7.02.2014

Books: The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett

I happened across this book while killing time in a bookstore. I didn't buy it right away but made a note of the title and then finally got around to reading it. There are two more in the series after this one.

The book is incredibly well written. Sort of a mix of Regency and fantasy, set in an alternate but very similar universe to ours. The country of Altania is clearly Great Britain, with Torland in the north as a stand-in for Scotland. Invarel = London and so on. And in this relatable but slightly different world, magic is, if not common, not unheard of either. In fact, in some circles it is quite fashionable to be a magician. (Witches, however, are not to be borne.)

Beckett populates his story with interesting characters like Miss Ivy Lockwell, whose father was once a magician himself and has left her a riddle to solve. And Mr. Rafferty, son of Lord Rafferty, who discovers he comes from an ancient line of magicians and has a talent for magic. Meanwhile his friend Eldyn is a hard luck case roped into treasonous work by a highwayman. Yet he also has an aptitude for magic; he can cloak himself in shadows and more or less make himself invisible.

All this against a backdrop worthy of Austen or the Bront√ęs. From Invarel we spend the middle of the book on the windswept countryside of Heathcrest before returning to the city . . . Though I must say the shift in POV threw me a bit. The first and third parts of the book are third person omniscient but the middle is told in first person by Ivy. While I understand why, I didn't care for it as much. (I also don't love the cover image, though it is true enough to the book, I suppose.)

Overall, however, the book kept me engrossed. Toward the end, things moved quickly—almost too fast in comparison to all the build up. But there is much yet set up for the subsequent novels, which I look forward to reading in good time.

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