Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review: Sorcery & Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

Sorcery & Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 350
Publisher: Open Road Young Readers
Ebook publication date: May 22, 2012 (originally published April 15, 1988)
Suggested tags: young adult, historical fiction, fantasy

First in the Cecelia and Kate series. From Goodreads:
"Two girls contend with sorcery in England’s Regency age

Since they were children, cousins Kate and Cecelia have been inseparable. But in 1817, as they approach adulthood, their families force them to spend a summer apart. As Cecelia fights boredom in her small country town, Kate visits London to mingle with the brightest lights of English society. At the initiation of a powerful magician into the Royal College of Wizards, Kate finds herself alone with a mysterious witch who offers her a sip from a chocolate pot. When Kate refuses the drink, the chocolate burns through her dress and the witch disappears. It seems that strange forces are convening to destroy a beloved wizard, and only Kate and Cecelia can stop the plot. But for two girls who have to contend with the pressures of choosing dresses and beaux for their debuts, deadly magic is only one of their concerns.

This ebook features illustrated biographies of Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the authors’ personal collections.

{ I received this as an ebook from NetGalley. }

Sorcery & Cecelia combines magic with Regency England to make an elegant, mysterious story told by two narrators: Kate off for the season in London and Cecelia at home in Rushton Manor. They both find themselves embroiled in the world of sorcery, trying to figure out what's going on and who's in danger by writing furiously back and forth to each other.

The story is told alternately through a letter from Kate and then through a letter from Cecelia, letting you in on the cousins' discoveries as they find out about them from each other. Both authors' writing styles are elegant and clever, enveloping you in a true Regency read with humor and wit. However, I found that I couldn't really tell a difference between Kate's voice and Cecelia's, which I didn't expect since there is a different author writing for each character. I found myself constantly stopping to think, "Wait, is this Kate writing or Cecelia?" and at times I'd have to flip back to the start of the chapter to check. It didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story, but it did break up the flow a little.

Overall, Sorcery & Cecelia is a fun, fast-paced read full of magic, mystery, and clever quips from the feisty heroines. There is some romance, but it's balanced perfectly so that it adds to the story without distracting from the central plot and making things feel scattered. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, The Grand Tour, or the Purloined Regalia, which was also re-released in May 2012 in ebook format.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

{ Favorite Quotes from Sorcery & Cecelia }

"In short, if we wish to see anything sensible done about the situation, we will clearly have to do it ourselves."

"She probably enjoys cutting up everyone's happiness. Not to mention cutting up other parts of people; given her penchant for poisoning people and turning them into beech trees, I fail to see how she has reached thirty without leaving a trail of bodies behind her."

" 'Nothing you will object to,' James replied in a soothing tone. I cannot think how he came to imagine that he would know what I might or might not object to."

"He looked at me sharply. 'How much has she told you?' 'How should I know?' I retorted. 'If one does not know the whole, it is impossible to say how large a part of it one
does know.' "

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