Renegade Magic

Renegade Magic

4.6 5
by Stephanie Burgis
     
 

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Nowhere in England is safe from the mischief and magick of Kat Stephenson.

With her eldest sister finally married, it seems things are settling down for Kat Stephenson. But when a scandalous accusation threatens her second sister Angeline’s prospects, Stepmama swiftly whisks the family away to Bath, in an attempt to outrun the gossip and engage Angeline

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Overview


Nowhere in England is safe from the mischief and magick of Kat Stephenson.

With her eldest sister finally married, it seems things are settling down for Kat Stephenson. But when a scandalous accusation threatens her second sister Angeline’s prospects, Stepmama swiftly whisks the family away to Bath, in an attempt to outrun the gossip and engage Angeline to a respectable suitor. Meanwhile Kat’s utter lack of ladylike propriety has prompted the powerful Lord Ravenscroft to expel her from the Order of Guardians before her training has even begun! Anger and exile aside, Kat knows something is not quite right about Lord Ravenscroft. And when her foolish brother Charles unwittingly invokes the furious force of Sulis Minerva at the King’s and Queen’s Baths, endangering vulnerable cousin Lucy and himself in the process, it’s up to Kat to rescue her family, (find Angeline a proper husband!) and prove the true dignity of a Guardian.

A Tangle of Magicks is the second installment of The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson trilogy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kat Stephenson, incorrigible as ever, returns to sow more magical chaos in a Regency England where families tainted by witchcraft are shunned in polite Society...this rollicking tale is neither historical fiction nor literary retread. Recommended for readers who like their fantasy seasoned with feisty characters and nonstop action."

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2012

"This fast-paced fantasy will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Tweens will sympathize with her struggles to control her impulses and gain respect from the adults in her life. Though this is the second volume in a series, it stands well on its own, and the research into early-19th-century England shines through without detracting from the nimble plotting. This combination of history and fantasy is sure to please.”

School Library Journal, March 2012

“Regency romance meets Harry Potter with a strong jolt of twenty-first-century feminism in this second novel in the Kat, Incorrigible series….The lovely details—Roman baths, detailed costumes, and the seamy underside of Oxford student life—will have readers swooning all over again.”

Booklist, March 15, 2012

"Kat is a feisty heroine.... She is fiercely loyal, stubborn, funny, and incredibly likable. Readers will root for her throughout her magical adventures. This imaginative and original series set in Regency-era England will appeal to fans of historical fiction, romance, fantasy, and adventure. Renegade Magic will leave readers clamoring for the third and final installment of Kat's adventures."

VOYA, April 2012

“Kat Stephenson returns for more magical adventures in Regency England in this diverting middle-grade fantasy novel, sequel to Kat, Incorrigible…. All together, a fun romp for fantasy and Regency fans of all ages.”

LOCUS, July 2012

VOYA - Taryn Bush
Spunky, unladylike Kat Stephenson is ready to follow in her late mother's footsteps by joining the Order of the Guardians and starting magic lessons with her tutor. Unfortunately, she is denied acceptance into the Order after losing her temper in front of the most powerful Guardian in the Order. Kat is devastated by the rejection. Meanwhile, a scandalous accusation damages her sister Angeline's reputation and ruins her chances of marrying her true love. Stepmama drags the family to the fashionable city of Bath in order to escape the gossip and find a fiance for Angeline. In Bath, Angeline becomes involved with a well-known rake, Kat discovers danger in the form of wild magic in the Roman Baths, and their older brother, Charles, unknowingly gets caught up in a plot to harness the wild magic. Kat must find a way to save Charles from danger, reunite Angeline and her true love, and prove that she is truly worthy of being a Guardian. Kat is a feisty heroine unconcerned with propriety and manners. She is fiercely loyal, stubborn, funny, and incredibly likable. Readers will root for her throughout her magical adventures. This imaginative and original series set in Regency-era England will appeal to fans of historical fiction, romance, fantasy, and adventure. Renegade Magic will leave readers clamoring for the third and final installment of Kat's adventures. Reviewer: Taryn Bush
Kirkus Reviews
Kat Stephenson, incorrigible as ever, returns to sow more magical chaos in a Regency England where families tainted by witchcraft are shunned in polite Society. With good marriages arranged for Kat's sisters, her family's place in Society seems assured until, at Elissa's wedding, Angeline is publicly outed as a witch. To find Angeline a husband before the scandal breaks, Stepmama engineers a hasty expedition to fashionable Bath. It doesn't go well: Their hosts, the Wingates, treat the Stephensons with sneering condescension, heartbroken Angeline refuses to cooperate with Stepmama's plans, brother Charles disappears into the gaming rooms and Papa buries himself in his studies. Worst of all, Kat is expelled from the Order of the Guardians, the elite whose role is to ensure that magic-working remains in the "right" hands. Exploring the baths, Kat and Lucy Wingate stumble upon a group of young men--including Charles--invoking an ancient Roman goddess. The wild magic unleashed possesses Lucy and nearly overpowers Kat. Yes, the setting's authentic (mostly)--from the springs of the ancient Roman spa to the stinky waters elegant Regency matrons sip in the Pump Room--but this rollicking tale is neither historical fiction nor literary retread. Recommended for readers who like their fantasy seasoned with feisty characters and nonstop action. Roll over, Jane Austen! (author's note) (Historical fantasy. 10 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Incorrigible Kat Stephenson is on her way to Bath for her second adventure. While her older sister is launched into society, the 12-year-old becomes embroiled in a case of misdirected wild magic: an unknown magician is trying to manipulate the magic associated with Bath's natural hot springs, and the consequences are potentially deadly unless the Guardians can stop him. Unfortunately, the head of the Order of the Guardians has taken a severe dislike to Kat. Unless she can control her temper and her magic, she may never get the chance to become a properly trained Guardian. She must risk her abilities in order to protect her family and friends, but even her best efforts might not be enough to save them. This fast-paced fantasy will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Tweens will sympathize with her struggles to control her impulses and gain respect from the adults in her life. Though this is the second volume in a series, it stands well on its own, and the research into early-19th-century England shines through without detracting from the nimble plotting. This combination of history and fantasy is sure to please.—Misti Tidman, Licking County Library, Newark, OH

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416994497
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
04/03/2012
Series:
Kat, Incorrigible Series, #2
Pages:
331
Sales rank:
1,222,947
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author


Stephanie Burgis grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but fell in love with Regency England when she discovered the novels of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. She decided to be a writer when she was seven, and sold her first short story when she was fifteen. Stephanie lives with her husband, fellow writer Patrick Samphire, their baby, and their dog in Wales. You can visit her online at stephanieburgis.com.

Read an Excerpt

Renegade Magic

  • It was a truth universally acknowledged that my brother, Charles, was a hopeless gamester, a ridiculous oversleeper, and the one sibling too lazy to take part in any family arguments, no matter how exasperating our sisters might have been (and usually were).

    But he had one shining virtue as an older brother: He was infinitely persuadable.

    “You do know, Kat,” he whispered, “Stepmama will murder you for this if she finds out.” He was yawning so hard that most people wouldn’t have been able to decipher his words, but I had long experience. Ever since Charles had been sent home from Oxford in disgrace, he’d resorted to sleep as his safest escape from family obligations. Even as he yawned and complained, though, he was obediently following me down the creaking wooden stairs to the ground floor of our family’s vicarage.

    It was simply too much trouble for Charles to hold out against anyone who didn’t give up the first time he said no. And I—as all three of my siblings could testify—was definitely stubborn enough for the task.

    It was still dark outside, and the candle in my hand was the only light in the stairway. I held it up high for Charles’s sake, and carefully stepped over the spots on the stairs where the ancient wood was beginning to rot. “Stepmama won’t murder me,” I whispered back, “because she won’t find out. Anyway, she’ll be too busy preparing for the wedding to bother with either of us when she wakes up.”

    “Huh.” As usual, he didn’t bother to pursue the argument … which was just as well, since nothing could have changed my mind.

    In three hours my oldest sister was going to be married. In four hours—five at the most, if the wedding breakfast took longer than expected—Elissa would be gone, and all of our lives would change forever. Even when she came back for visits, from now on, she would always bring her husband with her—and as much as I liked her sweet-tempered fiancé, Mr. Collingwood, it could never be the same. They would be sharing a bedroom, for one thing. That meant I wouldn’t be free to slip into Elissa’s room any time in the day or night to get comfort or advice or help against Stepmama … or even just to let Elissa fuss over me, the way she had ever since I had been born and our mother had died, leaving my two older sisters to raise me.

    For all that I’d complained over the years about Elissa’s prissiness and high-handedness, her lectures on propriety, and the fact that she never seemed to realize I was twelve years old and not a baby anymore. … Well, somehow, none of that seemed to matter anymore.

    Nevertheless, I’d woken up this morning at four o’clock and lain staring into the darkness of my attic bedroom for a full hour before I’d given up and come down to pull Charles out of bed. What we were about to do would have horrified Elissa to the depths of her ladylike soul—but if I didn’t do it, I just might explode.

    I stepped off the last stair and breathed a sigh of relief. We hadn’t woken anyone else. “Come on,” I whispered. “Mrs. Watkins won’t be in the kitchen yet. No one will hear us there.”

    Shrugging, Charles padded after me. He was still wearing his dressing gown, nightcap, and slippers. His blond hair, the same buttery shade as Elissa’s and (before it grayed) Papa’s, stuck out in wild tufts from beneath the cap—he’d been sleeping facedown when I’d shaken him awake. I didn’t understand how he’d even been able to breathe in that position. Then again, I hadn’t understood much at all about Charles ever since Stepmama had first arrived in our lives, five years ago, and sent him off to Harrow to become a gentleman.

    He might have come back from boarding school a different person, but at least one good thing had come of it: He had developed some very useful skills.

    The kitchen fire was banked, and the big room was chilly. I built up the fire, lit two more tallow candles against the darkness that pressed in from the narrow windows, and got Charles to help me push the heavy wooden table to one side.

    “Excellent.” I stepped into the space we’d cleared and raised my fists in the way he’d taught me more than a year ago, the first time he was sent home from Oxford for bad behavior. Above me, bunches of herbs and meat dangled from the ceiling, waiting to be used in the grand wedding breakfast later this morning, along with the covered dishes already sitting on the kitchen table. I tried not to think about any of them, or what they meant.

    Elissa … My throat wanted to choke up. I didn’t let it. Instead, I kicked off my slippers and bounced on the pads of my feet on the cold floor. “Come on, then!”

    “If I must.” Charles rolled out his shoulders and started to raise his own fists into position. Then he dropped them. “You know, it’s too early for fisticuffs. And if either of us has a bruise at the wedding service, Stepmama really will pitch a fit.”

    “Charles …” I fixed him with my most imperious glare. I’d learned it from Angeline, our other sister, who was an expert. “You gave me your word of honor.”

    “And I’m not backing out,” he said hastily. “If you insist on fisticuffs, that’s what we’ll do. But what about wrestling this time instead?”

    “Wrestling?” I lowered my fists, thinking.

    Charles had taught me fisticuffs and fencing last year, and Frederick Carlyle—officially Papa’s latest Classics student, but unofficially the only man in England who could match and measure up to Angeline—had taught me how to play billiards two weeks ago. Somehow, though, I’d never even considered adding wrestling to my list of useful and illicit skills.

    “No bruises,” Charles said, “and no arguments.”

    “Fine.” I dropped my arms to my sides. “Show me.”

    “You’d better be the one to do it, not me.” He was frowning. “If anything goes wrong … erm. Look here, I’ll tell you what to do. Come at me … yes, like that … grab me here and here”—he set my hands in place—“and then twist with your hips. No, wait! I mean …” He turned bright red. “Dash it. If Stepmama had heard me say that—”

    “I know I have hips, Charles.” I rolled my eyes. “Just because ladies aren’t supposed to use the word—”

    “Ladies aren’t even supposed to understand the word,” Charles muttered. “Not that you’d care about that, obviously …”

    “Obviously,” I agreed. “So I twist, like this—”

    “No, no, you aren’t doing it right. Like this …” We changed positions, and he showed me, moving slowly. “If you do it with enough force, you can throw your opponent over your hip. See, first you shift them off balance, and then—”

    “What on earth is going on here?”

    Angeline spoke from the doorway. I slipped as I turned in Charles’s arms. And Charles, caught in mid-demonstration, panicked.

    He twisted with his hips. I launched through the air.

    “Oh, dash it!”

    Sometimes I forgot how strong my hapless older brother really was. I flew across the kitchen, heading straight for the big wooden table. I gritted my teeth, preparing to hit it. …

    … But instead, my body froze in midair as Angeline whispered something under her breath and the scent of fresh lilacs filled the room. I hung unmoving, three feet from the ground and a full ten inches from the table.

    Sometimes it was useful to have a practicing witch in the family.

    “Brilliant,” Angeline said. “Simply brilliant, both of you. Just what Elissa would have wanted on her wedding day.”

    And sometimes it was only irritating.

    “Oh, give over.” I stuck out my tongue at her. “Elissa wasn’t going to find out.”

    “Not even when Charles threw you straight onto the dough for all of Mrs. Watkins’s pastries?” She nodded at the covered dishes on the table.

    Charles, of course, was already sidling toward the door, trying to avoid eye contact with either of us.

    “It wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t startled him,” I said. “Anyway, Elissa would be just as shocked to see you use magic. Remember how you told her and Stepmama that you wouldn’t cast any more spells, in case someone else found out? Witchcraft is much more improper than a bit of wrestling.”

    “Is that so?” Angeline crossed her arms and raised one eyebrow. “Fine. I won’t cast any more spells, then. Not a single one.” She looked pointedly at me as I hung, horizontal in midair. “After all, I wouldn’t want to shock your delicate sensibilities.”

    “Look here, Angeline. Really, you know I couldn’t care less about any of that magical nonsense, but …” Looking desperate, Charles hovered by the doorway that Angeline was blocking. “If a fellow could only be allowed to get some sleep for once in this madhouse …”

    Angeline didn’t spare him so much as a glance as she stepped aside. “Well, Kat?”

    I sighed. “Fine. Don’t set me down. I don’t need your help anyway.”

    Angeline had been the one to find our real mother’s old magic books, with all of Mama’s spells inside, the magic that had made Mama such a scandal to Society. The talent for witchcraft might pass to all of a witch’s children, but Elissa was far too proper to even consider making use of it, Charles probably didn’t even know he had it, and Angeline wasn’t about to share Mama’s magic books with me. A witch without any spells to cast was as powerless as any proper lady, and as a witch, I didn’t know a single spell that could help me now.

    But Mama hadn’t only been a witch. She had also been something much rarer, something most people had never even heard of: a secret Guardian, with the natural power and responsibility to protect Society from malevolent magic-users. Only one of a Guardian’s children ever inherited their parent’s powers.

    And a Guardian didn’t need spells to work magic.

    I closed my eyes and summoned up the familiar, tingling pressure. It rose through my chest and into my head, until it was all I could feel. Electricity crackled in my ears. With my eyes closed, I looked for Angeline’s spell and found it.

    “NO!” I hissed, with all my Guardian strength.

    Angeline’s spell snapped.

    I fell three feet to the ground, twisting as I fell, and landed hard on my back.

    “Ouch! Ouch, ouch, ouch …” I sat up, massaging my shoulders. “There has to be a better way to do that.”

    “And I’m sure you’ll learn one in time.” Angeline sighed and crossed the kitchen to me. Her voice was as acerbic as ever, but she knelt down beside me and rubbed my back exactly where I needed it. “Haven’t you started lessons with that Order of yours yet?”

    “Not yet.” I leaned back into her warmth, luxuriating in the feeling of her strong fingers working out the knots. “Mr. Gregson says it should all be sorted out soon. I just need to be initiated first. For some reason it’s taking longer than expected.”

    Well, the truth was, I had a good idea what that reason was. But I had never told Angeline the whole story.

    Mama had been a Guardian, it was true. But when she had met and fallen in love with Papa, she’d been so desperate that she’d turned to witchcraft to help win him. If there was anyone who disapproved of witchcraft more than the propriety-obsessed leaders of Society, it was the Order of the Guardians, who blamed witches for Society’s hatred of all magic. Mama had been expelled from the Order for her spells, and it had nearly broken her heart.

    As soon as I was a full member of the Order myself, I was determined to restore her reputation and knock aside their stupid prejudices … but that meant being initiated into the Order in the first place, which was turning out to be harder than I had expected. Mama had died young, but her enemies within the Order hadn’t.

    “Oh, well.” Angeline gave my back one last firm pat and straightened. “Come along, Kat. As long as you’re awake, you can help me get the church ready.”

    “Ugh.” All the dread-filled weight I’d been trying to ignore descended straight back onto my shoulders with her reminder. “Do we have to?” I looked around the room for distraction, anything to put off the inevitable. “Couldn’t we make some toast first? Or—”

    “There’s no time for any of that,” Angeline said, and brushed off her skirts. She was already wearing a morning dress of rose-colored muslin, and she looked as cool and collected as if it were any ordinary day, and not one of the most important days of our sister’s life. “Why do you think I came down so early? You want Elissa’s wedding to be perfect, don’t you?”

    “Of course I do.” Sighing, I pushed myself up off the floor. “But if you mean we have to spend hours hanging up ribbons and lace and … wait.” I frowned as I caught sight of the kitchen windows. “It’s still dark outside. You hate early mornings. Even Stepmama isn’t out of bed yet. It can’t be time for wedding preparations.”

    “And that’s exactly why I’m up.” Angeline filched a pair of apples from the bushel on one of the sideboards, and tossed one of them to me. “You wouldn’t want me casting any spells where other people might see them, would you? Since you’re such a slave to propriety?”

    “Well, if you put it that way …” I bit a chunk out of my apple and grinned at my older sister. “I suppose I’d better come along and keep an eye on you, after all. Just to keep everything proper.”

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