Synopsis from Goodreads.
After her antics in A Most Improper Magick, Kat Stephenson is back to cause more chaos! Stepmama drags the family to Bath to find Kat’s sister a new suitor. But, unknown to most of its gossipy visitors, Bath is full of wild magic. When Kat uncovers a plot to harness this magic in the Roman Baths, she finds her brother Charles is unwittingly involved. Kat must risk her newfound magical powers as she defies the Order of the Guardians to foil the plot and clear her brother’s name.
I love this series so much but I have a sad feeling that it isn’t going to be as well-loved as it deserves to be. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s probably because it’s more for younger young adults or because there’s no love story (unless you count Freddie, which you should. You should always count Freddie) and there’s no angst and the world isn’t complicated and edgy and it’s a magical-historical romp through Britain.
But… um… well, those are all the reasons why I adore Ms Burgis’ series. They’re so much fun. This might sound like a negative point to a few of you but when I pick up one of the Kat Stephenson’s books, I know exactly what I’m getting. I know I’m not going to be left glaring at the author photo in anger that the ending left me in tatters and I know that I’m not going to be rolling my eyes at the simpering heroine.
It’s safe… but it’s the good safe. I like reading books knowing that I’ll enjoy them. And I very much enjoyed this book.
I have to admit, I didn’t get as carried away with this second book as much as I did with the first one and I think I know exactly why this is. In my review of An Improper Magick, I discussed how much I loved the relationship between the sisters (I invoked the Power of the March sisters. Which is always a good thing) and, unfortunately, this story kind of skimped on that.
Slight spoilers for the first book. I’ll tell you when you can come back.
Elissa is in marital bliss with the jittery Mr Collingwood and is only in the first few chapters of this book before she disappears on her honeymoon. And Angeline… well… well. I’ll let you find about that when you read this book. But it involves Freddie (*girly sigh*) and she’s hardly in it either.
OK, come back now.
As much as I love Kat, I think her sisters bring the best out in her. They kind of amplify everything that I adored about her and their interactions were wonderful. I also think that this would have been a great opportunity to get to know Charles and Kat’s dad a bit more. We got brief glimpses of Daddy Stephenson but not nearly enough. I think they’re really different and unique characters and Charles always makes me laugh and, trying not to spoil it here, he had a really important part in this story… I just think it was a bit of a waste.
This book got a lot better towards the end where the story seem to find its feet a bit more. I’m not sure what it was, possibly that it took me a while to find the time to read it, but it definitely lost some momentum in the middle.
But apart from that, it’s a great story and Kat’s still brilliant and the world that Ms Burgis has created is still fantastic. I can’t wait to read the next one (last one? Possibly?) and see what other mischief Kat gets up to, hopefully with more family members in tow.
And Freddie, of course. Always Freddie.