by its cover" but I was absolutely charmed and captivated by the whole design of this cover, from the adorable illustrations to the elegant-but-quirky handwriting to the shimmery sparkles. I am, as ever, grateful for GoodReads as the numerous positive reviews of this book kept me reading even though I was underwhelmed by the first 1/3 of the book. At age twelve Katherine (Kat) Stephenson is the youngest of three daughters of a country minister, respected enough to be invited to some lovely balls and house parties, but not wealthy enough to make a dowry sizable enough to attract the highest eschelon of England's gentlemen. Worst, big brother Charles has run up some terrible gambling debts that are threatening to ruin the family. Lovely and sweet-tempered eldest daughter Elissa is ready to martyr herself for the sake of the family and marry the wealthy but slightly sinister Sir Neville who is, for some unfathomable reason, interested in her (much to the delight of the girls' unpleasant and society-crazed stepmama). Quick-tempered middle daughter Angeline cannot stand by and watch her sister sacrifice herself and decides to find a suitor for herself. And Kat is rather disgusted by all of the love and money talk, only too eager to find adventures of her own. And, oh, did I mention that there is magic in this book? When Kat finds her late mother's magical things (kept carefully locked away by her papa), a magic mirror takes her to an elaborate hall where she meets with two magical Guardians who explain to her more about her mother and her own heritage. Things become more complicated when Kat realizes that Angeline has used a magic spell to capture a young man's attentions so that he will marry her. You see, witches like Angeline can use magic spells but Guardians are much more powerful; Guardians don't much like the witches, and neither type of magic is considered mentionable in "good society." And then there's the rumor of Sir Neville having murdered his previous wife. And there's a house party which Kat is really too young to attend but, thanks to the kindness of the hostess, effectively crashes all the same. Oh, and did I mention there is a highway man lurking about, as well? Magic mingled with Regency England is nothing new (i.e., Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot) but I believe this is the first middle grade offering on the subject and I'm just not quite sure all the ballroom manners and marrying game shenanigans fit for a young audience no matter how engagingly written. For me, the book had a bit of split personality; sometimes, it flowed really beautifully with all the Regency manners and drama, but contrasted to this Kat felt very young, sometimes annoyingly so. (She's one of those precocious children whom it is sometimes fun to read about but would probably be very annoying to meet in real life!) Also, some of the elements of the magical world were never explained enough for me to really understand or appreciate them and some of the dialogue felt a bit too modern. Because of its young heroine, I don't think this book would fit well with the YA group (despite the fact that most of the characters are sixteen to twenty years old or adults) then again I'm not sure that many ten to twelve year olds would be that interested in the Regency hoopla; however, for a select group of readers, this will probably be literary ambrosia! In her afterword the author credits her parents and grandmother for instilling a love of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer at a surprisingly young age, so perhaps she was thinking about a new generation of eager little girls ready to read about refined manners and matters of the heart--with a dash of magic, too. Although the first 1/3 of the book plodded a bit and I had difficulty distinguishing characteristics between Elissa and Angeline or feeling any real attachment to Kat, once the house party began "the plot thickened" and I ended up enjoying the second half immensely. So, 3.5 stars overall. The book is ripe for a sequel and I will probably check it out, hoping for the best.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steph Su

    If A MOST IMPROPER MAGICK had been around when I was in middle school, it would’ve been my favorite book of ALL TIME. As it is, I am over 20 years old, and this is still one of my favorite books I have read in recent history, with an amazing narrator and charm to the likes of which I haven’t seen since I read Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted for the first time in fifth grade (and which still remains one of my favorite books to this day). Kat is undeniably the best part about this book. Unlike If A MOST IMPROPER MAGICK had been around when I was in middle school, it would’ve been my favorite book of ALL TIME. As it is, I am over 20 years old, and this is still one of my favorite books I have read in recent history, with an amazing narrator and charm to the likes of which I haven’t seen since I read Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted for the first time in fifth grade (and which still remains one of my favorite books to this day). Kat is undeniably the best part about this book. Unlike other historical fiction heroines I’ve encountered in the past, Kat’s modern-day stubbornness and rebelliousness feels perfectly natural. She is at that wonderful age when she can resist societal conventions without appearing petulant or immature, and she defies all our expectations, much to our endless delight. She has moments, for example, when she consciously refuses to act like the silly, spineless heroines in her sister’s favorite gothic novels, the similarity to some 21st-century YA lit too good to go ignored. It takes great skill to write a historical character with modern appeal, but Stephanie Burgis does it like she was born to write this. The villains in this book may be rather straightforwardly sinister, but it works for its middle-grade audience, and besides, it’s the “gray” characters—the complex supporting ones—that showcase Stephanie Burgis’ extraordinary talent with creating characters. Kat’s older sisters, Elissa and Angeline, have distinct personalities and are enjoyable in their own way. Throughout A MOST IMPROPER MAGICK, Kat struggles to figure out whom she can entrust her secrets to, and we can empathize with her confusion and suspicion as the adults circling her approach with a variety of motives. A MOST IMPROPER MAGICK charmed me into a place of childish giddiness that I haven’t encountered in too many years. This deceptively easy read is actually rich with character development and possibilities for future books in the series. Without a doubt I would not hesitate to hand this out to every girl I know between the ages of 10 and 14, and I highly recommend you check this delightful book out when it is released, and fall under Kat’s benevolent charms. I can’t wait for more of Kat’s adventures!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    "I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save my family from impending ruin. I made it almost to the end of my front garden." When I read these first lines, I knew Kat Stephenson was going to be a character I liked—a lot. Her story continued to unfold with all sorts of delicious twists and turns, including magic and danger and plenty of dry humor thrown in. The magical element of the story was so much fun to read, as was the sharp dialogue, gorgeous "I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save my family from impending ruin. I made it almost to the end of my front garden." When I read these first lines, I knew Kat Stephenson was going to be a character I liked—a lot. Her story continued to unfold with all sorts of delicious twists and turns, including magic and danger and plenty of dry humor thrown in. The magical element of the story was so much fun to read, as was the sharp dialogue, gorgeous prose, and especially the early 19th-century setting at a grand house party in the English countryside. Stephanie Burgis has perfectly captured the voice of a spunky, 12-year-old girl who discovers the rumors of her late mother's magical abilities are in fact real, and have been passed down to her. And now, with her oldest sister on the brink of being unwillingly betrothed to a man who might have murdered his first wife, Kat must find a way to tap into her magic to save her. I can't wait for the next installment in the Adventures of Kat Stephenson!

  8. 5 out of 5

    TheBookSmugglers

    Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy and set off to save my family from impending ruin. With those charming, devilish words, young Katherine Ann Stephenson (Kat, for short) begins her unladylike adventures, fueled by the best of intentions. Kat doesn't quite accomplish her goal of saving her family on this fated evening (she only gets so far as the garden before her two older sisters sound the alarm and bring her home), bu Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy and set off to save my family from impending ruin. With those charming, devilish words, young Katherine Ann Stephenson (Kat, for short) begins her unladylike adventures, fueled by the best of intentions. Kat doesn't quite accomplish her goal of saving her family on this fated evening (she only gets so far as the garden before her two older sisters sound the alarm and bring her home), but she does by the end of Kat, Incorrigible - rescuing her sisters from their own follies, landing them the loves of their lives, and discovering her own magical talents, besides. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, the Danger: Part the First, the Danger facing Kat and her Sisters Kat is the youngest of four siblings, with a scattered but loving father, and a stern, imposing stepmama. Elissa, the eldest of the girls, is angelically beautiful and the very image of upperclass propriety. Angeline, Kat's elder by 5 years, is also beautiful, but far more devious (and, as slightly older sisters are wont to be, very bossy, especially when it comes to Kat). Then, there's Kat - our determined and stubborn heroine, with a penchant for causing messes and getting into unladylike scrapes. The family is facing danger because of Kat's older brother, Charles, who has been sent down from Oxford on account of his rubbish grades, and has dashed the family's meager fortune with his gambling debts. In order to save the Stephenson prospects, Elissa is to be married to some rich old buffoon - which Kat simply cannot allow. Things take a turn for the worse when Kat, her stepmama and her sisters are invited to a country party, and the man that takes an interest in Elissa has, according to all society's gossip, been implicated in his first wife's untimely death. But there's more - magic and mischief, namely - afoot: Part the Second, or the Problem of Witchcraft and Secret Orders Unlike her older siblings, Kat has no memory of her mother whatsoever. What Kat does know - as does the rest of high society - is that her mother was a witch, who exposed her powers at a very inopportune time. Needless to say, the wife of a clergyman being unmasked as a witch does not do much for the Stephenson reputation in early 19th century British society. Shortly after that debacle, Kat's mother died, leaving a husband and four children in her wake. When Kat's father remarried, any object related to Kat's mama's presence was locked away, and any mention of magic or witchery taboo in the Stephenson home. That is, until Kat discovers that her sister Angeline has stolen their mother's diaries, containing all of her spells. Angeline has been practicing magic with some untoward results (in the form of a love spell gone terribly wrong) - but the worst of it is when Kat learns that there is a distinction between witchcraft and other types of magic. Against all odds, Kat is the lone heir to her mother's legacy as a Guardian and an inductee to this private order of high society magicians. And it is up to Kat to save her sisters, her family, and the day. Which finally leads me to: Part the Third, or My Opinion Regarding the Incorrigible Kat If you couldn't tell, I absolutely loved Kat, Incorrigible. From the brashness of heroine Kat, to the relationship with her older sisters and stepmother, to the magic and overall story, I loved this book. Of course, the success of Kat, Incorrigible rests entirely on the fortitude of young Kat's shoulders; a burden that the feisty Kat bears brilliantly. Kat's narration is by turns hilarious and insightful, and she has quickly become my favorite middle grade heroine of recent memory. I love that it is Kat, and not her older sisters, that saves the day and inherits the magical abilities of her mother; more than that, I love that the relationship between Kat and her sisters feels wholly genuine. There's love there, but there's also a copious amount of exasperation - for example, Kat is frequently frustrated with Elissa's penchant for gothic novels and her apparent dedication to becoming a proper Tragic Gothic Heroine. Too, Kat bickers constantly with Angeline - who cannot possibly believe that Kat is the inheritess of any magical ability - and more often than not, Kat believably finds herself on the losing end of wars of words with her sisters and stepmother. Ultimately, though, there is love and grudging respect at the root of all Kat's familial relationships. Even with her blustering stepmama (whom I hope to see much more of in the second book)! Regarding the actual story, proper, with its magical mysteries and dramatic turns of event (including the involvement of a Highwayman, a new mentor, and nasty high society folk), Kat, Incorrigible also shines. While there is little groundbreaking in this novel, the cast of characters and Stephanie Burgis' skillful storytelling more than compensate for a familiar setting and magic system. Plus, there are plenty of twists and ridiculous situations along the way to keep even the most jaded reader thoroughly entertained. On one final note, I cannot finish this review without one final observation. While reading Kat, Incorrigible, I kept thinking that in today's market, it seems many authors would have chosen to write the story from the perspective of one of the older sisters (which would then come with a romantic storyline, and so on and so forth) - personally, I love that this is a MG novel told from an intrepid 12 year old's perspective, who has little interest in the silly dalliances of her older sisters. Of course, your mileage may vary - but for me, Kat takes the Victorian Magic thing to a new level of awesome. Absolutely, wholeheartedly recommended - I cannot wait to dive into book 2, and embark on the next adventure with incorrigible heroine Kat.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Intisar Khanani

    A lovely read, absolutely hilarious in some respects (oh, the absurdity of the self-sacrificing gothic heroine!), with more than a few unexpected twists, and both serious danger and sisterly drama.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    3.5 stars. Kind of cute take on Regency behaviours with witches. Kat is incorrigible, being not interested in conforming to her not evil but definitely not supportive or kind stepmother's wishes for propriety, as well as her class' restrictions. Kat's mother was a witch, and she and one of her two sisters definitely seem to have a bent for magic. Throw in an elder sister having to make an eligible match to save the family's name and fortune, and you have a (very) lite take on an Austenesque dram 3.5 stars. Kind of cute take on Regency behaviours with witches. Kat is incorrigible, being not interested in conforming to her not evil but definitely not supportive or kind stepmother's wishes for propriety, as well as her class' restrictions. Kat's mother was a witch, and she and one of her two sisters definitely seem to have a bent for magic. Throw in an elder sister having to make an eligible match to save the family's name and fortune, and you have a (very) lite take on an Austenesque drama. With magic and silly suitors thrown in. Kat has plenty of verve, pluck and determination, and does her best to get what she wants while also trying to help her family. Should be interesting to see where Kat and her elder middle sister get up to next book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gail Carriger

    Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis was entirely new to me and I quite enjoyed it. I can't remember how this book came on my radar originally (I really should start keeping track of that kind of thing). It's mid grade but with the sophisticated edge one might expect from a Regency setting. It was not as light nor as comedic as I felt the cover and blurb suggested. It was quite fun (almost silly) at the begging but became more serious as the book progressed. I'm not certain if this shift in ton Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis was entirely new to me and I quite enjoyed it. I can't remember how this book came on my radar originally (I really should start keeping track of that kind of thing). It's mid grade but with the sophisticated edge one might expect from a Regency setting. It was not as light nor as comedic as I felt the cover and blurb suggested. It was quite fun (almost silly) at the begging but became more serious as the book progressed. I'm not certain if this shift in tone was intentional or not. At the beginning, for example, Kat cuts her hair and this action is used as a way to introduce her family... “Quite,” Stepmama said. “That is exactly my point. Aren’t you going to ask her how she could do such a thing without even asking your permission?” Papa said tentatively, “Did you ask my permission, Kat?” But once magic becomes heavily involved in the story things change rapidly. And charming bits, like the living teacups, are abruptly eliminated. I did find this a little jarring. That said, I adored Kat's character throughout. She is tough and spunky while staying entirely true to her age. Or so it felt to me, it's been a long time since I was 10. “I told you,” I panted. “Do not insult my mother!” I slammed my fist into her nose just as Charles had taught me in his boxing lessons. It made a horrible crunching noise, and it hurt my hand. Her internal dialogue felt particularly 10-year-old-youngest girl. I loved her observations on society in particular. She reminded me a little of the youngest sister, Margaret Dashwood, as portrayed in Emma Thompson's adaptation of Sense & Sensibility. "I couldn’t take my eyes off them. They were just like birds, but person-shaped." I also particularly enjoyed Kat's relationship with her two older sisters. It was as troubled and as loving as one might expect of three sisters with very distinct personalities. This is complicated by the fact that each has a very different memory of (and perspective on) their dead mother. Not to mention access to her magical gifts. Again, having no siblings of my own, I can't speak to the truth of the portrayal but it felt authentic. "Angeline took Elissa’s hand and squeezed it, and Elissa rested her head on Angeline’s shoulder. I stared at them both from my corner of the carriage and felt hot prickling behind my eyes. “Oh, Lord,” Angeline said. She sighed and reached across the piled boxes to take my hand, too." In the end, I found Kat, Incorrigible a quick and pleasing read. I was never jarred or chucked out of the story by a missed edit or a flawed word choice. Kat's voice remained consistent throughout and I gobbled her shenanigans up in the space of one lazy afternoon. I did feel that the magical system was underdeveloped. But I understand from other reviewers that this is improved upon in the second volume. Just FYI there is also a free Kat short story. I will certainly nip back into Kat's world at some point. I would specifically recommend Kat, Incorrigible to mothers with kids around Kat's age (or younger if they are advanced readers). I would have loved it at about age 8 or so.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nafiza

    In the tradition of the strong heroines starring in some of my favourite series such as Julia Golding’s Cat Royal and L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack, Kat Stephenson bursts into the literary world with a lot of spunk and an irrepressible curiousity. The first installment, in what is sure to become a moved loved series for me, contains all the elements necessary to make an entertaining story into a novel one. The novel presents the Stephenson family which contains three sisters, one brother, one stepm In the tradition of the strong heroines starring in some of my favourite series such as Julia Golding’s Cat Royal and L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack, Kat Stephenson bursts into the literary world with a lot of spunk and an irrepressible curiousity. The first installment, in what is sure to become a moved loved series for me, contains all the elements necessary to make an entertaining story into a novel one. The novel presents the Stephenson family which contains three sisters, one brother, one stepmother and a father who is, more often than not, seen and not heard. The main character’s tone is irreverent, irrepressible and entirely engaging. I have to commend Ms. Burgis on her character creation and development as in Kat Incorrigible, all characters (minor and major) are developed so well that you can believe they did (or do) exist somewhere in the world. Their foibles, their good points and the bad ones – they become more than characters on a page and transcend mediums to bloom into full existence in your mind. It’s a fantastic journey. Kat is undeniably my favourite character though Angeline is not far behind. The things she does and the stuff she says – precocious – but oh so entertaining. She’s twelve in this novel but I don’t think you need to be concerned that her “voice” such as it is will be immature enough to deter older readers. If anything, her youth only makes her perspectives and reactions fresher. Her reactions are actually surprising and keep the reader on her toes, guessing what Kat will do next. It also lets the reader glimpse how a child must comprehend the workings of an adult’s mind – and their motivations. What adults regard as complex, the younger person may take as inherently simple. The plot is compelling – and as I said before, has everything necessary to make it wildly entertaining. The book does engage a person into a discourse about “family” and its meanings, if some kind of intellectual engagement is necessary for you. For a deeper analysis, we could talk about the role of “magic” vs. the role of religion and whether these two really are, as suggested in the novel, two twains that shall never meet. But if you don’t need that deeper analysis, read it for the simple pleasure of Kat and her fun sisters. For the dialogue and the villains and the eccentricity that fairly leaps off the pages, grabs you and jumps back into the pages of the book. Yes, it truly is that great.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    Closer to 3.5 stars, except I enjoyed the conceit and I really like Regency era fiction, so it gets the boost. It's an engaging story and promises more of the same in future books in the series. Kat is particularly intriguing; I like how she is by turns naïve and wise, occasionally wiser than the adults around her, but never in an annoying way. I could see in her the kind of adult she will end up being and how she'd get to be that person. But even though I loved the characters, there was somethin Closer to 3.5 stars, except I enjoyed the conceit and I really like Regency era fiction, so it gets the boost. It's an engaging story and promises more of the same in future books in the series. Kat is particularly intriguing; I like how she is by turns naïve and wise, occasionally wiser than the adults around her, but never in an annoying way. I could see in her the kind of adult she will end up being and how she'd get to be that person. But even though I loved the characters, there was something about the book that didn't quite fit. To me, this read as a YA novel trying desperately to fit into the mold of a middle grade fantasy. Kat's twelve, so fits the age for MG just right, and the way the story is written sounds like MG, but the background material is too rich; it overflows the plot at times, particularly in terms of the adult problems that make up the secondary plot(s). My preference for MG fiction is the same as what I want out of YA fiction: the age of the protagonist as a determiner for what category a book falls into is less important than the issues the characters face. Kat, Incorrigible falls into the same inbetween state as Hilary McKay's Casson Family books (particularly Permanent Rose) where the writing and the plot are deep enough for older readers not to bounce off, but the books are shelved in the MG section of the library. I'm definitely interested enough to read the next book in the series, but I can't help feeling that Burgis missed a tremendous opportunity by not aiming this at the YA market, where readers are more likely to appreciate the Regency setting and the various romances that spring up throughout the book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Angelc

    I remember wanting to read this one under it's original title "A Most Improper Magick." As a huge fan of historical romance, I thought it was great fun to see the Regency Era with it's ballrooms, carriages, and adorable suitors, from the eyes of a twelve year old. There was a slight Cinderella slant to the story, with Kat's at times annoying two sisters, and her almost evil stepmama. I think this element will greatly appeal to younger girls. Sometimes the magical element seemed a little overdone I remember wanting to read this one under it's original title "A Most Improper Magick." As a huge fan of historical romance, I thought it was great fun to see the Regency Era with it's ballrooms, carriages, and adorable suitors, from the eyes of a twelve year old. There was a slight Cinderella slant to the story, with Kat's at times annoying two sisters, and her almost evil stepmama. I think this element will greatly appeal to younger girls. Sometimes the magical element seemed a little overdone and slightly confusing, but I liked the general idea of Kat having magical powers. The two boys who Kat encourages to court her sisters are just too adorable for words. Mr. Carlyle was especially cute as a love potion victim. And Kat's exasperation with Mr. Collingswood's various shortcomings was quite entertaining. Kat was a super heroine and she had so much self-confidence! She was so confident and sure of herself that it was a little funny sometimes, but still, I think this is a fantastic trait to nurture in girls that age. Kat knows what she wants and she doesn't even think twice before going after it. The door is wide open for a sequel, I can't imagine what Kat will be up to next! This is a fun historical romp that is perfect for middle grade girls and I think older fans of Regency book will get a kick out of Kat's story too. ARC sent by publisher in exchange for honest review reviewed for http://inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    I read this book in early manuscript format and couldn't put it down. It's a wonderful, adventure-filled romp steeped in magic, romance, rich family relationships, and a young heroine who never gives up, no matter what. For fans of Jane Austen who've always wanted the women to be more adventurous and take-charge, you will love these books!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    If The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place was my favorite Middle School read from 2016, and Plain Kate was my favorite from 2015, this very well might be my favorite Middle School read for 2017. (Of course, I say might because it is still too early to tell. We're only 24 days into the year.) Kat was a likable, spunky heroine and I loved her relationship with her sisters. The whole book kept me guessing with its twists and turns. I liked the different levels of magic. Kat can be a bit of a If The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place was my favorite Middle School read from 2016, and Plain Kate was my favorite from 2015, this very well might be my favorite Middle School read for 2017. (Of course, I say might because it is still too early to tell. We're only 24 days into the year.) Kat was a likable, spunky heroine and I loved her relationship with her sisters. The whole book kept me guessing with its twists and turns. I liked the different levels of magic. Kat can be a bit of a brat, but it usually works out in the end and I never disliked her character. I just rolled my eyes at how she treated adults! A wonderful, creative, magical adventure set in Regency times. Oh! And this might have one of my favorite introductions ever: “I was twelve years of age when I chopped of my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save my family from ruin. I made it almost to the end of my front garden.”

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    A Most Improper Magick is incredibly charming. It's set during the Regency - and accurately so. It features magic and secret orders and a sassy heroine with one sister who is a would-be-witch and another who is dying to be a heroine from the gothic novels she reads. There's a clergyman father and a wicked stepmother who comes through in the end. There are highwaymen and adventures and giggles aplenty. It's such a treat that although I usually save my five star ratings for books that changed my l A Most Improper Magick is incredibly charming. It's set during the Regency - and accurately so. It features magic and secret orders and a sassy heroine with one sister who is a would-be-witch and another who is dying to be a heroine from the gothic novels she reads. There's a clergyman father and a wicked stepmother who comes through in the end. There are highwaymen and adventures and giggles aplenty. It's such a treat that although I usually save my five star ratings for books that changed my life or blew my mind, I couldn't, in all conscience, give it less.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Koehler

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. For reasons of my own, I’ve been reading a lot of Regency period romances. So when I saw Kat, Incorrigible a children’s novel set in 1803 England, I snapped it up. (Note: it was published in Britain as A Most Improper Magick). The plot borrows heavily (and amusingly) from tropes common in both Jane Austen’s work and Georgette Heyer’s romances...with a dollop of Harry Potter. Katherine Ann Stephenson (or Kat) is the youngest child of a sweet but clueless clergyman. Her mother died giving birth to For reasons of my own, I’ve been reading a lot of Regency period romances. So when I saw Kat, Incorrigible a children’s novel set in 1803 England, I snapped it up. (Note: it was published in Britain as A Most Improper Magick). The plot borrows heavily (and amusingly) from tropes common in both Jane Austen’s work and Georgette Heyer’s romances...with a dollop of Harry Potter. Katherine Ann Stephenson (or Kat) is the youngest child of a sweet but clueless clergyman. Her mother died giving birth to Kat, so she has been raised by her older sisters, and now by her stepmama, who is VERY proper, and who hates the idea of magic. Magic? Why, yes. Burgis has created an alternate England where a few people have magical talents. Kat’s mother was one of those people, and Kat knows that magic use is a scandal and a crime. Nevertheless, when financial circumstances force her older sister Elissa to consider marrying Sir Neville, a creepy older man (who may have murdered his first wife), Kat uses her occult talents to try to stop the engagement. Most of the action takes place during a month-long house party at (wait for it...) Grantham Abbey. Which is totally not like Downton Abbey at all. Nope! In any case, the story moves incredibly quickly, throwing Kat from one awkward situation into another with no breath in between. Some situations are awkward socially, some are awkward magically, and some are awkward romantically. The plot is composed almost entirely of twists, making it hard to summarize, but it all works out in the end. I went into this expecting a lighthearted, Regency era girl-meets-world romp with nods to Austen. The American-edition cover art certainly suggests that, with its sweet, cartoony figures and cute image of spellcasting (loopy tea pouring and flying biscuits and sparkles!). However, the story is really not that light hearted. True, there are some comic scenes, and a few silly characters. But Kat’s world is actually pretty dark. First, she is frequently belittled by her family (since she’s young and tomboyish). Then she discovers her magical abilities, but she can’t share her secret with anyone she trusts. Additionally, she vicariously experiences the nasty side of historic courtship practices, in which women were essentially commodities who negotiated their own sale to the highest bidder. To top it off, she must deal with the fact that someone seems to be after her to get her mother’s magic. I was troubled by how isolated Kat becomes throughout the book. The plot demands that virtually every character she should be able to trust (i.e. her family) is either useless, or angry at her for other reasons, thus forcing her to act alone and without guidance. Further, the characters who do know about her magical abilities are downright awful, demanding sacrifices of Kat while telling her virtually nothing of magic or the society of magic users until it’s almost too late. (What, did everybody in this book belong to Slytherin? Jeez.) The book claims to be for ages 10 and up, but I’d be careful letting a 10-year-old read this, if only because the story seems more relevant to a slightly older reader, and because some the elements are fairly nuanced (such as the way Regency society functions). I’m genuinely conflicted about whether or not to recommend this book. For the most part, it’s well written, and Kat is an interesting, likable character. While it’s not exactly a mirror to the past, it never claims to be...some elements seem like legit Regency details of life and society...and then Kat punches a woman in the face, jumps onto a highwayman’s horse, and uses magic to save the day. However, it should be more fun than it was, and I really didn’t feel like it targeted the right age group. And as a reader, I kept getting angry at a number of characters for being selfish, untrustworthy jerks for no other reason than to give Kat even more conflicts to resolve before she got to the boss fight. In fact, one of my main problems with the book is how contrived much of the conflict is, forcing Kat into a corner over and over again. Yes, it drives the plot, but it made for a frustrating and uncomfortable read for me personally. But maybe others wouldn’t get that impression (and the book is the first in a series, so clearly it sold well enough to get that support). In the end, I’d file this under “meh.” It’s not bad, but there are better options...including actual classics such as the books by Mary Hodgson Burnett.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Claire Legrand

    Gosh, what a delightful book! Think Jane Austen through the eyes of a feisty 12-year-old girl -- and then add magic! This delicious middle grade fantasy tells the story of Kat Stephenson, who discovers that she has inherited her late mother's powerful magical talents. Suddenly, several people of questionable intentions are after her, and to make matters worse, her beloved eldest sister Elissa is being bullied into marriage with the sinister Sir Neville, to save the family's reputation and livelih Gosh, what a delightful book! Think Jane Austen through the eyes of a feisty 12-year-old girl -- and then add magic! This delicious middle grade fantasy tells the story of Kat Stephenson, who discovers that she has inherited her late mother's powerful magical talents. Suddenly, several people of questionable intentions are after her, and to make matters worse, her beloved eldest sister Elissa is being bullied into marriage with the sinister Sir Neville, to save the family's reputation and livelihood. This is somehow, despite its Regency-era setting, a wild romp of an adventure, with characters so vivid and endearing that reading about them is like coming home. Kat is a smart, inimitable heroine who frequently made me smile, and the relationship with her sisters is particularly well-done and reminded me of some of Austen's own masterful portraits of sisterhood. I especially loved Kat's relationship with Angeline; the tenderness, affection, arguments -- and maybe a smidge of competition? -- between them felt completely real. The magical world Burgis explores is so interesting, and I can't wait to read more about it! Guardians and witches, bad witches and good witches, bad Guardians and good Guardians -- everything is finely nuanced, nothing is totally black and white, and I'm intrigued to see how far into London high Society these different magical practices go! A fantastic, smartly written debut from which I was sad to part at the last page. Can't WAIT for the sequel!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elevetha

    So freaking cute! Love love it. Just read it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Original Post at One More Page Truth be told, I picked up Kat, Incorrigible from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab not because of the blurb but because I thought the cover was utterly charming. The girl's mischievous smile is enough to make me curious about this book, so I picked it up from the selection, excited to know what really made Kat incorrigible. Katherine is the youngest Stephenson family, and she's also the least ladylike of all the Stephenson sisters, much to the despair of her step Original Post at One More Page Truth be told, I picked up Kat, Incorrigible from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab not because of the blurb but because I thought the cover was utterly charming. The girl's mischievous smile is enough to make me curious about this book, so I picked it up from the selection, excited to know what really made Kat incorrigible. Katherine is the youngest Stephenson family, and she's also the least ladylike of all the Stephenson sisters, much to the despair of her stepmother. Her biological mother passed away shortly after Kat was born, and she has never agreed with what her stepmother wanted for her, which earns her not only her lectures but also her sisters, Elissa and Angeline. When Kat hears that Elissa is set to marry the horrible sounding Mr. Neville, she cuts her hair short and plans to run away to save her sister, but not before she gets caught. She thought it was kind of strange that her sister Angeline would practice witchcraft from their mother's magic books, but she was in for a surprise when she finds out that she is her mother's successor as a Guardian in the Order, with magic more powerful than her sister, if harnessed and trained properly. I'm the youngest in the family, but seeing that there's only two of us, there isn't much mischief I could get into. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not really a kid full of mischief -- I'm really the nicer kid at home. Okay, I'm not the most proper kid and God knows how many times my mom and I argued about the mess of my room, but I'd like to think I'm a pretty good kid. Now, Kat is far more mischievous than I was obviously, and even if she had the best intentions, it doesn't always guarantee that things will go smoothly or as planned. Kat is such a fun heroine that I keep on forgetting that this novel is partly historical. She reminds me of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, with a hint of magic. Kat's voice is clear and easy to relate with despite her age. Kat really and truly loved her family, and that's a characteristic that would make anyone love her too. Kat's sisters are a hoot, too, and I liked how even if they were supposed to be "proper ladies", they were still funny and quirky in their own way. I especially liked how Elissa started acting out like the heroines in her gothic novels and how Angeline and Kat made fun of her because of that. I never had sisters, so I can only read about these relationships, but I think the author totally nailed their sisterhood. The plot is fun and adventurous, and like the characters, it made me forget that this is partly historical. It wasn't as gripping as I'd thought it would be, but that doesn't mean the plot is bad or boring. It's quite the opposite, really -- although sometimes it may seem a little bit too outrageous already. Despite its magical elements, I liked how there is more stress on family and love prevailing over evil forces than just plain magic. This gives the story a bit more depth and it definitely made the ending so much more satisfying. I think this is a very good start to a series, and it's a fun read for kids the same age as Kat, or people who sometimes wish to be kids again, like me. :) Kat, Incorrigible was also published as A Most Improper Magick by Templar Publishing last August 2010. This edition will be out April 5, 2011 under Atheneum. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the e-galley!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    The first thing about this book that grabbed my attention is the title — how can I not be intrigued by a novel with my name in the title? The colorful, whimsical book jacket depicting a mischievous-looking girl holding a book and magically pouring a cuppa tea...also another selling point. But when I read several reviews that said this book is a good read for fans of Jane Austen and Harry Potter — well, that was the icing on the cake. I knew I had to read this book. I downloaded the sample on my The first thing about this book that grabbed my attention is the title — how can I not be intrigued by a novel with my name in the title? The colorful, whimsical book jacket depicting a mischievous-looking girl holding a book and magically pouring a cuppa tea...also another selling point. But when I read several reviews that said this book is a good read for fans of Jane Austen and Harry Potter — well, that was the icing on the cake. I knew I had to read this book. I downloaded the sample on my Nook, and that first chapter had me hooked. I soon purchased the book so I could start reading this right away. At twelve years old, Katherine Ann Stephenson is the youngest in her family. She lives in a vicarage with her siblings Elissa, Charles, and Angeline, her father and stepmother. Since her mother died when she was born, Kat's only connection to her is through her belongings, which her stepmother has locked up. When Kat decides to go snooping — because what tween girl isn't a little curious? — she stumbles upon something magical belonging to her mother. What ensues after this discovery is a nonstop adventure for Kat. And while she's discovering her magical abilities, Kat also has to step in to prevent her oldest sister from marrying an older, rich man for whom she feels no affection. Often times I'll read a book that I enjoy, but that has a few things I would change about it. Not so with Kat, Incorrigible. I love how the characters are introduced without sounding like an introduction. Just by describing their actions and giving them unique voices (some with rather witty remarks), Stephanie Burgis allows the reader to get to know her characters quickly. And what fun characters they are. The book is also paced just right. There's never a dull moment. Each chapter ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, so you're constantly wanting to continue reading to find out what happens next. Kat, Incorrigible is a terrific read for girls in the tween range, but also for grown-ups like me who love the romance and manners of a Jane Austen novel, with the added bonus of Harry Potter mischief and magic.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I loved this book. Let me count the ways. The humor. I laughed out loud many, many times while reading this book. The narrator is a twelve-year-old girl, I do not read very many narrators this young, but I loved Kat, her humor (used against others) and her unintended humor (when she gets in a pickle through her own clumsy earnestness). The sisters. Kat is the youngest of three girls. The dynamic between the three is SPOT ON to how sisters work. They may fight and bicker, but you can tell they ca I loved this book. Let me count the ways. The humor. I laughed out loud many, many times while reading this book. The narrator is a twelve-year-old girl, I do not read very many narrators this young, but I loved Kat, her humor (used against others) and her unintended humor (when she gets in a pickle through her own clumsy earnestness). The sisters. Kat is the youngest of three girls. The dynamic between the three is SPOT ON to how sisters work. They may fight and bicker, but you can tell they care about each other and when they team up they are a fearsome force to be reckoned with. I also recognized myself and my two older sisters occasionally. I especially loved Angeline, which leads me to… The romance. Or rather, the fact that the romances in this book were NOT your typical fictional romance. One of them totally mocked the classic gothic romance (which, imo, is echoed in today’s paranormal romances), and two of the others subverted the love potion romance in different ways. There was a lot of mocking, in general, of staples in the romantic genre. The plot. It was fairly straightforward, and Kat attempts to deal with it in a straightforward manner, but her goals get complicated quickly through various trip-ups that made it suspenseful and/or humorous at different times. The magic. The magic, too, was a pretty simple system, except that each character used it in completely different ways and manners. For example, Kat’s magic is very focused on canceling other spells, another character’s magic appears to be used mostly for beauty spells, and another character’s magic always smells of flowers. I liked how the magic a character used showed us something about that character. Kat, Incorrigible is a short and sweet read with humor, magic, and Regency England bonus points. It’s Middle Grade, which as I mentioned above I do not read very often, but I liked it anyway because it is JUST THAT AWESOME. Thank you, good night. 5/5 stars.

  24. 4 out of 5

    colleen the convivial curmudgeon

    Fun and quick fantasy Regency book, with a 12-year-old spunky heroine. I liked the story and think it definitely shows promise for the trilogy, but something about it just didn't have the sparkle that I had been hoping for. For one, it was one of those books where no one seemed to ever talk to or listen to anyone else. Everyone had their secrets, and that's one thing, but then everyone seemed to think they knew what was going on, or what was best for everyone else, and I don't think there was one Fun and quick fantasy Regency book, with a 12-year-old spunky heroine. I liked the story and think it definitely shows promise for the trilogy, but something about it just didn't have the sparkle that I had been hoping for. For one, it was one of those books where no one seemed to ever talk to or listen to anyone else. Everyone had their secrets, and that's one thing, but then everyone seemed to think they knew what was going on, or what was best for everyone else, and I don't think there was one actual conversation throughout the whole book until the end. I mean, there was dialogue in which people were blaming each other, or reprimanding each other, or whatever, but no actual conversations. And all of the characters were rather caricatures, though some did gain some depth as the story went along. A little bit, anyway. I did, generally, like Kat and the way we see Society through her young and ever-so-improper eyes, and the story was fun, if just a touch too over-the-top silly in places. I will continue the series, though, because there seems to be a lot of potential if some of the kinks can be worked out and a bit more depth and detail added to the world. I presume we'll learn more about the Guardians and magical systems in the next book, so I look forward to that, too.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karen Healey

    A fantastic romp sparkling with wit and hilariously told by the excellent and most improper Kat. This is one of my all-time favourite upcoming YA books, for its charm, its verve, and its wonderful Regency setting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Kat is 12 years old and the youngest of her family. Her mother died shortly after giving birth to her, and so she was raised by her older sisters and a repressive stepmother. After her brother's gambling puts the family deep in debt, Kat's oldest sister promises to marry the very rich (but also much older and strangely, subtly malevolent) Sir Neville. The family troops off to a house party to make the match happen...but Kat's magical powers complicate the situation. Kat is a wonderful, courageous Kat is 12 years old and the youngest of her family. Her mother died shortly after giving birth to her, and so she was raised by her older sisters and a repressive stepmother. After her brother's gambling puts the family deep in debt, Kat's oldest sister promises to marry the very rich (but also much older and strangely, subtly malevolent) Sir Neville. The family troops off to a house party to make the match happen...but Kat's magical powers complicate the situation. Kat is a wonderful, courageous rapscallion, and her world (a Regency England in which magic is known but not particularly respectable) is great fun. But probably my favorite part of this book is the complex but heartfelt relationships between Kat and her siblings.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maša

    A delightful book about a family in Regency England where magic is known, and three sisters have to deal with some BAD marriage prospects. Any similarity to Jane Austen's works ends here, thankfully - as her books are definitely not my cup of tea. The plot is pretty straightforward (a dangerous suitor, discovering magic in oneself), but the characters are what made this book for me. Kat is 12 years old and the youngest of the family, but that doesn't mean she can't do everything in her power to A delightful book about a family in Regency England where magic is known, and three sisters have to deal with some BAD marriage prospects. Any similarity to Jane Austen's works ends here, thankfully - as her books are definitely not my cup of tea. The plot is pretty straightforward (a dangerous suitor, discovering magic in oneself), but the characters are what made this book for me. Kat is 12 years old and the youngest of the family, but that doesn't mean she can't do everything in her power to make her will known. She is headstrong, resourceful, impulsive, and witty. Her sisters are well-rounded characters as well, and I enjoyed reading about their relationship.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Early nineteenth-century child and teen novels written with an equal influence of Jane Austen and Diana Wynne Jones are nothing new. Indeed they've been around for quite some time. They're your Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer and the like. High manners plus magic equals an unbeatable combination in the eyes of many a reviewer (the jury is still out as to whether kids could care less). Into the fray leaps Kat, Incorrigible, known as A Most Improper Magick over in Engl Early nineteenth-century child and teen novels written with an equal influence of Jane Austen and Diana Wynne Jones are nothing new. Indeed they've been around for quite some time. They're your Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer and the like. High manners plus magic equals an unbeatable combination in the eyes of many a reviewer (the jury is still out as to whether kids could care less). Into the fray leaps Kat, Incorrigible, known as A Most Improper Magick over in England. It had every appearance of being one of those middle grade novels that I read and desperately hope to like only to be crushingly disappointed by the end. I've been burned once too often, you see. Yet to my infinite surprise (not to say relief) I found this book charming! The characters are relatable, the magic used only when it serves the plot, the twists unexpected, and the ending infinitely satisfying. Top notch! And she would have got away with it too, if it hadn't been for those pesky sisters! Katherine Ann Stephenson (Kat) was wholly prepared to disguise herself as a boy and escape to London in order to save her eldest sister from having to marry that wretched Sir Neville, thereby keeping the family from financial ruin. Unfortunately, Kat doesn't get five feet before her two older sisters figure out what she's up to and put a stop to it. The year is 1803 and Kat's mother (now long since dead) was once a witch. Thinking on her feet, Kat decides that the next best way to save Elissa is to locate her mother's magic books and find something useful in them. This plan doesn't entirely work either, though, since (A) Angeline got to them first and has been experimenting and (B) it turns out that Kat has a very different, very powerful kind of magic of her own that has nothing to do with witchcraft. Now the whole family has been invited to a nearby estate, and Kat has only a little time to outwit various adults, save her sisters, make everything right, and defeat the only villain who has ever made her feel truly powerless. Part of why the story works as well as it does is that Burgis doesn't go about creating some kind of wholly alternate world. In Kat's universe magic exists but it is definitely NOT approved of by those in good society. After learning that fact I kind of hoped that Burgis would take this to the obvious next step and make it clear that witchcraft was the realm of servants and the poor, which would add an interesting class element to the proceedings. She doesn't go that way, which is fine, but does mention the limited lot of ladies, which is a usual gripe in books set in this time period. Kat, ironically, has far more freedom than her older sisters all thanks to not hitting puberty yet. So if she wants to disguise herself as a boy or a highwayman, she can do so with relatively little fuss and bother. It may serve to upset her older siblings, but then most of the things Kat does upsets them anyway. The manner in which Burgis sustains the familial relationships in this book is part of the reason I liked it as much as I did. For a while there at the beginning you're certain that Kat lives a Cinderella-like life with two wretched older sisters and a wicked stepmother to boot. Not so. Though they are prone to taking her to task, Kat's sisters are infinitely admirable. Just because someone is prissy or domineering, that doesn't mean they can't still care for you. They love her, she loves them, and they can all agree that their stepmother is a bit of a harpy. Yet even SHE is able to show a human side when all the events have played themselves out by the story's end! It's interesting that we never meet Kat's ne'er do well older brother Charles in this book. Confined to his room for bad behavior, the most you ever get out of him is a bellow at the beginning of the tale and then that's that. But if any of you are ever looking for a fun writing assignment, by the way, consider rewriting this book entirely from Angeline or Elissa's point of view. I bet it could be done! Will kids dig it? Boy I wish I could guarantee that. There's something charming about it at a first glance, after all. The cover is enticing, and the description full of words like "romantic havoc", "witchcraft", "fiancé", and "heroism". There is a certain subset of romantic tween gal who has outgrown the princess genre but still longs for something similar. For them, this book fills that hard-to-define little need they may not even know they have. I think it is appealing to a certain kind of child. Some fantasy fans may find it too grounded in history to really get into it, while historical fiction fans could dislike what little magic there is. Yet for some, it's just the right balance for the time period. Funny and strange, it's bound to find some fans in the 9-12 range. I've seen books similar to it before, but nothing reads quite like this clever little debut. Good stuff. For ages 9-12.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I will start by saying that this book makes me want to say things like ' spiffing' and 'jolly good show old chap' but hey that's just me [ : D ] Set in Regency England and to give Stephanie Burgis credit she really does bring it to life with her vivid descriptive writing style. Written in first person narrative from Kat's perspective. Kat, Katherine Stephenson, at 12, is the youngest member of her family; consisting of 2 older sisters, an older brother, the requisite 'wicked' stepmother and her do I will start by saying that this book makes me want to say things like ' spiffing' and 'jolly good show old chap' but hey that's just me [ : D ] Set in Regency England and to give Stephanie Burgis credit she really does bring it to life with her vivid descriptive writing style. Written in first person narrative from Kat's perspective. Kat, Katherine Stephenson, at 12, is the youngest member of her family; consisting of 2 older sisters, an older brother, the requisite 'wicked' stepmother and her downtrodden clergy father. I did have trouble reconciling Kat's age with the image I had of her in my head, in some ways she appears older yet some of her actions show how young she really is. She is feisty, impetuous and doesn't consider how her actions will affect others until it is too late. So roughly your typical tween then. Yet the underlying thing about Kat all the way through the book is how much she loves her family, above all else. There is absolutely nothing she wouldn't do for them for them even if her actions sometimes contradict this statement. For me there was definitely an element of Pride and Prejudice to the story. Also if you have seen the movie Becoming Jane then you can possibly understand why I keep picturing Kat as a young Jane Austen with magical abilities. Whereas the rest of the family certainly bring to mind the myriad of characters depicted withing Austen's novels, therefore what I am trying to say is that Stephanie Burgis has captured and portrayed the era perfectly. The social and economical status and the emphasis that society places on such things is delivered eloquently within the narrative. The constraints placed upon women in particular and the need to marry well in order to secure a brighter future for all members of the family must have been a real burden for any young woman to bear especially the oldest daughter. Stephanie Burgis does a marvellous job of bringing the sensibilities of Regency England to technicolour life. The family history and their skeletons in the cupboard, if you will, are skillfully crafted into the story. There are peaks and troughs of action interspersed with world and character building, making for a steady pace throughout the book. there are even some real laugh out loud moments that I would not have expected. For me, I cannot categorize this book at all, it just doesn't fit neatly into a box. I will have to try the speed dating technique in the library to find my target readership: A vivid historical novel bringing Regency England to glorious life within the imagination. A feisty, impetuous yet loyal and loving heroine. Throw in the type of magic you dream of being able to do and you have a book that defies categorization. How is that for a summary.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Merrie Haskell

    Full disclosure: I know Stephanie. I've known her online for a while, met her in person once, and we're both Michigan girls. The difference is, I was moved away from Michigan during my childhood and came back--and I married another Michigander--and she left Michigan and married a guy from BRITAIN. And lives there now. Not that I don't adore my husband, but that used to be my childhood fantasy! So, maybe, since she's living my childhood dream and we're from the same state and we've known each oth Full disclosure: I know Stephanie. I've known her online for a while, met her in person once, and we're both Michigan girls. The difference is, I was moved away from Michigan during my childhood and came back--and I married another Michigander--and she left Michigan and married a guy from BRITAIN. And lives there now. Not that I don't adore my husband, but that used to be my childhood fantasy! So, maybe, since she's living my childhood dream and we're from the same state and we've known each other a while, maybe that biases me. But I don't think so. I'm a tough critic. And I loved this book. First, there's the Regency setting. I've read enough Regencies in my time where the Empire-waist dresses are just so much window-dressing that it is simply day-making to read one that actually evokes the proper era--not just through details of dress and material culture but behavior and mores. Now for my second full disclosure: I started trying to write Regencies when I was just a little older than Kat--and failed miserably. I couldn't get my highwayman character who cut off his hand with a butter knife to escape the authorities to work out, you see, and perhaps this is because I thought the butter knife thing showed great spirit and derring-do and didn't see at all the comedic possibilities that lay therein. But the point is, I had a thing for highwaymen, too. Who doesn't, once they read "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes, which we did in Mrs. Gossett's eighth grade English class? Which leads to the second reason to love this book: There are the highwaymen! This book has highwaymen! And while at least one of them *spoilers* the *spoiler* about as *spoiler* as my highwayman did with the butter knife, there are highwayman antics to spare. Third: Gothic villains. Need I say more? Fourth: Magic! Fifth: Kat herself. I totally saw myself in Kat. I was such a mouthy kid! I love that in a book! It makes me feel like I'm not alone in the universe. I highly identified with her. I cheer for stoic characters and all? But the ones who get in trouble from talking too much are definitely my people. Finally, the cover. The gorgeous deep teal and the sparkly little stars on the cover are just beautiful. I know that doesn't bespeak the quality of writing inside, but I found myself petting those little stars a few times.

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