What You Need to Know:|
• Living in 19th century England, Kat is surprisingly fierce and confident as she protects her family, and discovers her
talents with magic.
• Kat, Incorrigible is the first in the series. The second, Kat, Incorrigible: Renegade Magic, will be published in the UK
in August 2011 and in the US in April 2012. A third book is planned as well.
• Book One has a different title in the UK. There, it is called A Most Improper Magick.
• Kat is held up at gun-point by a highway robber.
• Although some of the language is in keeping with the time period, the majority sounds very current.
It’s hard to come up with another book like this one. The combination of Old World England, magic spells, and a touch of romance is intriguing and original. There are also bad guys, secrets and misunderstandings to keep readers interested. They'll get to know a little about life in 19th Century England, including parties that last for weeks at a time, the importance of manners, highwaymen waiting to attack the wealthy in their coaches, and the limited choices girls might have as to whom they might marry. Readers who like this book may be fans of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte one day soon.
At 12 years old, Kat is self-assured and ready to take on the world. She desperately wants her two older sisters, Elissa and Angeline, to include her in their lives, but they shut her out and treat her like a child. Elissa, constantly worried about appearances and manners, is a bit of a martyr. Angeline always thinks she’s right and that she has things under control - which she doesn't. Their mother, a target of scandal for her obvious dabbling in witchcraft, died before Kat was even born. Kat and her sisters each try, in their own way, to save their family from ruin and their older brother, Charles, from debtor's prison. Elissa vows to marry a wealthy, but questionable, older gentleman. Angeline secretly resorts to their mother’s magic books to find a wealthy suitor of her own. Kat learns that magic is in her genes. She discovers an enchanting world of witchcraft and a secret "Order of Guardians", who are supposedly the most powerful of the magic-workers. Using her new-found talents and her sharp wit, it is Kat who saves the day. While her sisters fumble with the distractions of love and romance, brave Kat stands up to the senior witches (even punching one in the nose) and outsmarts many of the adults.
I love this time period and think that the inclusion of magic adds an element of mystery and excitement. Although I have high hopes for this series, I did find the characters to be slightly frustrating. We don't get to know any of them all that well, but from what we do see, they're self-absorbed. They claim to want to help each other, but seem to care mostly about following their own agendas. Kat, while somewhat impulsive and childish (she is 12 after all), is most likable and a good example of a strong, confident girl. While the sisters are, at times, protective of one another, they rarely support each other. In fact, Kat ends up having to fight Elissa and Angeline, almost as much as the “bad” guys. Also, the characters speak about things that are specific to the 1800’s, but they don’t sound like they are from the 1800’s, so sometimes I also had to remind myself of the time period. The cover art is whimsical and intriguing, but I think it gives a younger, Disney-like feeling than readers will get once they start turning the pages. Look for words like nefarious, reticule, constitutional, pelisse and pacification that may require further explanation.
2011, 304 pages
Adventure, Behavior, Family Life, Fantasy, Girl Power, Independence, Magic, Siblings
• How would you describe the relationship that the sisters have?
• Which sister are you most like? Why?
• What roles do papa and stepmama play in the story?
• Why do Elissa and Angeline treat Kat the way they do?
• Would some of their problems have been avoided if the sisters had worked together instead of keeping secrets?
• How is Kat’s life in 19th century England different from your own?
• Would you like to be able to practice magic? What types of spells would you like to cast?
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