Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis

One way to write fantasy fiction is to take an author or a genre that you like, write some fan fiction, but insert magic into the plot. In Renegade Magic, the second in a series called Kat Incorrigible, Ms. Burgis took her favorite Regency romances (think Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen) and gave them a magical twist. The result is entertaining, but I’m not sure whom it’s supposed to entertain.

Our protagonist is twelve year old Kat. Kat found out in the first book of the series (which I haven’t read) that she’s a Guardian, a member of a secret group of powerful members of society who protect the world from witchcraft and wild magic run amuck. Of course, in order to protect they have to use Magic, which is socially unacceptable. So the underlying plot concerns whether or not Kat will be initiated and become a full-fledged Guardian or whether she will be thwarted by her enemies within the group and by her not-very-understanding, social-climbing stepmother.

However, the second, intertwining plot is pure romance. Kat’s older sister, Angeline, is in love with Frederick Carlyle. He returns her affections; however, Frederick’s mother is not about to let her son become entangled with a family in which witchcraft and magic figure prominently. Kat’s mother was a Guradian and practiced witchcraft on the side. And Angeline is a witch, too. And Kat, of course, is entangled in a web of wild magic and witchcraft and her aspirations to guardianship. So, Kat’s family is not altogether fit for polite society. The romance part of the book is tame, even though it involves a rakish seducer and some Oxford students cavorting around in the baths of Bath in the nude, but it just doesn’t seem as if it would appeal to the 12 year olds who would be drawn to the book by its 12 year old protagonist.

So, young adult romance readers would be turned off by the youth of the main character, and middle graders would seem to be too young to have much interest in Regency romance. At least my eleven year old wouldn’t care about it. So, if you have a young teen who’s interested in magic tales (Harry Potter or Edward Eager’s Half Magic) and also Regency romance (Pride and Prejudice or The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer), then Renegade Magic would be the book to recommend.

1 thought on “Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis

  1. For middle school and up readers who like magic and Regency romance, Patricia Wrede has two series which are quite delightful: one that starts with *Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot*; and one that starts with *Mairelon the Magician*. I enjoyed them both as an adult (and so, for that matter, did my husband)–the heroines are a bit older, but they’re generally appropriate for readers 12+, I would think.

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